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Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) for a variety of platforms. It has a robust user community and easy-to-use administration features. Drupal Essential Training covers all the important aspects of installing, configuring, customizing, and maintaining a Drupal-powered website. Instructor Tom Geller explores blogs, discussion forums, member profiles, and other features while demonstrating the steps required to make Drupal perform. He also teaches fundamental concepts and skills along the way, including installation, backups, and updates; security and permissions; flexible page layouts and CSS; menu navigation; and performance monitoring and disaster recovery. He also discusses how to select and install the community-supported modules that further expand Drupal's capabilities, and gives experienced PHP programmers tips on customizing page templates. Example files accompany the course.
Let's say you have played around with the four basic themes and two variations that were installed with Drupal, but still aren't satisfied. There are many other themes that you could find on drupal.org and themegargen.org that are free and available for download. Once you found a theme you like, you will need to download it to the themes folder in the Drupal installation on your server and on packet from it's compressed format. You will need right level access to that folder. If you don't have it already talk to your system administrator before proceeding. Once there, a few touches in Drupal web -based administration pages makes the theme available and further tweaks/ configure it to your liking. To take a look at themes we are first going to go into Administer and Themes. From this page of course you see a list of all of the themes that you have available to you that is the ones that are installed in your Drupal folder.
You will also notice this line here: To change the appearance of your site a number of contributed themes are available. That link goes directly to the drupal.org web page, which has a list of themes. If you are logged into the site, you can filter those themes by the version of Drupal that you have and I recommend that you do that because the earlier versions of Drupal themes won't work with your current version and in fact there may even be versions after yours. For example 7.whatever while you have 6.whatever. Besides the drupal.org site, there is another sites that has many themes. It is themegargen.org. themegargen.org has one advantage which is that you could see the theme very easily simply by clicking on it. It reloads the Theme Garden site itself into that theme. Wherever you go to find your themes, I recommend you spent a lot of time going from one to the other and become familiar with the similarities and differences among them as well as what might work best for you.
Try to ignore the large graphics that you see because of course those can be changed very easily and we will tell you how to do so elsewhere in the series. Let's talk a little bit about qualities that differentiate themes. This one is a two-column theme with the side bar on the left. That's the more common format although you do sometimes find them with the column on the right as in this theme Andreas. Here is that column on the right. In three column themes, there is still some variations as to where the columns can go. We have already seen the three- column theme which has a left column and a right column but that's not always the case. For example, the Marinelli theme has both columns on the right and the main content area on the left. One other thing that differentiates themes one from the other is whether there are fixed or fluid columns. I can show you what I mean by going to a theme called lightfantastic. As we change the size of the window, we can tell that it's a fixed column theme because as we bring the window in, the right column just gets cut off and the center column eventually gets cut off as well without any change to the layout.
On the other hand a fluid column theme such as nista will change the way it looks as you move the sides of the window in and out. So that everything stays on the page, just like that. Some other features that differentiate themes or whether or not the theme is re-colorable. We have already seen that and in fact our default theme garland is re-colorable. If you go into configure garland you will see a color wheel that will let you change the color of, for example the header area and the links and so forth directly from the theme. You don't have to go and change the CSS or Cascading Style Sheets document as you do with other themes.
Finally, there are themes which have additional areas. One example of that is this one called ability which I am showing in the drupal.org website. The site is having, it's three columns down here. It has two additional columns up here and in fact this one has more at the bottom. You can actually have many, many layout areas in a theme and in each one of those areas you can move blocks or content. Finally you may decide to go beyond drupal.org and themegargen.org and in fact there are commercial companies that offer Drupal themes, some of them for pay.
To find them go to google.com and do a search for Drupal Themes. There you will find not only readymade themes but also service providers who will create and adapt themes for you. Okay, so we have decided that we want to get a new theme but how exactly do we get it. Well, that's actually very easy. We go to any of those places and we simply download it. I have decided that the theme I want to use is called Andreas 02. It was designed by Swedish designer Andreas Viklund who has kindly released the design for free for all users including commercial sites. And in fact many of these themes are released under the new public license or some other source license. So you are free to download and use them without paying any royalties and you are free to change them as you like.
To find them, we are going to go to drupal.org/project/themes and in this case I know it's on the first page, I am just going to search for andereas02 and there we are. Now, we get to the fun part. Downloading and actually installing the theme. You download it by simply clicking on the Download link. There are small files typically less than 200k, so it shouldn't take long to download them. Once it's on you computer, go to your Desktop. On the Mac, I am doing that by clicking on the Finder and then hiding everything else and simply double-click on the Archive.
That gives you a folder. That folder can go on one of two places on your site. You may think that new theme goes into that themes folder. But that's actually only for themes that came downloaded with Drupal. If you put it in there it won't be updated properly with Drupal 6's automatic updates. A better place to put it is in sites, default, assuming you are only running one Drupal site on your Drupal installation and in here in a folder called themes. However, the installer will lock this folder. On the Mac you can see that by this little cannot write symbol down here.
So let's go back one and unprotect that default folder for a moment. On the Mac, you will do that by going up to File and Get Info. On the PC, you will right-click and get Properties. Then go to Sharing & Permissions. You have to unlock it and enter your password and change Read only to Read & Write. We are going to be changing this back though, so remember that you did that. As a reminder, I like to leave this window open. We can then go into that default folder, create a New Folder which we will call Themes and put Andreas02 into that folder. Now just as reminder we are going to go back, take default and make it Read only again and then close that window.
All right, so we have installed the theme, but we haven't yet turned it on. So I am going to go back to my browser, close out this window and go to my site. To my case it's simply localhost. Go to Administer and Themes and there we have it. It shows up in our Themes List. I am going to make that the default. Scroll to the bottom and Save your configuration. We have a new theme that we have downloaded. As always when you switch to a new theme, the blocks that you had set up don't necessarily carry over, we do still have out Poll block here but you will notice the Navigation menu which we were used to having in the upper left-hand corner right handy is now at the bottom. So we will have to go back and do Administer and Blocks and change the blocks around however we want. We are not going to spend time doing that now, because we are eventually going to move back to the Bluemarine theme.
Now just to check this theme, I am going to look at it as an ordinary user. You might remember our user fishyjoe. His account is open in Firefox. So I will switch to Firefox by hitting Command+ Tab on the Mac and reload the page. As a last step, I am going to go back and clean this all up, because I decided I really like the Bluemarine theme and I am going to stick with it. So I switch back to my administrative interface, going to Administer and back down to Themes, change to Bluemarine. Now there is one other thing, I am actually going to throw away the files that I just downloaded.
So I click enabled to make sure that's it not enabled. If it is enabled then I throw away the file that could cause some problems, especially if for example a user has switched to that theme as their own personal choice and then found it wasn't working. I go down to the bottom and Save Configuration. Then I go back to my Finder, Hide others, open up that folder again, open up themes and I can just take this and throw it away. On the Mac that's done by dragging it to the Trash and on the PC by right-clicking and selecting Delete and then just to make sure I am going to go back and take a look at the site in fishyjoe's view by reloading the page.
Yup, it looks exactly as before. For all the difference the theme makes, it's amazingly easy to download and install themes in Drupal and you can't do much damage to your site by trying them out one after the other. So when you are developing a site, get used to installing themes and be prepared to modify those themes so that they work best for you.
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