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Evaluating Base Themes
                          @emmajanedotnet
 12-8-20
(handout is already uploaded to the session page on the conference site)
Emma is an author and Drupal trainer.




                                  that’s my company
                     that’s me!   www.designtotheme.com
Agenda

1. Define “base theme”.
2. Evaluate base themes.
3. Reframe the conversation about “themes” in Drupal.
Base themes are misunderstood.
Define “base”
Define “base”
Define “theme”
Base + Theme
The theme system enables us to override
what is provided.
There are 3 different kinds of base themes.
Adapt Drupal core.

●   Theme developers strive to improve Drupal core’s markup
    and template variables.
●   Base themes include: Zen, Boron, Mothership.
Adapting is like renovating a house.
Adopt non-Drupal frameworks into Drupal.

●   Typically used for grid frameworks but always has an
    external-from-Drupal code “library”.
●   Base themes include: NineSixty, Square Grid, Blueprint.
Adopting is like buying a house.
Annex components into a new mega system.

●   Incorporates “all the things”.
●   Requires you to install at least one module.
●   Base themes include: AdaptiveTheme, Fusion, Omega.
The Annex is a neighbourhood in Toronto.
               source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Annex;
                                         Photographer: simonp
A base theme should not design your site.
For now, ignore all other work flows.
These differences tell us interesting things.
Core is flexible.
Core is broken.




                  Source: http://www.diesoft.net/blog/2012/04/10/first-aid-drupal
What about me? Where do I start?




            Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9333548@N04/6868176493/
Define your personal base camp.
Teaching (base) themes
There is no fixed criteria to evaluate base themes.

  ●   # of installs                    ●   “cache-able”
  ●   lines of comments vs. lines of
      code
                                       ●   performance
  ●   buzzword compliance
                                       ●   security
  ●   in-code documentation
  ●   ease of installation
  ●   UI help text
  ●   online documentation
  ●   support (community +
      professional)
Make yourself a comparison chart.
“A base theme should have nothing left
to take away.”
A quote from
●   Leonardo da Vinci
●   Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
●   John Albin Wilkins
Base Themes According to Their Developers

Hello!
At DrupalCon Munich I'm giving a talk on base themes.
As part of the presentation I'd like to highlight a few base
themes. I'd like to include an honest evaluation of what the
*developers* of the base theme think of their own theme's
strengths and weaknesses. I'd love it if you'd take part!
Please email me back the answers to the following questions.
Each answer should be not more than 140 characters. I will
trim *at* 140 characters. ;)
Base themes contacted

Mothership              Genesis
Zen                     Framework
NineSixty               Arctica
Blueprint               Layout Studio
Square Grid Theme       Detamo
Fusion
Omega
AdaptiveTheme
Four categories

1. Your theme in a nutshell.
2. Best feature.
3. Worst thing about your base theme.
4. Notable difference from other themes.
drupal.org/project/zen

1. Zen is a Sass/Compass-powered, SMACSS-lovin’, drush-buildable
   HTML5 Drupal starter theme with a responsive, mobile-first grid
   design.
2. All of Zen's components are concerned with performance: lean
   HTML5 markup, SMACSS-style CSS rules and organization, and light-
   weight PHP.
3. Its total lack of omniscience. If you don't know CSS well, Zen won't
   be able to build your sub-theme for you.
4. Zen gives you the Sass tools to easily build lean, custom designs
   with any responsive layout imaginable, not a giant configuration
   form.
drupal.org/project/mothership

1. Cleans up the fucking markup & gimme wtf i want
2. looks like stark & you have to know wtf you doing ;)
3. you get to swear like a pirate & wear little white sailor hats
drupal.org/project/detamo

1. Detamo is a responsive base theme featuring 3 separate grids.
   Grids are fluid; based on a 960px desktop, a 640px tablet and a
   320px Mobile.
2. It's easy use Detamo to make an existing 960-based theme
   responsive. Just add the grid classes for tablet and mobile to your
   template.
3. It won't appeal to those who don't like (non-semantic) grid classes.
   (And you'll have them for the desktop, tablet and mobile grids).
4. The responsive layout is in the template file so you don't need to
   write css to control the layout.
drupal.org/project/ninesixty

