[drupal-devel] [bug] Block regions not initiated for newly enabled theme, so theme unusable

stefan nagtegaal drupal-devel at drupal.org
Fri Aug 26 09:30:24 UTC 2005

Issue status update for 
Post a follow up: 

 Project:      Drupal
 Version:      cvs
 Component:    system.module
 Category:     bug reports
 Priority:     critical
 Assigned to:  nedjo
 Reported by:  nedjo
 Updated by:   stefan nagtegaal
 Status:       patch (code needs work)
 Attachment:   http://drupal.org/files/issues/theme-regions_0.patch (5.66 KB)

Updated patch to use theme('placeholder', $string) and deleted the
double space between a translatable sentence..
Functionality seems to work..

One thing I do not like is the wording you use, though I do not have a
better idea (yet)..
Can someone who's native language is English look at the
drupal_set_messages()'s, please?


stefan nagtegaal

Previous comments:

Wed, 24 Aug 2005 03:10:30 +0000 : nedjo

Following the introduction of extentendable regions, see this issue [1],
several users have reported problems:

"A fresh install of Drupal with bluemarine displays blocks correctly,
but when I switch the default theme to pushbutton, all the blocks
disappear. They do show up in ?q=admin/block, but just with the yellow
helper boxes, no blocks are really displayed.--Goba

"Same problem as Goba.

The "region" field in the blocks table is sometimes blank. This
makes many themes almost unusable in a Drupal default install. I don't
know how the fields are blank, but the following SQL helped me get back
to theme development:

UPDATE blocks SET region="left" WHERE region=""--Thox

"another confirmation. I found out about the exact same sql query as
Thox to fix it:)
We came across this in an update. The theme had the regions defined,
but since it was a non-default theme the blocks dissapeared. A drupal
site, without a navigation block is simply useless.--Ber

The issue suggests a bug in the initiation of theme blocks.  When a new
theme is enabled, it's supposed to be initiated with blocks based on the
default theme's blocks.  I'll post a fix ASAP.
[1] http://www.drupal.org/node/16216


Wed, 24 Aug 2005 04:11:57 +0000 : nedjo

I can't reproduce the reported issue with a clean install.

Are the themes causing these problems "updated" (are they
phptemplate-based or, if not, do they have _regions() functions)?

The specific problem seems to be that the region field isn't being set
when block regions are initiated.  Here's the relevant portion of
function system_initialize_theme_blocks():

      // If the region isn't supported by the theme, assign the
block to the theme's default region.
      if (!array_key_exists($block['region'], $regions)) {
        $block['region'] = system_default_region($theme);

This is executed if a newly-enabled theme doesn't have blocks already
assigned to it.  It gets the default region's settings--except the
region.  This code portion tests whether the default region's region is
available in the newly-enabled theme, and, if not, substitutes the
theme's default region.  This would all fail if the theme wasn't
returning any regions--but any phptemplate theme, or the core ones,
should be....

Anyone see what's going wrong?


Wed, 24 Aug 2005 18:02:44 +0000 : nedjo

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/theme-region-error-catching.patch (5.73 KB)

I'm still not quite sure what the issue is, but clearly better error
handling is needed.  A particular issue is the scenario where a site
admin upgrades a Drupal install without removing non-upgraded themes,
or, on a new install, tries to install non-upgraded themes.   As things
stand, either of these could lead to unusable themes being the default,
and all blocks disappearing.

The attached (initial, untested) patch adds error handling to both
updates.inc and system.module.

New for allinstalls:

* theme region initiation return FALSE on failure TRUE on success.
* on initiation failure, theme is disabled, and, if it was set to
default theme, bluemarine is substituted, with message given


* tests if current default theme has been upgraded, and if not sets
bluemarine as the default, issuing a notice
* tries to initialize blocks for each enabled theme and, on failure,
disables the theme.

This should help prevent upgrade problems.  If anyone has a chance to
review and test this, I'd appreciate it, as I don't at present have a
test install to upgrade.


