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Author Tom Geller demonstrates how to create and publish a complete web site with the powerful tools in Acquia's hosted service, Drupal Gardens. The course shows how to leverage the pre-built page layouts and add custom styling using the ThemeBuilder tool; integrate rich site features, such as surveys, user ratings, and media galleries; and push content to Twitter and Facebook. The course also covers transitioning from a Drupal Gardens site to a self-hosted Drupal site. Exercise files are included with the course.
There are four steps to changing themes in Drupal Gardens. First, you select the base theme; then you modify it if you like or leave it as it is; then you save your version; and then you publish it to the web. So once again you select your theme, you modify it, you save it, and you publish it. It can get a bit confusing in those middle two steps there, the Save and Publish, because you'll usually do several rounds of revisions before publishing and perhaps save intermediate versions under various names as you go. I'll try to make it clearer by showing you what the typical design process looks like.
Now I'll be working on this theme in Firefox when I'm administering it, but I've also brought up the site in Google Chrome, so that we can see what it looks like to a visitor. But let's go back to our administrative interface and click Appearance, so we can start working with it. First, I'll do something very simple. I'll change it to Minima, and as you know, the entire site look changes. One thing that's really nice about Drupal Gardens, by the way--and it's often not true about Drupal in general--is that all of the themes have the same block regions.
So content doesn't just disappear because the region names are different. It just stays in the same place. So our feed that we had here is here, and our block up here is here. It didn't does appear. That sometimes does happen in core Drupal, but not in Drupal Gardens. Now by clicking Publish we'll make Minima the active theme but that everybody sees when they visit the site. But Minima is the template's name. We can't change the template itself, so Drupal Gardens is now asking us to save it as one of our custom themes. We're doing what's technically called "making an instance" of Minima.
I'm just going to call this exp_cal_01. This is a naming convention that I like to use because that way I can have multiple versions and know which came first. I then click OK; it takes a little minute; and we get this message here saying that it was successfully copied and saved. And once it's been published, we get this message saying that the theme is now live. By the way, I just want to mention that these theme names, that exp_cal_01 that I gave it, only pertains to this site.
As you know, you can have multiple sites on Drupal Gardens, and if you have the same theme name in different ones, that's perfectly okay; they don't relate to each other; they are specific to the one site you're working on. Now let's prove that this actually is published by switching over to our Google Chrome browser and reloading the page, and there it is. This is what the world would actually see. Now let's go back and continue our administration of the theme. Once you start saving themes, they appear in the subtab here under My themes.
Now I want to say something about this underlining that I did here. I recommend that you use underscores instead of spaces or hyphens in your theme name. They will be changed into underscores on the server anyway, and if you don't know that, you could later have trouble, because you're looking for certain theme assets, and they're in the wrong place. That particular issue stopped me for a whole day once, so just use underscores and avoid that whole problem. Now right now, the Save button up here is grayed out.
That's because we haven't made any changes to this theme; it's exactly the same as Minima. But let's say that we were to make this a little bit bigger. I'll click on Styles and then click on our title, and then just make it slightly bigger--34 pixels, let's say. Now, you'll notice the Save button is available again. I can save that either by just clicking Save, and it republishes the theme under the same name. This is still exp_cal_01 as you see up here. Or I can save it under a different name.
If I click there, I can then rename it exp_cal_02, and there we go. We now have, if we go back to our Themes tab, exp_cal_01 and exp_cal_02; however, I do want to mention we didn't actually publish exp_cal_02. We're working on it now, and you can see that because we have that title right up here, but if we go back to our Google Chrome browser and reload the page, you'll notice that the title is exactly the same size.
We're still on that first theme. This part is something that kind of confuses me when I start working with this. That's one reason I always keep another browser open, so I can see what the true live theme is. Now I'm going to try something drastically different: a black background. I'll go up to Styles again and click in the background, and I will change the Background to black, like that. And once again, if I wanted to save this, I would say Save as, and then let's say exp_cal_black_01. You get the idea.
I don't have to keep repeating this, but it is a good idea to name your themes like I'm naming them here: something a little descriptive, but also a serial number, so you can keep track of what came first. In fact, I don't like looking at that because I can't really read the text, so I'll switch back by going to Themes. Minima is actually the published theme. I'll click back on it just so that we can see it ourselves as we go. You'll notice that the one that's actually published has a red border around it. Now, honestly I found that not always to be consistent in Drupal Gardens; however, it does look like it's getting better. So by the time you see this video, that should be much more consistent.
So that shows you basically how to switch around among themes. Before we go, I'm just going to switch it to this exp_cal_02, and then I'll publish it, just so that I'm sure that that's what I actually have live. I can check that out in Google Chrome. I'll reload the page. Great! That looks good. And then close out the Theme Builder by clicking on the little X. I know it can sometimes be confusing to keep straight which theme you're working with and which one has been published.
Two techniques have been a big help to me. First, keep an eye on this theme name right here in the right-hand tab. When you've made a change, as I'll do right now just to show you--again, I'll just make this font bigger-- when you've made a change, it'll have an asterisk next to it, as it does now. That means you've made a change that hasn't yet been saved. Second, view your site as an anonymous visitor in an another browser as you go, to see which version has been published.
When you do that though, either click around the site a bit or do a power- reload in the browser, because sometimes the browser will save an old version in its memory. Here is my last tip: While you're working on a theme save a copy whenever you get to a point that it looks pretty good even, if it's not perfect, because once you start messing around with CSS--as you learn how to do in the video about modifying CSS selectors-- things can very quickly get confusing. And if you've made those backups you'll be glad to have a decent version to revert to.
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