1. NineSixty is a Drupal implementation of the 960 Grid System.
   It's a CSS framework rather than a true "base theme."
2. It's very lightweight, flexible, and makes no assumptions
   about the look and feel.
3. With the rise of Sass/Compass and responsive design, the
   960 Grid System is no longer the best starting point for grid-
   based design.
4. As a CSS framework, it can be "stacked" with other
   frameworks or base themes. Or you can simply copy the
   grid CSS file int your theme.
drupal.org/project/squaregrid

1. A lightweight base theme leveraging The Square Grid
   thesquaregrid.com framework for rapid, lightweight theming.
2. Square Grid is lightweight and flexible, and otherwise stays out of
   your way. A child theme could be done in 2-400 lines of
   (commented) CSS.
3. Lightweight = few configurable settings. If themer wants to
   change layouts, comfort w light php in template.php and .tpl files
   is needed.
4. This is not a theme that tries to make your coffee. Settings are
   minimal. The power is in the Square Grid css.

                                                        exactly 140 chars
drupal.org/project/blueprint

Thanks for contacting me about Blueprint. Unfortunately at this point, I
will have to back down from this opportunity to answer questions about
Blueprint. Since I took over the development, my interests have moved
beyond what Blueprint provides and I am no longer able to maintain or
develop it. At this time, I would, however, love to find another developer
who can take over the theme and really make it shine.


Blueprint is great, but as I have started to us responsive design
techniques in my designs, I have moved beyond the limits of blueprint
and begun using SCSS.
drupal.org/project/adaptivetheme

1. Responsive, HTML5, uses responsive plugins to support Panels, Panelizer
   and Display Suite, uses SASS, normalize, focus on accessibility
2. Tools for mobile: Browscap integration, responsive JS, responsive
   layout, integration with Panels & Display Suite, extensive theme settings
3. Layout plugins more complex than standard Panels plugins, necessity to
   abstract from Drupal to gain performance, undocumented Easter
   eggs ;)
4. Pluggable layout system, Responsive JavaScript, Browscap integration
   (move blocks, unset regions, use $is_mobile to test for mobile context)




                                                             exactly 140 chars
drupal.org/project/omega

1. Base theme for developing mobile friendly themes.
   Currently 3rd highest used theme on Drupal.org
2. Responsive out of the box, adapting to today's and
   tomorrow's devices.
3. That it fails to make my coffee or clean my house.
4. One of the most passionate communities I've ever
   seen surround Omega, and support the
   documentation and improvement of the code base.
   It's a [trimmed at 140]
And the winner is...
Mummy lied.
                               No one gets to
                               win at base
                               themes.




Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/binusarina/3889528397/
Seriously.
“Once the issue is framed,
 if you accept the framing,
 if you accept the language,
 it's all over.”
 George Lakoff.
Putting a hat on the moose
doesn’t mean it’s suddenly not a moose.
insert. rant. here.
We know
there’s a
problem.
Eaton told
us last year
Fixing themes will take
more than a single step.
Work is happening in Drupal 8
to fix the theme system.


           (stand up if you’re working on this)


  (if you’re not standing, please clap for those who are)
The Theming Pledge.

I promise to help make theming suck less rock in Drupal 8.
“Fix it in 8” Sessions to Attend at DrupalCon.