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 14:07:38 +0000 : Thox

The problem occurs with all of the core themes except Bluemarine. That
means .theme (chameleon) and phptemplate (pushbutton) themes are both
affected equally.


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 15:33:37 +0000 : Thox

When I enable a theme, it goes through system_initialize_theme_blocks(),
which assigns the system_default_region() to the new theme.
Unfortunately, that's blank.

There's no themes loaded (disabled by system_listing_save()), so
there's no regions available, so there's no default region to use.

Your patch stops old themes from working, can we not simply set the
default region (if not found) to "left"? This works fine for me to fix
this problem.


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 16:26:03 +0000 : nedjo

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/theme-region.patch (6.2 KB)

This bug came from a recent change to function list_themes(), which now
lists only enabled themes.   function system_listing_save() fetched
available regions (using, indirectly, list_themes()) *before* a theme
was enabled. 

As well as the error handling (discussed above), designed to prevent
non-upgraded themes from being enabled and to give meaningful error
messages, the attached patch moves theme region initiation to after
themes are enabled.  On my testing, this fixes the reported error. 
Please test and report back.

I haven't yet tested the error handling changes to updates.inc.  Anyone
able to do that?  To test it, try to upgrade a site that has some
default (and therefore, with an upgrade, updated) themes, and some
themes (already enabled) that are not upgraded.  The expected behaviour
is that the upgraded themes have their regions initiated, while any
non-upgraded themes fail, are disabled (i.e., have their status reset
to 0), with messages given.


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 17:57:34 +0000 : nedjo

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/theme_region2.patch (8.02 KB)

Theme initiation was still broken for styles (unless the theme they are
based on was already initialized).  This is a perhaps unintended
side-effect of limiting list_themes() to enabled themes--data for a
theme on which a style is based are not available if that theme is not

I've changed the code to load theme data directly rather than through
list_themes(), so it's now I believe working.  (Also fixed a minor bug
in error reporting.)


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:41:37 +0000 : stefan nagtegaal


unfortunatly your patch isn't conform the drupal guidelines.
See some comments here:

+  if ($result) {
+    $ret[] = array('1', check_plain("UPDATE {blocks} SET theme =
'$default_theme'") ."\n<span class=\"success\">OK</span>\n");
+  }

Why is this?? If this is _really_ needed, please use something like:

+  if ($result) {
+    $ret[] = array('1', check_plain("UPDATE {blocks} SET theme =
'$default_theme'") ."\n<span class=\"success\">". t("Success")
+  }


+        $ret[] = array(0, t('The theme %theme failed to
initialize its blocks and so has been disabled.  The theme may need
to be upgraded.' . "\n<span class=\"failure\">FAILED</span>\n",
array('%theme' => $theme)));

Should be something like:

+        $ret[] = array(0, t('The theme %theme failed to
initialize its blocks and so has been disabled. The theme may need to
be updated.', array('%theme' => theme('placeholder', $theme)) .
"\n<span class=\"failed\">". t('Failed') ."</span>\n"));

The difference is "Failed" instead of "FAILED". We do not use UPPERCASE
errors. And I think if we use sentences as "Failed", we should use
"Success" either instead of "OK"..
Then you didn't made these messages translatable, and lacked the use of
theme('placeholder', $text).

Same here:

+        $ret[] = array(1, t('Blocks initiated for %theme
theme.') . "\n<span class=\"success\">OK</span>\n", array('%theme' =>

Do it like this:

+      $ret[] = array(1, t('Blocks initiated for theme %theme.',
array('%theme' => theme('placeholder', $theme)) . "\n<span
class=\"success\">". t('Success') ."</span>\n"));

So, in short:
- Try to minimise HTML in user translatable strings;
- Don't use CAPITAL ERRORS, we don't do that atm;
- Use theme('placeholder', $string) where needed;

Though, I did not test the functionality of the patch (yet)..


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 19:22:20 +0000 : nedjo

"unfortunatly your patch isn't conform the drupal guidelines.

