5 min read

What is content in the context of Drupal?

We can certainly say that ‘content’ is any material that makes up the web page, be it Drupal-generated content, such as the banner and buttons, or user content, such as the text of a blog. Within Drupal, ‘content’ has more narrow parameters.

When you create a story in Drupal, it is stored in a database as a node, and is assigned a node ID (nid). Some would say that, with respect to Drupal, content is limited to objects (stories, and so on) that can receive comments created by users, and are assigned a node id. Others say that it is any object in Drupal that can be on a page. These technical discussions can cause your eyes to glaze over. It would seem that the latter definition makes the most sense; however, there is one additional factor that we need to consider, and that is the layout of the Drupal admin functions.

Drupal provides admin functions for creating and maintaining content, and these functions list only those objects that receive a node id. Other objects, such as Blocks, are created and maintained elsewhere.

What are the types of content in Drupal?

The following table lists the content types that ship with Drupal by default:

Content Type


Blog entry

A blog, or weblog, is an author-specific content type that is used as a journal or diary, among other things, by individuals. In Drupal, each blog writer can, depending on the site’s settings and their permissions, add attachments, HTML, or PHP code to their blog.

A good example of a blog can be found at: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/, which demonstrates an interesting use of the blog content format.

Book page

A book is an organized set of book page types (actually any type can be used nowadays), which are intended to be used for collaborative authoring. Book pages may be added by different people in order to make up one single book that can then be structured into chapters and pages, or in whatever structure is most appropriate, provided it is in a hierarchical structure.

Because pretty much any data type can be added to a book, there is plenty of scope for exciting content (think of narrated or visual content complementing dynamic book pages, created with PHP and Flash animations, to create a truly unique Internet-based book-the possibilities are endless!).

A good example of a book is the documentation provided for developers on the Drupal site, found at: http://drupal.org/node/316. This has been built up over time by a number of different authors.

You will notice that if you have the Book module enabled, an additional outline tag is presented above all/most of the site’s posts. Clicking on this tab allows you to add that post to a book-in this way, books can be built up from content posted to the site.

Forum topic

Forum topics are the building blocks of forums. Forums can only consist of forum topics and their comments, unlike books, which can consist of pretty much any content type. Information in forums is categorized in a hierarchical structure, and they are extremely useful for hosting discussions as well as community-based support and learning.

Forums are abundant on the Internet and you can also visit the Drupal forums to get a feel for how they operate.


The page type is meant to allow you to add basic, run-of-the-mill web pages that can be found on any site. About us or Terms of use pages are good candidates for the page type, although you can spruce these up with a bit of dynamic content and HTML.

Just look on any website to see examples of such pages.

What about comments?

Comments are not the same as the other node types discussed in the previous table.

While there may be exceptions, the terms ‘node’ and ‘content’ are synonymous with respect to Drupal.

While, technically, they are content, consider the fact that one cannot create a comment without first having another node to add the comment to. Instead, you can tack comments onto other content types, and these are very popular as a means to stimulate discussion among users.

You can see comments in action by logging into the Drupal forums, http://drupal.org/forum, and posting or viewing comments on the various topics there.

How to work with content types?

It is possible to specify some default behavior for each of the content types. To do this, go to Content types under Content management to bring up the following page:

Content in Drupal: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Each content type has a set of editable configuration parameters, so to get a good idea of how they work, click on the edit in the Book page row. The edit page is broken up into four sections dealing with the following:

  • Identification – Allows you to specify the human readable name and the name used internally by Drupal for the associated content type, as well as to add a description to be displayed on the content creation page.
  • Submission form settings – Allows you to set the field names for the title and body (leaving the body blank removes the field entirely) as well as specify the minimum number of words required to make the posting valid. Again, it is possible to add in submission guidelines or notes to aid those users posting this content type.
  • Workflow settings – Allows you to set default publishing options, multilingual support, and specify whether or not to allow file attachments.
  • Comment settings – Allows you to specify default comment settings such as read or read/write, whether or not comments are allowed, whether they are to appear expanded or collapsed, in which order and how many, amongst other things.


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