This is a 'general direction' topic. I'm looking for some strategy and philosophical guidance, before marching over to the module development forum at Drupal.org.
I'm new to Drupal, and am very impressed by the architecture - the flexibility and power of the framework as a whole.
However, like many 'newcomers', I've quickly discovered that there's some planning and investment required in creating a new Drupal site (which is apparently the subject of many debates that are shaping the future of Drupal itself - http://www.lullabot.com/articles/understanding-8-where-drupal-and-where-...).
I also understand that in terms of semantic purity, it would be nice if the content of a node was clean and tidy, without a lot of additional markup - and so I'm looking for an eloquent way to solve the image/caption problem.
I poured over several other solutions - although as a new poster here I can only share two links in this post :(
http://purewebmedia.biz/articles/2013-01-10/how-insert-and-float-inline-... - which is a great write-up describing the difference between using an Image field (with custom locations/folders for image stores), vs. Media Manager - although it doesn't address the caption problem.
I've also read a little about the new Entity model in DR7 - and I'm beginning to wonder of File Entities, with some kind of token replacement might be the right approach? (although I confess I don't entirely understand yet if a token can be placed into the free text/content field of a node - like the main text of an article or news story).
What I'm looking for is a method that will allow a user to insert one or more images into the content area of any content type (article, basic page, whatever - assuming the field/function has been defined for the content type), and that when they upload and insert that image, they are allowed to enter additional information like a title, copyright, caption, date etc.
They should be able to 'see' the image in their WYSIWYG editor (although maybe not the metadata), and then when the node is published, the required metadata is retrieved and inserted via a hook, pre-processor - for example, by surrounding the image in a div, and placing the required metadata above or below the image (perhaps in additional divs or elements) - requiring only CSS to style the title, caption, etc. as required.
I also really like Image Styles feature of Drupal and so I'm wondering how this could all be brought together.
To be clear, this is not a gallery module. The requirement here is to be able to insert one or more images with captions (and possibly other metadata fields) into a the content/body or a story, news article, blog post etc.; needing only CSS to style the result (format caption, float left or right etc.)
Any pointers on how to start with this?