Introduction to SharePoint Content Types
As the name suggests, content types are about SharePoint content. In the SharePoint world content is everything. Content on the SharePoint server includes everything from documents to contacts, from tasks to calendar items. All of this content can easily turn messy if it’s not managed correctly. So what methods are there to manage all of this content?
One way of managing content on SharePoint is to group it by its type – for example, you could group all World documents together.
What content types can provide is a way to define the type of content stored in SharePoint and the proper fields to associate that content with.
SharePoint Content Type Definition
To come up with a more formal definition of a content type we can say that a content type is a collection of settings that can be applied to different types of content.
Each content type has a distinctive set of properties and metadata that describe the content. This can include fields that are associated with the content type that can be displayed as columns in the list or document library. It can also include a specific document template used when creating instances of the content type.
SharePoint Content Type Hierarchy
All content types in SharePoint are organized in a hierarchy. Each content type in SharePoint inherits its attributes and settings from a parent content type.
A content type called “System” is at the root of the hierarchy of content types. The next content type that inherits from System is called Item. Since the System content type doesn’t contain any columns we could also say that Item is the more interesting root parent of every content type. The hierarchy of all content types that are predefined in SharePoint is shown in the following figure.
Refer: <SharePoint 2010 Development with Visual Studio 2010> Chapter 7.