Last updated May 8, 2018


Goal

Make a plan for the content structure of the site (which type and subtype of entity to use for which content), and which pages will contain listings of content.

Steps

Planning Your Content Structure

  1. Brainstorm about what content your site needs to contain, which could include content that visitors would be looking for, as well as content that you want to show to visitors. The result could be the description in Section i.6, “Guiding Scenario”.
  2. For each identified piece of content, decide which content entity type would be the best fit. In doing this, you’ll need to consider where and how the content will be used and edited on the site. For example, in the farmers market site scenario, you might want to display the hours and location of the farmers market on the sidebar of every page. For that content, a single custom block makes sense. As another example, you might decide that pages displaying information about each vendor should be content items managed by the core Node module, because you want vendors to be able to edit their own listings. The core Node module permission system lets you do this easily.

    These decisions do not necessarily always have only one right answer; for instance, you could decide that vendor pages should be user profiles instead of content items, but if you did that the content would be tied to a specific user account, and it would not be as easy to later change the ownership of a vendor page to a different user account.

  3. Within each content entity type you identified, decide what division into entity sub-types would make sense. For example, in the farmers market site example, you would probably decide that under the Content item entity type, there should be one content type for basic pages (Home and About), one for vendor pages, and one for recipe pages.
  4. For each entity sub-type you decided on, decide what fields are needed. For instance, the Vendor content type might need fields for the vendor name, web page URL, image, and description.
  5. Decide on what entity listings are needed, which could be entire pages or smaller areas on the page. For each listing, you’ll need to determine what entity items should be listed. Then you’ll need to decide in what order and with what filtering options they should be displayed; for example, you might want to give the site visitor the option to search by keyword, to filter the list down to a subset, or to sort the list. You’ll also need to decide what information from the entity items should be shown, which might result in adding to the list of fields you determined in the previous step. The farmers market site, for example, needs to have a Recipes listing page that lists content items of type Recipe, with the ability to filter by ingredients, so that means that the Recipe content type needs an Ingredients field.
  6. For each identified field on each entity subtype, identify what type of data it should contain (such as plain text, formatted text, a date, an image file, etc.), and how many values should be allowed. Most fields are single-valued, but for example, a Recipe should allow for multiple values in its Ingredients field.
  7. Consider which fields would be best as references to taxonomy term entities: fields whose values should be chosen from a list of allowed values. Allowed values that are expected to change and grow over time, are good candidates. An example is the Ingredients field for the Recipe content type.
  8. Consider which fields should reference other content entities. An example is that since vendors will be submitting recipes, a field will be needed on the Recipe content type that references the Vendor content item for the vendor who submitted the recipe.

Here’s an example of the resulting content structure for the farmers market scenario example site:

Entity type Entity sub-type Examples Fields

Content item

Basic page

Home page, about page

Title, page body

Content item

Vendor

A page for each vendor at the market

Vendor name, page body, image, URL

Content item

Recipe

A page for each submitted recipe

Recipe name, page body, image, reference to Vendor who submitted it, Ingredients taxonomy

Custom block

(generic)

Copyright notice for footer, Hours and location for sidebar

No special fields

Taxonomy term

Ingredients

Carrots, tomatoes, and other recipe ingredients

No special fields

Contact form

(generic)

Generic contact form

Name, email, subject, message

User profile

(none)

Will not be displayed on site

No special fields

And here are the listings the site needs:

Page or page area Entity type and sub-type Filter/sort/pagination Fields displayed

Vendors page

Vendor content items

All vendors, alphabetical, paged

Image, vendor name, trimmed body

Recipes page

Recipe content items

Filter by ingredients, alphabetical, paged

Image, recipe name

Recent recipes sidebar

Recipe content items

List 5 most recent

Image, recipe name