[drupal-devel] drupal.css, again (still)

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Thu May 19 04:02:53 UTC 2005

I obviously have to throw my 8 cents into the mix, since I feel like
I've been one of the most consistent advocates of dispensing with
drupal.css altogether. In fact, in the rewrites I'm doing of
Democratica (renaming to Groundswell I think), SpreadFirefox (renaming
as SpreadSpread) and Lincoln's Revenge (same name...), I'm regexing
drupal.css out entirely. It may mean that I have to copy over a bunch
of styles from drupal.css, but at least I'll know why they're there
and who put them there.

That said, I think we need in general a more rational approach to
styles, classes, IDs, xhtml standards across Drupal. We're at a point
now where a lot of work could stand to be done on the quality of XHTML
output such that even without a drupal.css file, the system would
still be usable and adequately attractive, in Netscape 3 or mobile
phone terms.

Additionally, I'm running up against severe limitations in available
themeable functions and can't do the kind of UI improvements that I
feel I should be able to because not enough "themability" has been
"bubbled up" to the theme layer. I have some 25 themeable functions in
my theme overhaul and I've barely scratched the surface of what I
*want* to be able to do.

But, to get back to the topic at hand here, we need to think on this
topic for just a moment longer and look at why drupal.css is such a
pain in the ass and why it continues to be forced on themers.

The points raised about usability, to my thinking, don't hold up.
Besides the weird floated admin boxes, I don't know where drupal.css 
makes the standard xhtml UI more "usable", especially if you rip out
the module-specific stuff. Additionally and as such, this really comes
back to the integrated admin UI issue. Given that, it seems like we
ought make drupal.css optional for themers and begin work on the
Drupal admin UI theme. It seems like drupal.css should really handle
drupal-specific UIs -- the stuff that themers probably don't care to
touch, and I posit that those UIs are the ones under the /admin path.

We decided to tackle this at DrupalCon and now that the drupal.css
discussion has come up again, let's really address the source of the
problem: Drupal's admin UI is complex, inconsistent and annoying to
theme... It's time to work on that problem and leave theming the
front-end to the themers and stop getting in their way.

Let the eggs fly. ;)


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