Last updated May 19, 2017


What is a content entity?

A content entity (or more commonly, entity) is an item of content data, which can consist of text, HTML markup, images, attached files, and other data that is intended to be displayed to site visitors. Content entities can be defined by the core software or by modules.

Content entities are grouped into entity types, which have different purposes and are displayed in very different ways on the site. Most entity types are also divided into entity sub-types, which are divisions within an entity type to allow for smaller variations in how the entities are used and displayed. Here is a table of some common content entity types:

Entity type Entity sub-type Defining Module Main uses

Content item

Content type

Node module

Content intended to be the main page area for pages on the site

Example: In the farmers market site example, you might have content types for basic pages, vendor pages, and recipe pages.

Comment

Comment type

Comment module

Commentary added to content entities (typically to Content item entities)

Example: On a blog site, blog posts might have comments. They are not needed in the farmers market site example.

User profile

(none)

User module

Data related to a person with a user account (login access) on the site

Example: Every site has at least basic user profiles with user names and email addresses; social networking sites may have more complex user profiles with more information.

Custom block

Block type

Custom Block module

Text and images in smaller chunks, often displayed in the site header, footer, or sidebar

Example: In the farmers market site example, you might put the hours and location in a sidebar block.

Taxonomy term

Vocabulary

Taxonomy module

Used to classify other types of content

Example: In the farmers market site example, you might classify Recipe content with an Ingredients taxonomy vocabulary, with taxonomy terms like Carrots and Tomatoes. In a blogging site, blog posts might be classified using a Tags vocabulary, and perhaps also a Categories vocabulary.

File

(none)

File module

An image or attachment file that is tracked and managed by the site, often attached to other types of content

Example: In the farmers market site example, both Recipe and Vendor pages might have image attachments, which would (behind the scenes) be managed as File entities by the site.

Contact form

Form type

Contact module

A form that lets site visitors contact site owners

Example: A contact form is needed in the farmers market site example.

What is a field?

Within entity items, the data is stored in individual fields, each of which holds one type of data, such as formatted or plain text, images or other files, or dates. Field types can be defined by the core software or by modules.

Fields can be added by an administrator on entity sub-types, so that all entity items of a given entity sub-type have the same collection of fields available. For example, the Vendor content type in the farmers market example might have fields for the vendor name, a logo image, website URL, and description, whereas the Basic page content type might only have fields for the title and page body. When you create or edit entity items, you are specifying the values for the fields on the entity item.