[development] New Themes for New Drupal

Kristjan Jansen kristjan.jansen at gmail.com
Wed Aug 30 12:53:56 UTC 2006

I think there is a lot of noise and less structure on discussion what
are Bluemarine's strenghts and weaknesses.

What I have got so far are following problem areas

1) Underlying xhtml+css structure. This surely needs to be rebuilt
from ground-up and there are already several initiatives, creatings a
strong reference platform for all themers. I'd like to add a Sandbox
initiative to the mix (http://www.plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox/ , down
in the time of writing +  a related blog post from our friend
factoryjoe http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2006/08/06/wordpress-makes-a-move-towards-hatom-gets-upgrades/).
And there are also microformats and hAtom looming in the horizon.

2) the overall graphical styling of Bluemarine. Most of the concerns
has the overall styling (just an areas filled with color), too plain
header, no tab support in header, not enough styling for blocks, bad
separation of blocks etc).

Area (1) should be mostly of Drupal code/xhtml/css- wizards concern,
it just seems to need more consolitation and aggregation of the
efforts. And we have some true professionals on board for this are,
yay. If there is no (2) ready for the time (1), apply Bluemarine or
his sibling for transition process.

Area (2) is the weak spot, so far it seems hard to seduce even the
smalltime-celebrity-designers on board. There are lot of stuff we
could do to though. Some quick ideas to improve the process of VISUAL

- Have a CSS development reference sandbox to design against to and
automatic links generated in the issue tracker that pass the attached
CSS file to the reference theme sandbox. Example

 #12 Here's my take
 Attachment: drupal.org/files/take1.css
 Test it: http:themesandbox.drupal.org/?css=drupal/org/files/take1.css

(this is similar to proposed for auto-patching code sandboxes but
luckily less harmful)

This would speed up the process of visual comparision and peer
contributions "look, I took yr #11 patch and changed the header to
red, what do you think". Also, combining it with some handy css tools
like Firefox Web Developer Toolbar, one could open a sandbox theme in
his browser, whip up a custom CSS, and upload it do Drupal issue
queue, having automatic link against the sandbox.

- have automatic thumbnails of PNGs that are attached on issue followups

- You could look at design as the branching decision tree. What have
happened so far with all the these zen-themes discussion and bustling
emotions is that only the end result is presented to the review. The
decision tree is hidden and it's often impossible for outsiders to
understand why certain path was taken, why certaing decor elements
were chosen, where from the inconcistency originally came from etc. If
the reviewers could have a glimpse to the ealier part of the process,
lot of extra work and redoing would have been avoided.

- write the step by step design tutorials how to move from barebone
sandbox to a completed theme (ber has worked on this). If you take
your design process properly in pieces you will see that it is not
subconcious artsy process only the chosen ones could do.

There are just golden rules that makes your life easier. There are
tried and readability tested body font configurations, 1-3 main
stylings for h2, a white, light or dark header, lot of reference color
schemes that always work
http://www.colorschemer.com/schemes/index.php. Even with no bitmap
graphics elements you could come up with good-looking theme if you
just follow the rules.

- collect the examples that we like. Not only the best of blog design
(like 9rules.com sisters) but also more hard-working themes such as
37signals products and it's many clones, number-crunchers like
http://www.blinksale.com/learn/ etc etc.

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