I'm starting with Drupal and comparing taxonomies and content types and from what I see, they both:

  • offer a URL via the Name/Title field
  • have the same list of field types (images, double-field, text...)
  • can refer each other (with node/term reference)
  • have translation (with the proper translation modules enabled)

Therefore I seem able to create the same content via taxonomies as with content types.

However, taxonomies seem tightly integrated with views, offering categorization and filtering, unlike content types, which brings me to the following question:

What's the point of using content types at all, is there anything we can do with content types that we can't do with taxonomies?

1 Answer 1


Taxonomies allow hierarchical nesting of items in vocabularies, and each term can only be in one position and one vocabulary at a time.

Nodes, however, can be tagged with any number of terms from any number of vocabularies.

Tagging taxonomy terms with other terms from other taxonomies, or with other terms from within the same taxonomy could potentially have very different results than maintaining a separation between terms (descriptors) and nodes (content that can be described), especially when it comes to using something like Views to sort and separate content based on descriptors.

So it's not so much that content types can do things that terms can't, as it is that content types cannot do as many things that nodes ought not do.

  • 1
    Understood your whole answer except for the last bit ("as it is that content types cannot do as many things that nodes ought not do.") which got me confused. We were talking about taxonomies/content types: what do nodes refer to in that context? Also, not sure I see where you're headed to with "ought not do" (as if not doing as much were a good thing): could you please rephrase?
    – Max
    Mar 19, 2014 at 20:15
  • 1
    A node, in Drupalspeak, is a single piece of content made with a content type. "Ought not do" means in this case that behaviors like hierarchical nesting doesn't make sense for nodes like it does for more abstract things like terms, so it's good that nodes don't do that directly.
    – beth
    Mar 19, 2014 at 20:27

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