What is a Drupal Theme?
If you've heard of the open-source CMS (Content Management System) Drupal, you've probably heard the word "theme" or "theming" come up. At their core, Drupal themes are fundamentally HTML. More specifically, Drupal themes are a collection of HTML+PHP template files that are used to determine what a Drupal website looks like.
What are the basic pieces of a Drupal Theme?
In generally, Drupal Themes include templates for:
- The entire site (page.tpl.php)
- Page content (node.tpl.php)
- Blocks (block.tpl.php)
- Comments (comment.tpl.php)
- Users (user-profile.tpl.php)
The Drupal templating system is very flexible which also means it can be hard to get used to. Hiring a professional company to create a Drupal development theme can save time and aggravation, especially to someone who is new to the platform. Contact us today to find out how Portland Drupal company Metal Toad Media can help.
Drupal Theme Regions
The above pieces fit together through regions. A region is essentially an area in a theme that is reserved for a certain type of content. Some regions that are commonly defined include:
- Left Sidebar
- Content Top
- Content Bottom
- Right Sidebar
See the diagram to the right to see how they are typically arranged.
What about ready-made Drupal themes?
If you're not ready for a custom Drupal theme, you can browse some of the readily available ones at the Drupal theme garden (this assumes you have at least a Drupal 6 installation). Ready-made themes can be great for companies on a budget, but they still often take some Drupal expertise to implement. Going with something out-of-the-box can also lead to sites that look "Drupally", which historically has given Drupal a reputation that all sites built with it look the same. This is not the case at all, but it can take significant amounts of theming work to get things looking just right.
What if I want to build my own Drupal Theme?
If you are looking to build your own, we highly recommend starting with the Zen base-theme - it will save a lot of headache in the long run. We've even created an HTML5 Base Theme (Boron), if you feel so inclined.