Join Tom Geller for an in-depth discussion in this video Selecting and installing downloaded themes, part of Drupal 7 Essential Training.
Up until now you've only seen three different themes, all of them part of Drupal 7's core download, but there are dozens more available for free on Drupal.org. This video will show you how to download and install them as well as how to decide which ones will fit your needs best. The first place for us to go is drupal.org. Once there, click Download & Extend and then click Themes. You can also go there directly by simply typing drupal.org/project/themes in your browser's address bar. The first thing we need to do is make sure we're looking for Drupal 7 themes, Those that are designed for Drupal 6 or any earlier version simply won't work.
So we Filter by compatibility as 7 and Search. By default, these are sorted by most installed. That is to say which are the most popular, and we can scroll down through here and see which ones they are. The first batch or actually something called Base Themes, which I'll get to in just a moment. The one that I think that we'll look at is called Danland. It shows you a little bit of information about it, but to get the download link you have to either click the title or click Find out more. Then as you scroll down further you see the Downloads area. I could download this directly to my Desktop by clicking this link but I am going to show you a slightly easier way.
You right-click it if you have a two-button mouse or Ctrl+Click with a one-button mouse and then choose Copy Link Location, then go back to your site. You might remember from earlier videos that to see Theme Settings, you go to Appearance up here in the toolbar. Currently we have the Bartik theme showing. I am going to install a new theme by clicking here on Install new theme. Then I paste the URL that I just copied and click Install. It only takes a few seconds and then you can go back to that Theme page by clicking Enable newly added themes.
If we scroll down to the bottom we see there's our theme, Danblog. In order to make it actually work we say Enable and set default. That makes it replace Bartik as the main theme that people see when they visit the site. To prove that I'll go back Home and there it is. That was pretty easy, wasn't it? Now that we have got this installed we can explore it a little bit and you'll see a few things that are different from theme to theme. First let's go up to Appearance and click Settings. You might remember that Bartik was re- colorable and I can show that by clicking on the Bartik button up here.
That was actually how we changed that header graphic so that instead of going from blue from blue it when from green to green. Well, Danblog doesn't have that, but some themes will have additional features that you don't have in Bartik. The other way that themes differ quite a bit is in their block layout. To see that, go up to Structure and then to Blocks. Now one thing to watch out for. When you see this Blocks page it only refers to a specific theme and in this case we're still looking at Bartik's theme. In order to see how Blocks are arranged on the Danblog page we have to click Danblog and then we can scroll down, and we see, for example, there's something here Superfish menu.
It has an additional region, which isn't in Bartik. If we want to see all of the block regions, as usual we would click up here on Demonstrate block regions, and there it is. To exit click Exit block region demonstration. You can learn more about moving and configuring blocks through other videos in this course. So, we have our theme, but you might be asking how did I decide which team to try? There is a lot of jargon around themes so here are a few tips and a bit of a glossary. As I said before, when you choose a theme it must be a version that matches your version of Drupal, in this case Drupal 7.
It should also be a released version if that's possible. If I go back to that Themes page, and again I'll just switch over to this tab and go back to drupal.org/project/ themes, you see that some of them, as I click on Zen for example, have versions that are still in development. Then there are some that are on a yellow background, which means you could use them although it's not necessarily the preferred version, and then the green area up here is the most preferred version. In this case, 7 hasn't yet been released so allegedly it's not stable.
The truth is, though, some of the unstable versions are pretty good, while some of the supposedly stable ones aren't perfect. If you hang around the Drupal community long enough you'll find out which ones really work, but without that your best bet is to stick with those that are in the green area. When you're looking at themes don't judge it based on the main graphic. Many of these themes will have a large graphic in the header but they won't really have all the settings that you want. It's easy to change a graphic. It's not so easy to add settings. Finally, look for features that you couldn't create yourself.
Again, a graphic you can add but could you add rounded corners or rollover effects or things like that? If not and you need them, choose a theme that has those features. And while we're on the subject, here's a glossary that'll help you look through those descriptions and decide which one is right for you. The first one is Fluid/Fixed and the best way to demonstrate this is by going back to our site and switching our theme to Garland. I'll do that by going to Appearance and then clicking Set default next to Garland and closing our window.
Here we see Garland and you've seen this before. It has certain settings that let you choose whether it's Fixed or Fluid. You can see the difference between Fixed and Fluid by taking your browser window and unlocking it from the edges of the screen like so, and then drag the corner in and out. This one is what's called a fluid version of Garland and I can tell that because this main area grows and shrinks as I make the window smaller and larger. In Garland's settings, which I can get to through Appearance and Settings, this one in particular switches between Fluid and Fixed.
I'll change it to the Fixed version just so that you could see the difference. I close the window. Now when I move this in and out you see that this central area stays frozen. I'll just make this window large again and switch back to our Bartik theme and close that out. There, we are back as we were. Continuing on with the glossary, some themes are re-colorable, you've seen this with Bartik, and also some have more block regions than others. Again, Bartik has 15 regions whereas the old Garland only had five.
But what if you decide you want to design your own theme or you want to extend the theme somehow? Well, there are some additional things you can do besides just downloading the theme and living with it. First, if you want to design your own it's a good idea to start out with a base theme, and there are quite a few to choose from. If we go back to drupal.org/project/ themes you can see that the first few, Zen and Fusion in particular, are both base themes. That is they don't have very much styling themselves but they are setup so that you can easily style them yourselves.
A sub-theme is when you take a base theme and make your own theme from it. It's a much larger topic and one that I won't be getting into this course, but you can find out more about it by looking at Chris Charlton's course on designing Drupal themes on lynda.com. Then there are other modules such as Skinr and Suckerfish that add certain features to your theme. The last thing I am going to do is to get rid of the theme we downloaded. That will keep both our Appearance page and the sites folder clean. To do that, I'll go to my Drupal installation folder and then to sites, and then if you look in all, you'll find a themes folder. This is where themes were installed by default.
Then I'll just get rid of it by dragging it to the Recycle Bin. Before you do this, make sure that you've turned it off in your Drupal site of course, as I did just a minute ago. Now when I go back up to my site, I click on Appearance and Danland is no longer there. So you can see, it's really quite easy to install themes on your own site. So why not try out a whole bunch of them? It only takes a few minutes and you can always switch back.
- Comparing Drupal with other content management systems
- Understanding nodes
- Creating basic content
- Adding blogs, discussions groups, and polls
- Subscribing to RSS feeds
- Creating new content types
- Managing users, roles, and permissions
- Creating and modifying block regions
- Adding menus
- Extending site capabilities with modules