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Was asked to simplify the question. Here we go:

As you know, the "content" part of a WordPress posts all appears together. What I'm trying to recreate is how on several news sites, they'll have the title (and the rest of the "meta" stuff), followed by a photo or video, but then the body text is slightly indented either from the get-go (or shortly thereafter) to make room for a thin, left column that might display related stories, advertisements, additional meta data about the post itself, or even contain videos for the post itself.

Examples:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/24/nasa.new.spacecraft/index.html?hpt=T1
- story highlights, related topics. Image and caption take up full width, but the highlights column indents body text.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-blagojevich-to-take-the-stand-20110524,0,6202649.story
- related articles, related topics, ads. Unlike the CNN example, the column actually starts partway through the body text.

My dilemma is that since the photo or video that starts each post is part of the "content," I can't indent the text and put in the column unless I were to do that manually for each post.

I've contemplated making a custom field for the image or video input to essentially "separate" it from the body text, but that might prove difficult, since I don't know how it would differentiate between an image URL and a YouTube URL or embed code.

Anyone have any better ideas?

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Could you just specify one specific condition and split it up into a smaller question? I think you have lots or too of issues here. –  chrisjlee May 25 '11 at 17:58
1  
hooks loops hooks loops templates. You said you did not want code so that is pretty much all you need. as wells as custom fields –  xLRDxREVENGEx May 25 '11 at 17:58
    
Tried simplifying the question down to a single, smaller goal: putting a column in the theme into the middle of the content area. Hope that helps! –  Chris May 25 '11 at 18:07

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

a few ideas-

  • use shortcodes to insert inline markup with your content.
  • use custom fields to insert inline markup with your content. if you don't want to deal with parsing out the URL to figure out if it's an image, youtube, etc., just define different custom field names and handle them individually if they exist.
  • read up on "floating" and positioning elements with html and css. you may be able to achieve the layout you want with just front-end markup changes.
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