Cathy Irwin writes:
>Can anybody point me to some documentation that explain
> the differences between the various drawables comprehensively?

At a conceptual level, the difference is very simple:  A layer is a
visible part of an image.  A channel is not:  it is a grayscale
drawable that acts to modify the behavior of some part of the image.

As Sven wrote, part of the confusion arises because the top three or four
"channels" that you see in the Channels tab in the user interface
aren't really channels, in the GIMP sense of the word "channel".

There does not really exist a good developer-oriented explanation of
the differences between types of drawables, but if you combine the
material in the Help docs at 

(particularly sections 2.4, 4.2, and 4.3) with the API docs for gimplayer 
and gimpdrawable at

it might be enough to be helpful.

  -- Bill


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