Shopify is organized around objects that represent merchants businesses, like customers, products, and orders. Each individual order, for example, is given a dedicated page that can be linked to. In Shopify, we call these types of objects resources, and we call the object’s dedicated page its details page.
Take orders as an example. Merchants may have a lot of them. They need a way to scan their orders, see what state they’re in and find out which ones need action first. In other words, they need a way find an individual order, call up more information about it, and take action on it.
Resource lists function as:
- A content format, presenting a set of individual resources in a compact form
- A system for taking action on one or more individual resources
- A way to navigate to an individual resource’s details page
Because a details page displays all the content and actions for an individual resource, you can think of a resource list as a summary of these details pages. In this way resource lists bridge a middle level in Shopify’s navigation hierarchy.
A resource list isn’t a data table
On wide screens, a resource list often looks like a table, especially if some content is aligned in columns. Despite this, resource lists and data tables have different purposes.
A data table is a form of data visualization. It works best to present highly structured data for comparison and analysis.
If your use case is more about visualizing or analyzing data, use the data table component. If your use case is more about finding and taking action on objects, use a resource list.