Well, okay.  I'm just following what updates.inc already does, see
function update_sql(), so that messaging is consistent.  Perhaps you'd
like to submit a patch to fix the allcaps issue in updates.inc.  I'm
not going to do that now, as my aim is to get this particular
(critical) problem fixed.


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 22:25:32 +0000 : chx

No, no, no! Fix core themes, write something to update.inc if need to be
and document changes. Never ever put update code in the running part of


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 23:08:59 +0000 : nedjo

I think there's some confusion here.  The portion of my patch in
question *is* to update.inc--not "the running part of Drupal".


Thu, 25 Aug 2005 23:34:55 +0000 : chx

I stand corrected -- sorry. But please provide a new update_XXX function
instead of patching the current the one.

Stefan, in update.inc we use FAILED yes and I can't see placeholder


Fri, 26 Aug 2005 00:01:36 +0000 : drumm

Updates should not make the return value themselves.

+  $result = db_query("UPDATE {blocks} SET theme = '%s'",
+  if ($result) {
+    $ret[] = array('1', check_plain("UPDATE {blocks} SET theme =
'$default_theme'") ."\n<span class=\"success\">OK</span>\n");
+  }
+  else {
+    $ret[] = array('0', check_plain("UPDATE {blocks} SET theme =
'$default_theme'") ."\n<span class=\"failure\">FAILED</span>\n");
+  }

I can't see how this is different from using update_sql().

+      if (!system_initialize_theme_blocks($theme)) {
+        update_sql("UPDATE {system} SET status = 0, WHERE type
= 'theme' AND name = '%s'", $theme);
+        $ret[] = array(0, t('The theme %theme failed to
initialize its blocks and so has been disabled.  The theme may need
to be upgraded.' . "\n<span class=\"failure\">FAILED</span>\n",
array('%theme' => $theme)));
+      }
+      else {
+        $ret[] = array(1, t('Blocks initiated for %theme
theme.' . "\n<span class=\"success\">OK</span>\n", array('%theme' =>
+      }

Use drupal_set_message(t(...), 'error') instead. Monor issue: sentences
should not have double spaces between them.

And another update should be written to patch up whatever the last
update left behind since many developers have the broken code and
should not be running the same update again.


Fri, 26 Aug 2005 00:02:17 +0000 : drumm

Updating the status.


Fri, 26 Aug 2005 05:24:31 +0000 : nedjo

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/theme-regions.patch (5.65 KB)

Thanks for the tips, though they kinda miss the point.

My inclusion of update enhancements is evidently distracting from the
main issue--so I've deleted it from the patch.  There is, in any case,
no bug or broken code to fix in the past update.

The issue here is that the "list_theme() improvements" patch has broken
theme block initialization--before anyone had a chance to see the new
region functionality in action.  The attached patch fixes this.  Please
review and apply ASAP.

Aside: my manual messaging in the updates was an admittedly crude
workaround to two limitations: (1) update_sql doesn't allow additional
arguments (i.e., string or number query parameters) beyond the sql, and
(2) since updates may do more than simply  issue queries, there's a need
for more flexible reporting.  I agree that drupal_set_message() *could*
be used for this, but I think it makes more sense to have flexible
inline messages.  So  I've roughed in a patch to do that (and also
address some of stefan's requests), see http://drupal.org/node/29002


Fri, 26 Aug 2005 08:34:38 +0000 : Thox

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/default-regions.patch (617 bytes)

Your patch works, but I don't see why it needs to be so complicated. Can
you please explain why something simple such as my attached patch is not
enough? Note that it would allow allow all of the old themes to work as
usual and fixes the troubles with new themes.


Fri, 26 Aug 2005 09:23:47 +0000 : robertDouglass

Nedjo, I tried your most recent patch and it worked well. I haven't
compared approaches, but was happy to get my site up and running with
this *awsome* new feature. I had fun popping the login box into the
footer, or header or content area. This is a whole new dimension of
Drupal excitement.

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