Tip for friendlier content creation

3 Aug 2010
Drupal Ace

So you're editing a Story node in Drupal, and... Wait, was it a Story? Or was it a Page node? Or is the node you're editing actually a Blog Entry?

When you create a node, Drupal gives you a big-letter reminder of what you're making: "Create Story" (or whatever the node type is) appears at the top of the creation form. Yet when you later edit the node, there's no easy reminder of what the node type. Clues in the path, the visible fields, or elsewhere may give it away to the experienced site builder, but not to a newcomer admin to the site. And to be sure, you won't often care what the node type is when making some small edits, but then again you might find yourself scratching your head as you stare at the edit form for a node someone else made, thinking that you'd like to make this change if it's a Story but that change if it's a Page...

There's a nice and very simple tip at the Josiah Ritchie blog to aid future editors (including yourself) on this small point.

Just edit each content type so that its 'Title' field clarifies the node type. For a Story, 'Title' becomes 'Story Title'; for a Page, 'Title' becomes 'Page Title'; and so on. That'll always remind you just what type of node you're working with. Simple and sweet!

I went to the sandbox site I use as the starter for new sites to follow that advice. Under 'Submission form settings' for each node type, I modified the name of the 'Title field label' (changing 'Title' to 'Story Title', for example) and also decided to do the same for the 'Body field label' (changing 'Body' to 'Story Body', for example). Any future sites I build will now have that advantage built in from the get-go.

While I was there, I took the opportunity to also clean up the 'Description' fields for each content type. As it stands, the list of Descriptions you see at admin/content/types is quite the mishmash, looking something like this:

Content types (messy)

I rewrote those in a common format that (I hope) will prove friendly to future administrators of the sites, also making sure to follow my picky preference for capitalizing content types. (That helps clear up common points of Drupal confusion: for example, it distinguishes Page, the node type, from page, a generic web page. At least in writing.) The result looks like this:

Content types (neat)

Finally, for each content type's 'Explanation or submission guidelines' field (also under 'Submission form settings'), I wrote pretty much the same as the Descriptions above, with a little extra text where it seemed helpful for content creators.

I think all the above will make content creation a tiny bit easier for new admins and other users. What do you think? 

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