[development] New Themes for New Drupal

Neil Drumm drumm at delocalizedham.com
Tue Aug 29 18:01:12 UTC 2006

Angela Byron wrote:
> A couple comments...
>> These themes need to be somewhere between "looks like Drupal" and 
>> "clean enough to build off of." What I see here looks like a full 
>> palate competing with the Drupal branding and the themer trying to 
>> find the shortest way to their own color scheme. It does look good, 
>> but too far from bluemarine to be a good default.
> Too far from bluemarine is a *very good thing*!
> a) Bluemarine is a table-based theme. It is 2006. CSS has been around 
> since 1999? For all the cutting-edge web standards that Drupal supports, 
> you would never know it by its default theme.

Yes, it should be tableless, I assumed that would be assumed by anyone 
working on this. I'm primarily concerned with the visual style and could 
care less what div soup makes it.

> b) I don't know if you were around in Vancouver for this discussion, but 
> Matt from WordPress pointed out that WordPress didn't start getting some 
> really nice contributed themes until it started shipping with a nice 
> default theme. Lack of good contributed themes has consistently ranked 
> among the top 10 barriers to entry for Drupal; it's time we addressed 
> the #1 issue impeding this.

I was there, and I've heard it numerous times before since Matt has 
mentioned it to me before.

When I look at WordPress's default, Kubrik, 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Wordpress_main_theme.png, I see 
something relatively plain that I could leave on my site if I were lazy 
(many people have). Customizing the header is all that is needed for a 
good looking site that is mine.

When I look at zen-beach I see
- A header with way too little contrast and and arbitrary wavy gradient 
thing that confuses me.
- Overly contrasting page borders and background. Yellow is a good color 
for highlighting things, not a default background. Yellow also doesn't 
fit with our color, which is blue (specifically, some sort of community 
blue, not to be confused with corporate website blue or WordPress blue :) )
- Headings with the same amount of margin above and below.
- Quite contrasting primary links that flow out of their dark gradient 
and black line prison when I try scaling the font size up and some 
secondary links that seem to have wandered off and are trying to hide in 
the top right.
- A breadcrumb trail that doesn't seem to want to associate itself with 
the current page, but would rather hang out with the global navigation.
- An arbitrary serif font in the submitted by section.

To be positive for a bit.. the rest looks okay for now if I can manage 
to focus on it.

> c) As the drops and zen-beach theme illustrate, Zen allows you to 
> completely re-style the look and feel of the site using only CSS. We're 
> always talking about making Drupal easier to theme. Zen as a default 
> theme would negate the need for designers to know _any_ HTML and PHP. 
> This can only be seen as a good thing.

I'd expect this from any theme trying to get into core.

>> Things you will have a hard time getting past me:
>> - Implementing any more theme functions than we have in the core 
>> themes at the moment. (see http://drupal.org/node/81217#comment-129980)
> As someone who's worked on both the documentation side and the user 
> support side, I actually am for including template.php with the default 
> theme and including a few examples of overrides in it. Writing 
> documentation and explaining to end users how the template.php file 
> works is really challenging when there's no basis in core on how to use 
> them -- people learn best by taking an example and modifying it to their 
> needs.

One of our themes might have this, but I'd discourage it from being the 
default. I'm interested in us improving default themeable functions 
instead of overriding them with a default theme.

Neil Drumm

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