Understanding the Theme Builder

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Understanding the Theme Builder

Before we start poking around in Drupal Gardens' Theme Builder, let's get a quick overview of its controls. To launch the Theme Builder, click Appearance. The Theme Builder has five tabs: Themes, Brand, Layout, Styles, and Advanced. The Themes one is the simplest one; it lets you just switch from one theme to another. So, for example, I'm going to change to the Broadway theme. I click it and the entire site changes. You see the same content; it just looks different.

You can hide the Theme Builder by clicking this little Minus sign. That keeps it active so that you can quickly go back and do other styling, but it lets you see more of the page, as you can see. Let's make it large again by clicking on the Plus sign and switch to another one--let's say Carbon. And once again, it's all of the same content, just in a different appearance, and we'll show it again. In addition to the themes that Drupal Gardens gives you, as you load and edit these themes you'll be creating your own versions of them, and so in addition to the Gardens theme tab here, there is also a My themes tab.

Right now, it's empty, because we haven't saved any of our own versions, but as we go through this course, you'll see this fill up more and more. Let's go on to the other tabs. The second one is the Brand tab, which has two subtabs here. It should be fairly obvious from the appearance what the Palettes tab does. You click on any one of these color combinations and it changes the entire color of that theme. Now notice it's not just the background-- although that's the most obvious thing, it also changes text color. These are very subtle changes, but they make a big difference.

The Logo subtab lets you upload your own logo that will up here near the top of the page right by the title. The Favicon lets you change this little thing that shows up. It's usually in the address bar and also sometimes in tabs and browsers. The Layout tab lets you change how many columns there are on the page. Let's take a look at our page here. I'm actually going to go back to the way that we have it. I'll discard our unsaved changes, and you'll see it switches right back to that Campaign theme.

Now in this one we have a left-hand column and a right-hand column around a central content area. I'm going to go back into the Appearance to launch the Theme Builder, go back to Layout, and let's change that so that both of these columns are on the right-hand side. There we are. It's actually quite a nice effect once you have your columns all set up. Sometimes you like to have your main content on the left or the right. You get all of those options here in this Layout tab.

Now, the Styles tab is the most flexible of all. This is the one that lets you style individual elements on the page. Once you've selected this tab, when you move your cursor over any elements on the page they become sort of highlighted. Let's say we want to change this title up here, the explorecalifornia title. I click it and then change its font to, let's say Lucida Sans. There, and you saw a subtle change there, change it to Monaco, and so forth. The Styles tab has to other subtabs-- Borders & Spacing--which lets you change, as you might guess, borders around things, and how they're based on the page.

Again, we'll talk more about this later on in the course. The Background lets you change what happens behind an element. So, for example, you could change it to a color, or you could even add a graphic. That's sort of what you see in this entire page; you have this big body graphic behind everything. Finally, in the Advanced tab, you can add your own CSS code, and again we'll be talking about this much later in the course. When you finish designing your theme, you can save it, which will allow you to hold onto it and make other changes without actually publishing it--that is, without making it live to everybody. Or you could go ahead and publish it.

Before you publish, it'll force you to save it, and then we'll publish it so that everybody sees the new theme that you've designed. Finally, there is an Undo and Redo button-- this works just the same as in many programs--and the Export button. You'll learn more about that in the video "Exporting Themes" These ones up here get a little bit complicated, and I'll show you how they work all together in switching, saving, and copying themes. Now when we close it out, we lose all of our changes unless we decide to save them.

I'm just going to go back to what we had. Yes, I want to discard them, and we're back as we were. So that's your brief introduction to theming in Drupal Gardens. If you're the sort of person who does well by poking around, this is a really good time to just stop and spend some time doing that. Create a new site, as you learned in the video about getting started with Drupal Gardens. Personally, I like to have what I call a throwaway site, so that I can experiment without worrying about what happens.

You can't hurt anything in Drupal Gardens; the only thing that you might hurt, so to speak, is a site that if you have a throwaway site you didn't mean to do anything with anyway. As you start mucking around with themes, I do want to recommend that you save copies as you go, using that Save as button. That way you can roll back to an earlier one if you make a mistake. I'll show you how to do that in the video about switching, saving, and copying themes.

Understanding the Theme Builder
Video duration: 5m 25s 6h 6m Appropriate for all Updated Nov 10, 2011


Understanding the Theme Builder provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Tom Geller as part of the Drupal Gardens Essential Training

Drupal Gardens
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