3 Simple Steps For Designing & Developing Drupal 7 Theme

folder_openDrupal Theme Development
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Drupal is one of the powerful open source content management systems across the world, with Drupal 7 being its latest version. Drupal themes are a great way to enhance Drupal-powered site by setting out appearance & structure as well as adding some extra functionality to the site. Being a highly-customizable platform, Drupal can be easily modified as per the specific requirements. Here are easy-to-follow steps that will take you through developing Drupal 7 theme from very beginning to the finish.

In order to follow the steps, you should be able to understand them and for that you need to be a master of the basics. But, there is no need to worry as with enough enthusiasm, you can learn the concepts, while going through the steps one by one. Before starting with the theme development, you need to have a good understanding of following concepts and you should have clear goals in your mind:

  • Find the answers for these questions, like what is the exact purpose of your site
  • How HTML & CSS can be utilized to make the websites
  • What exactly PHP is and how it can be used to enhance your website
  • What is CMS & how it can be used to empower your site
  • How you can set up a site using Drupal

If you want to develop a Drupal theme quickly and efficiently without any internet related issues, you need to set up a developing environment with a testing server and a code editor program on your computer. It can be done by proper installation of LAMP/WAMP/MAMP stack. Where, “W” stands for Windows, “M” for Mac, “L” for Linux, “A” for Apache, which is a server software, “M” for MySQL, which is a database software & “P” for PHP, which is the server-side script. Also, download an open source code editor.

Steps Through Drupal 7 Theme Development

1. Preparation

There are various ways to start the theme development, either by sketching the layout of home page of your site, design the site using CSS & HTML, establish Drupal to begin theming or understand the web page structure of Drupal and then, convert your static pages to it.

While sketching the layout, you are free to make mistakes and further correct them. Once you are satisfied with your sketch, prepare a final design by considering typography, colors and contrast, make sure that you have added all other visual elements. The advanced methodologies of Sketch To HTML conversion are all enough to reap in exclusive layouts designs for the website. Always remember to keep the layout simple but innovative with minimum use of server-side scripting language (PHP) and client-side scripting (JavaScript) at this initial phase of Drupal 7 theme development.

2. Building Theme Files

The steps, involved in creating theme files are the setting up the theme folder them, then building template files and inserting the process & pre-process functions.

A .info file is created, containing the theme’s purpose along with the information about how it can be used. Now, you need to add a CSS folder and screen-shots into it. Drupal template files are generally used to structure the output of web page. Template files are the files that have a name ending in .php, .tpl, etc., means “PHP template”. In order to understand process functions, you need to have knowledge about how Drupal saves & outputs the data and HTML markup. Basically, these functions allow you to modify the variables available to the templates ,before Drupal CMS makes them ready for use by the templates.

3. Installation

Now, you can install the Drupal theme, establish the required views as well as add the required regions and nodes. Once the theme is installed, you need to install the additional modules to enhance your site’s appearance, security and functionality. Then, add the website content in order to complete your site.

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