●   Designer-friendly theme system in D8
    Tuesday; 17:00-18:00 in the (Sheraton) Asam room.
    http://munich2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/designer-friendly-theme-system-drupal-8

●   A new theme layer in D8
    Wednesday; 15:45-16:45 in the (Westin) Barcelona room.
    http://munich2012.drupal.org/content/new-theme-layer-drupal-8
03

@emmajanedotnet
emma@designtotheme.com
http://drupal.org/user/1773


Now, go fill out the freaking form...bitte. :)
   http://munich2012.drupal.org/program

                  danke

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Evaluating Base Themes

  • 1. Evaluating Base Themes @emmajanedotnet 12-8-20 (handout is already uploaded to the session page on the conference site)
  • 2. Emma is an author and Drupal trainer. that’s my company that’s me! www.designtotheme.com
  • 3. Agenda 1. Define “base theme”. 2. Evaluate base themes. 3. Reframe the conversation about “themes” in Drupal.
  • 4. Base themes are misunderstood.
  • 8.
  • 10. The theme system enables us to override what is provided.
  • 11. There are 3 different kinds of base themes.
  • 12. Adapt Drupal core. ● Theme developers strive to improve Drupal core’s markup and template variables. ● Base themes include: Zen, Boron, Mothership.
  • 13. Adapting is like renovating a house.
  • 14. Adopt non-Drupal frameworks into Drupal. ● Typically used for grid frameworks but always has an external-from-Drupal code “library”. ● Base themes include: NineSixty, Square Grid, Blueprint.
  • 15. Adopting is like buying a house.
  • 16. Annex components into a new mega system. ● Incorporates “all the things”. ● Requires you to install at least one module. ● Base themes include: AdaptiveTheme, Fusion, Omega.
  • 17. The Annex is a neighbourhood in Toronto. source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Annex; Photographer: simonp
  • 18. A base theme should not design your site.
  • 19. For now, ignore all other work flows.
  • 20. These differences tell us interesting things.
  • 22. Core is broken. Source: http://www.diesoft.net/blog/2012/04/10/first-aid-drupal
  • 23. What about me? Where do I start? Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9333548@N04/6868176493/
  • 24. Define your personal base camp.
  • 26. There is no fixed criteria to evaluate base themes. ● # of installs ● “cache-able” ● lines of comments vs. lines of code ● performance ● buzzword compliance ● security ● in-code documentation ● ease of installation ● UI help text ● online documentation ● support (community + professional)
  • 27. Make yourself a comparison chart.
  • 28. “A base theme should have nothing left to take away.” A quote from ● Leonardo da Vinci ● Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ● John Albin Wilkins
  • 29. Base Themes According to Their Developers Hello! At DrupalCon Munich I'm giving a talk on base themes. As part of the presentation I'd like to highlight a few base themes. I'd like to include an honest evaluation of what the *developers* of the base theme think of their own theme's strengths and weaknesses. I'd love it if you'd take part! Please email me back the answers to the following questions. Each answer should be not more than 140 characters. I will trim *at* 140 characters. ;)
  • 30. Base themes contacted Mothership Genesis Zen Framework NineSixty Arctica Blueprint Layout Studio Square Grid Theme Detamo Fusion Omega AdaptiveTheme
  • 31. Four categories 1. Your theme in a nutshell. 2. Best feature. 3. Worst thing about your base theme. 4. Notable difference from other themes.
  • 32. drupal.org/project/zen 1. Zen is a Sass/Compass-powered, SMACSS-lovin’, drush-buildable HTML5 Drupal starter theme with a responsive, mobile-first grid design. 2. All of Zen's components are concerned with performance: lean HTML5 markup, SMACSS-style CSS rules and organization, and light- weight PHP. 3. Its total lack of omniscience. If you don't know CSS well, Zen won't be able to build your sub-theme for you. 4. Zen gives you the Sass tools to easily build lean, custom designs with any responsive layout imaginable, not a giant configuration form.
  • 33. drupal.org/project/mothership 1. Cleans up the fucking markup & gimme wtf i want 2. looks like stark & you have to know wtf you doing ;) 3. you get to swear like a pirate & wear little white sailor hats
