[drupal-devel] Theme system changes: theme regions, updates required

Dries Buytaert dries at buytaert.net
Mon Aug 22 07:10:14 UTC 2005

Hello world,

last week I committed Nedjo Rogers' theme region patch to HEAD.  This  
means Drupal 4.7 sites can have "multiple block regions" and that  
site administrators can put blocks in other regions than the  
conventional left or the right sidebar.  To take advantage of this  
theme writers have to define additional regions in their theme.  Even  
if you only wish to support the left and right sidebar, some minimal  
changes are needed.  That is, all themes need minimal updates!  This  
e-mail is meant to get you up to speed with the changes so we can  
update our themes and theme engines in a timely manner.

The core themes, and core theme engines have been updated by Nedjo,  
but other (contributed) theme engines like XTemplate and Smarty still  
need to be updated!  Moreover, a new 'regions' hook has been  
introduced.  PHP themes need to add a mytheme_regions() function to  
their .theme files, while PHPTemplate-based themes need to implement  
a new "header" region (typically, below the title banner).  Nedjo  
provided details in "Converting 4.6 themes to HEAD", http:// 
drupal.org/node/25297.  You could also take a look at the core themes  
for inspiration or example code.

   - To add new regions to a PHPTemplate-based theme, simply declare  
the region(s) in a mytheme_regions() function, e.g.,

    function mytheme_regions() {
      return array(
        'myregion' => t('my region')
    and then write the variables to the page, e.g., <?print  
$myregion ?>. There's no need to declare and set the region-name  
variable--PHPTemplate handles that.  For details, see the page  
"Regions in PHPTemplate", http://drupal.org/node/29139.

   - To add new regions to a plain PHP theme, declare the region(s)  
as above, load the blocks (as is currently done for 'left' and  
'right'), and then add the result to the page output.  For details,  
see the new section in "Plain PHP themes" on regioning, http:// 

An overview of the relevant documentation is given below:

   * New page "Regions in themes", http://drupal.org/node/29140,  
provides an overview.
   * New section in "Converting 4.6 themes to HEAD", http:// 
drupal.org/node/25297, on minimum needed changes.
   * New section in "Plain PHP themes" on regioning, http:// 
   * New page "Regions in PHPTemplate", http://drupal.org/node/29139

Let's get creative and show what can be done with this new  
functionality!  Nedjo has plenty of ideas for improvement, but we  
wanted to evaluate these changes first.

Dries Buytaert  ::  http://www.buytaert.net/

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