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This might be a little difficult to explain thoroughly and correctly, bear with me. :)

The Problem

The news website I'm working on has different categories based on topics, location, and "genres" (news, editorial, press release, etc). In addition, we also have other channels that work independently from the primary articles.

I am having a difficult time finding the best approach to provide information such as heading, description, a cover image, etc — for these different channels in a way that is organized, makes sense and can be easily edited from the CP.

Example

  • The Main channel could have an image and a description which states that the articles in this section are written by the members of the company.
  • A channel managed by a writer from the community could also have its own cover image and description stating that this channel contains chronicles and critics by him and other authors.
  • A channel managed by a collaborator/correspondent could focus on a specific topic, such as technology; the image and description of the channel would explain this.
  • Another channel could provide news related to the company alone.
  • Another channel could be from the developers in the team.
  • etc...

Note how these secondary channels are different from the main content. These should not be mixed together and are often accessed by different users.

So... Has anyone dealt with this problem? How have you solved it? I have a few ideas in mind but I'd like to see what other practices are out there.

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    Sorry @cballenar, but I think this question doesn't work. You are looking for a whole concept for your site. This doesn't fit the Q/A format for Stack Exchange, because there's simply too many possibilities. I tried it, but as you noticed, my answer didn't fit at all and was just dump in your eyes. This probably was because I didn't have the right infos "the essential thing about adding/attaching information to a channel" or what's your understanding for "real users". You even want the modify your question later "I will update the question as needed"?! – carlcs Aug 28 '14 at 17:40
  • 1. I'm not looking for a "concept for my site". I honestly believe that this is something that a lot more people could be dealing with. And there should be an answer or two that make the most sense. Isn't a forum meant to create discussions? 2. Yes, I intend to update the details of my question but it doesn't change the real question; i.e.: how to give channels a description (in most simple terms). 3. P.S.: Let me rephrase my comment, "I will update the question where needed." I meant as the content needs it, not as it becomes needed to other readers which I think is what you interpreted. – cballenar Aug 28 '14 at 18:11
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I have a channel of index pages, where each entry in the index page channel serves as the index page for some channel. I use ljdynamic fields and have a 'chanel' field which is a dropdown to select the channel. Description and etc. could be other fields in this index page channel.

  • Thanks, that's a really interesting approach and thanks for bringing that plugin to my attention I was looking for something similar sometime ago. Now, one limitation I am having while testing this is that all the channels would have to be in the same level/section. Which probably wouldn't be a problem in most cases, unfortunately my IA is a bit more complex. Now, another approach I'm testing which is sort of similar to what you've proposed, is having a structure section which has a page for each channel. I'll put it as an answer and maybe we can get some opinions on it. – cballenar Aug 30 '14 at 15:34
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I probably wouldn't do so many channels and entry types.

To style your articles differently (header images etc.) you could for example register different user groups and conditionally load assets or css styles base on the user who published the article.

Consider to replace your entry types with categories. Entry types actually don't make that much sense, if the html structure of the templates is essentially the same. Instead I'd try to build one universal template using matrix that'd go well with all of your articles.

  • We need to have multiple channels due to the difference of content, sources, and users. Yes, it is true that categories solve the problem through category fields. I have actually already updated the structure since I ran into other issues with that setup. (I will update the question as needed). However this does not solve the problem of adding/attaching information to a channel; something which, to us at least, is essential. – cballenar Aug 28 '14 at 17:21
  • With regard to the user conditioned assets, that's just not gonna work. We intend to have real users, and that kind of information can't be tied together. Moreover, it would still be controlled mostly through templates which is no good for writers with. – cballenar Aug 28 '14 at 17:21
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Here's an approach I'm testing and so far it seems to be working well. Maybe I can get some feedback on it.

Main Structure Section

I have a Structure craft section, which is used for maintaining all the informational pages of the site, e.g.: about us. This structure has multiple entry types: Pages, Channels, Special. The template for this structure would identify the entry type and include a different template where needed.

Pages

Hosts regular informational pages with content that is fairly static. Fields include: heading, description, body, tags. It's template would be very straightforward, take content and print it.

Channels

Hosts information related to channels. Fields include: heading, description, a cover image, tags. It's template would take the cover and description, place it somewhere in the page, and then take the entry slug (which matches its counterpart channel) and bring a list of the entries for that channel.

Special

At the moment it's used as a place for holding hardcoded content (it actually just points to a static template based on the path of the url). Special divs and objects. Fields include: heading, description, code area, tags. It's template would also be very straightforward but would take into consideration the code area and output it as code.

I'm also looking into a Category Group entry type which, as you may guess, serves as a landing page for category groups. Thus offering a description of the group in question and creating a list of the categories.

This approach allows me to arrange and group channels and then makes it easy to output as a nav.

This approach is making the most sense to me right now but I would love to get some feedback on it.

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