  • 34. drupal.org/project/detamo 1. Detamo is a responsive base theme featuring 3 separate grids. Grids are fluid; based on a 960px desktop, a 640px tablet and a 320px Mobile. 2. It's easy use Detamo to make an existing 960-based theme responsive. Just add the grid classes for tablet and mobile to your template. 3. It won't appeal to those who don't like (non-semantic) grid classes. (And you'll have them for the desktop, tablet and mobile grids). 4. The responsive layout is in the template file so you don't need to write css to control the layout.
  • 35. drupal.org/project/ninesixty 1. NineSixty is a Drupal implementation of the 960 Grid System. It's a CSS framework rather than a true "base theme." 2. It's very lightweight, flexible, and makes no assumptions about the look and feel. 3. With the rise of Sass/Compass and responsive design, the 960 Grid System is no longer the best starting point for grid- based design. 4. As a CSS framework, it can be "stacked" with other frameworks or base themes. Or you can simply copy the grid CSS file int your theme.
  • 36. drupal.org/project/squaregrid 1. A lightweight base theme leveraging The Square Grid thesquaregrid.com framework for rapid, lightweight theming. 2. Square Grid is lightweight and flexible, and otherwise stays out of your way. A child theme could be done in 2-400 lines of (commented) CSS. 3. Lightweight = few configurable settings. If themer wants to change layouts, comfort w light php in template.php and .tpl files is needed. 4. This is not a theme that tries to make your coffee. Settings are minimal. The power is in the Square Grid css. exactly 140 chars
  • 37. drupal.org/project/blueprint Thanks for contacting me about Blueprint. Unfortunately at this point, I will have to back down from this opportunity to answer questions about Blueprint. Since I took over the development, my interests have moved beyond what Blueprint provides and I am no longer able to maintain or develop it. At this time, I would, however, love to find another developer who can take over the theme and really make it shine. Blueprint is great, but as I have started to us responsive design techniques in my designs, I have moved beyond the limits of blueprint and begun using SCSS.
  • 38. drupal.org/project/adaptivetheme 1. Responsive, HTML5, uses responsive plugins to support Panels, Panelizer and Display Suite, uses SASS, normalize, focus on accessibility 2. Tools for mobile: Browscap integration, responsive JS, responsive layout, integration with Panels & Display Suite, extensive theme settings 3. Layout plugins more complex than standard Panels plugins, necessity to abstract from Drupal to gain performance, undocumented Easter eggs ;) 4. Pluggable layout system, Responsive JavaScript, Browscap integration (move blocks, unset regions, use $is_mobile to test for mobile context) exactly 140 chars
  • 39. drupal.org/project/omega 1. Base theme for developing mobile friendly themes. Currently 3rd highest used theme on Drupal.org 2. Responsive out of the box, adapting to today's and tomorrow's devices. 3. That it fails to make my coffee or clean my house. 4. One of the most passionate communities I've ever seen surround Omega, and support the documentation and improvement of the code base. It's a [trimmed at 140]
  • 40.
  • 41. And the winner is...
  • 42. Mummy lied. No one gets to win at base themes. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/binusarina/3889528397/
  • 44.
  • 45. “Once the issue is framed, if you accept the framing, if you accept the language, it's all over.” George Lakoff.
  • 46. Putting a hat on the moose doesn’t mean it’s suddenly not a moose.
  • 50. Fixing themes will take more than a single step.
  • 51. Work is happening in Drupal 8 to fix the theme system. (stand up if you’re working on this) (if you’re not standing, please clap for those who are)
  • 52. The Theming Pledge. I promise to help make theming suck less rock in Drupal 8.
  • 53. “Fix it in 8” Sessions to Attend at DrupalCon. ● Designer-friendly theme system in D8 Tuesday; 17:00-18:00 in the (Sheraton) Asam room. http://munich2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/designer-friendly-theme-system-drupal-8 ● A new theme layer in D8 Wednesday; 15:45-16:45 in the (Westin) Barcelona room. http://munich2012.drupal.org/content/new-theme-layer-drupal-8
  • 54. 03 @emmajanedotnet emma@designtotheme.com http://drupal.org/user/1773 Now, go fill out the freaking form...bitte. :) http://munich2012.drupal.org/program danke