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Building with new themes

From: Drupal 7 New Features

Video: Building with new themes

Let's face it. The first thing that people notice about your site is its graphic design. Lots of Drupal sites just stick with the default theme, which in Drupal 6 was called Garland. I'll show it you right here. I'm sure it looks familiar if you have used Drupal 6. It's a good design but it's getting kind of dated, especially since so many people use it and it doesn't have some of the flourishes that people expect in a web design these days. For example, take a look at this menu links style. It's just a very bare effect as you rollover your cursor.

Building with new themes

Let's face it. The first thing that people notice about your site is its graphic design. Lots of Drupal sites just stick with the default theme, which in Drupal 6 was called Garland. I'll show it you right here. I'm sure it looks familiar if you have used Drupal 6. It's a good design but it's getting kind of dated, especially since so many people use it and it doesn't have some of the flourishes that people expect in a web design these days. For example, take a look at this menu links style. It's just a very bare effect as you rollover your cursor.

Let's look at some of the other themes offered with Drupal 6. To get there you go to Administer > Site Building and Themes. As you scroll down you see that there are Blue Marine, Chameleon, Marvin, Minelli, and Pushbutton and they're likewise not so bad but they are kind of drab in modern terms. These were all actually holdovers from Drupal 5. There was nothing new in Drupal 6 and three of these themes were in Drupal 4. So it was definitely time for a change. So let's take a look at Drupal 7. Drupal 7 has a new primary theme, which is called Bartik, after the early programmer Jean Bartik who worked on ENIAC. It looks a lot like Garland but it has some small changes that bring it upto date and by the way Garland is still available even if it's not enabled by default.

I can show you one of these small changes by adding a little bit of content and I'll just create a Junk node and scroll to the bottom and add it as a menu link called Junk node. Now you'll notice when I rollover, it just underlines there but if I go to the Homepage it actually lights up and rolls-over as well so you have a nice little bit of modern effect there. I am just going to delete that node now, like so. So that's the default theme. Now let's look at how you manage themes in Drupal 7. To do so click on Appearance and you'll notice immediately something new at the top, Install new Theme.

That's a great feature and I'll show you how it works in the video "Installing themes and modules." Also new in Drupal7 are these tabs up here at the top. The Settings tab is familiar to you. That's how you change the global settings, which affect all themes. In Drupal 6 you got there by clicking Configure. This Update tab lets you update themes directly through Drupal's interface. You don't have to mess around on the Web server anymore to add a theme and we'll show you how that works in the video "Updating themes and modules." But let's go back to our list now. At the bottom we have some Disabled Themes and then below that we have an Administration theme.

The Administration theme is why you see a different interface when you look at administration pages as opposed to the main site that a visitor would see, and if you wanted to, you could change it so that you also saw that in the default theme or Bartik are any of the others. I am going to just switch over to Garland and make that our default theme and compare that to the Garland in Drupal 6 because there is a small difference. I click Enable and set Default and then close out the Administrative Overlay, and here we are at Garland. Let's take a look at Garland on Drupal 7 as opposed on Drupal 6.

It looks very much the same. Here it is on Drupal 7 and here it is on Drupal 6. There is a difference though when you go into Appearance and change the settings you now have a choice of making it either Fluid Width theme or a Fixed Width theme and if we change it to Fixed Width and then save, you see exactly what that means. Instead of being able to make this center area larger and smaller, it stays the same size, which is good if you have a design that calls for that. Another change between 6 and 7 is there is no longer a mission statement in themes.

So at the top of the screen here we have the Title and then we have an optional Slogan below that but we don't have another line in addition to that. You would see that in Drupal 6 by going to Administer > Site Configuration and Site Information and there is your Mission. It's no longer in Drupal 7 and that affects how your theme appears, of course. Now let's talk about the other theme that's new in Drupal 7, which is called, interestingly enough, Seven. To get there, of course, you click on Appearance and scroll down and I'll make that the default.

Once we close our administrative window you then see your site just the same way that you saw the administrative interface. If we go back Home you see it's actually quite dull, I am going to change it back to Bartik, but of course we'll still have Seven as our Administrative theme, and there we are. The final theme that's new in Drupal 7 is called Stark and it's not a theme that you would want to use just by itself. It's listed down here at the bottom as a disabled theme. The real reason that it exists is as a base for other themes that you're going to build. I'll go ahead and enable it, just so you can see what it looks like and close the Administrative Overlay.

It's just a little bit of layout and really no text styling at all. As I say, it's something only to be used for building your own themes, and then I'll just switch it back to Bartik. Now I have saved the best part for last. The new themes, Bartik in particular, have a lot of block regions. You might remember in Drupal 6, if you go to Administer > Site Building and Blocks you see these regions header, right sidebar, left sidebar, content and footer, and that's pretty much all that you get.

Well, take a look at what you get in Bartik. To do that we go to Structure and Blocks and Demonstrate block regions. Look at that. Header is this featured thing up here. If, for example, you're running a newspaper site and there is a big store, you can just splash it right at the top of the page. Sidebar first and second, much like left and right before, a highlighted area, Help and Content. The help area is now a block area so instead of only having help information there you could put all sorts of things there. Then at the bottom you have all of these column options. It's really wonderful.

So that's a lot of changes but remember these are only the themes that come with core Drupal. If you use Acquia Drupal, which we discuss in another video in the series, you get even more themes. And then we should find some URLs. I'll just type these up here so you can see what they are, drupal.org/projects/ themes. So that's one it'll be flown in. The other one is going to be themegarden.org and I am just going to close those windows. And as always you can download a huge number of free themes from drupal.org/projects/themes and you can see demonstrations of them at themegarden.org.

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Drupal 7 New Features

29 video lessons · 7927 viewers

Tom Geller
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