Theming MiniSeries - Project creep...

This article refers to theming in Drupal 7, which is very different to Drupal 8. Some links have been stripped from this article due to age and inaccessibility.

This is post 2 in a mini-series on Base themes.

OK I was supposed to be spending this week writing a review on Omega for my miniblog series. It didn’t happen. I got distracted (A BIG issue with me) However I decided it’s probably a good thing as I am going to do this thing properly as I submitted a talk [drupalcamplondon.co.uk] to DrupalCamp London [drupalcamplondon.co.uk] based off this series and a similar talk I did at DrupalCambs back in Nov 2012. So it looks like I am going to be investigating all this in a LOT more detail. I am hoping this means that my mini series will be better for it, and if my talk gets picked, I will (hopefully) be able to point people to a detailed mini series about popular base themes too.

I also decided (Based mostly on what I have seen from DrupalCon Sydney [drupal.org] - from the UK sadly) to add in a “clean HTML layout” theme for the markup purists. This theme is Mothership [Drupal.org - or D.O from now on] by Morten Birch Heide-Jørgensen [morten.dk], or simply Morten as no one outside of Scandinavia seems to be able to pronounce his full name. Now I like clean identifiable markup where I don’t have to play “hunt the div” to find out which class is getting in the way of my module - but you do need a good grid system or similar to make the layout more managable. This is made easier with development tools like Chrome Inspector, Firebug etc, but it’s still a royal pain in the backside. As I don’t consider myself a themer, let alone an angry one (Even if Morten is less angry than he used to be. Please note the presentation link contains some choice language that may not be suitable for work or young children’s ears). So he inspired me to check out the Mothership theme and the fences [D.O] module, both of which promote clean markup. He also suggested I look closer at Display Suite [D.O] and use it’s markup field. So as part of the theme series I am also going to look at how good/bad the markup is (There’s a joke on the precursor page for the Angry Themer video above that Drupal has 38% of the worlds div’s. I am not sure how true this is but crikey there are a lot of em!) and how easy it is to “scrub” without having to revert to drastic techniques such as overriding ALL the CSS (Which in effect neuters the benefit that using a base theme gives you) I am not a markup purist though and probably never will be so I’m unlikely to use it with regularity, but I do want to try and clean the markup up a bit - working with Panels [D.O] can be a nightmare even if the layout options are nice.

So in summary whilst I have not achieved exactly what I wanted to this week (Mostly because DrupalCon Sydney stole my time…) I have got my talk submitted, my presentation started (It’ll be on Github in Keynote, Powerpoint, PDF and possibly ODF format when it’s at a decent stage) I think all in all it’s been a good week. I also got my work’s site Druapl 7 (D7) version finalised, with a launch happening (hopefully) sometime next week. I just have to go through and check all the links etc. The design is in effect the same. Version 2.0 of my Drupal 7 site is also already underway, with a 960 grid layout on top of the existing design, as well as using best practises for working with Panels as opposed to handcrafting the zen subtheme I wrote. Which is how I did things in D6. As I start build the theme for this site, I am going to be writing a tutorial series (To be published after the new theme has gone live) showing the development progress, and also I’ll re-highlight some of the information I learnt during my attempt at a 12412 stint in Jan 2012.

Comments welcome as always, and hopefully next week I’ll have my Omega miniseries review up.

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