I am getting started with SilverStripe, so I am not sure about something. I want to create a site with multiple pages (of course). On some pages, I want different sections, or columns. Is there some way to have the template system insert certain "chunks" of text from the backend.
For example if I have a two column page. One of the columns will be %Content, I guess. If I want the second column to contain something like hours operation or just different random info, how would I go about setting that up in the backend and what template command would I include in the .ss file?
You can have two columns of static content by creating a custom page type.
You can have a page with one column of static content and a second area of random content by using the random content widget.
Neither of these options is straight-forward or obvious to do, but at least you know that it can be done in Silverstripe.
I recommend starting out with the general tutorials:
You'll have a good grasp of all things Silverstripe if you complete them. They're pretty gentle but allow days rather than hours to get your head round it all.
It will require a minimal amount of programming to do what you want in addition to CSS stuff to get your page looking right.