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I have Pathauto installed, so URLs to nodes are not like node/3. My question is that if I write a View with a contextual filter for looking for node/3, will it work?

Note: This contextual filter is in a block. See this question.

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You would get the node id(nid) as argument. Internally the system gets its data from the unaliased url, not the browser url created with path_auto.

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pathauto only generates aliases. the nid stays the same. so contextual filters based on nid no problem.

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I am talking about getting the nid out of the url, not doing a contextual filter based on the nid. –  Gaelan Sep 30 '12 at 21:18

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