Composite Layout allows your nodes to be displayed in complex layouts. Currently, two and three column layouts are provided. You can also add other nodes, blocks, and even CCK fields to your node's layout. The content area of your node is divided into zones and you decide what should appear in those zones. Zones are essentially the same as Drupal blocks, but they apply to nodes rather than the entire site.
You can think of Composite Layout as Drupal blocks for nodes.
There is overlap in functionality between Composite Layout and Panels. Both address the issue of complex layouts, but each has a different approach.
Here is an informal comparison:
- Panels is more powerful and flexible (I think, I'm not a Panels expert).
- Composite Layout is simpler (I hope).
- The user interface is different. You may prefer one or the other.
- Composite Layout applies on content types, so it can be turned on for any node. Furthermore, you can have more than one composite layout node type.
- If you use the Content Construction Kit, Composite Layout allows you to manage the layout of your CCK fields.
Otherwise, it will probably come down to personal preference as to which is more suitable.
You can download Composite Layout at the project page.
How to install Composite Layout
- Install the Composite Layout module like you would install any normal module (ie. unextract it into .../sites/all/modules or somewhere else if you know what you're doing)
- Goto Administer // Site building // Modules and enable Composite Layout
- Edit the content type(s) for which you would like to enable Composite Layout (ie. Goto Administer // Content management // Content types // Story), tick Composite node -> Make this type a composite node type and click Save content type.
- You may also want to experiment with the other values in this fieldset.
How to use Composite Layout
- Edit a node for which you want to have a composite layout.
- There should be a collapsed fieldset called "Composite layout". Expand it, select the layout you wish, and click Save.
- New tabs should appear which let you manage the composite layout. The rest should be self explanatory from here on.
The Fine Print
Composite Layout was written by ThinkLeft for ProsePoint.
ThinkLeft is available for Drupal website or module development.
ProsePoint is a derivative of Drupal for publishing newspapers and magazines online.
Credits: The layout icons in Composite Layout are from the Panels module.