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I'm looking to add a couple non-required channel fields to a particular channel on my site.

How will adding these channel fields affect existing content in that particular channel? What will the value for this field in existing entries be (null, empty string, etc)?

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No concerns, friend. It won't affect any current content in any channel_data rows. When you add a new field to a field group, EE adds two new columns that look like this:

field_id_60
field_ft_60

and don't worry about field_ft_#, It's basically always set to "none" (I think it's a deprecated column but still lives their for compatability, I've never seen it set to anything else). Now for field_id_#, the stored value for that field for any particular column row is defaulted to empty string. However, you won't destroy any data in any other column. That would make ExpressEngine a terrible CMS :P

Concerned still? Backup your database before you add to the field group, but you'll be wasting your time (I assume you are EE version 2+, I don't know anything about EE 1.X).

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