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CivicActions themers Trevor Twining and Bevan Rudge will help novice themers get up the learning curve and on their way to creating great, professional looking sites by demonstrating advanced theming tools, tips and techniques.

The session will have a lot of time of for Q&A and include code samples and examples to take home. Spot prize; copies of "Drupal 6 Themes" by Ric Shreeves.


Trevor Twining



To get the most out of the session attendees should;

  • have previously created or customized a Drupal theme
  • be able to write HTML and CSS
  • have worked with template (*.tpl.php) files
  • be familiar with basics of PHP; functions, arrays and assignment (e.g. $vars['foo'] = 'bar')


  • Anatomy of a theme
  • Overriding
  • Sub-theming
  • The theme registry
  • Theme settings
  • Forms
  • Code-bloat
  • Using modules for theming
  • Resources that help you theme faster
  • Useful core CSS styles
  • Lots of time for questions & answers
  • Free book give-away; "Drupal 6 Themes" by Ric Shreeves


Attendees will learn how to;

  • use all the files in a theme
  • make better theming choices
  • override template files in specific contexts
  • use advanced techniques of tools to develop, debug and find specific details
  • make themes configurable
  • theme forms
  • keep themes compact and easy to manage
  • take advantage of Drupal 6's sub-theming features
  • use the more flexible hooks available to modules to do theming
  • use Zen and the Themer package to reduce amount of theming required
  • take advantage of existing styles to solve common problems




I think I have a solution for the question that was asked at the session: "Is there a way to test the views template files when you're using a separate admin theme?" This was asked in reference to using sub-themes.

Would it work if you made a parent theme that contained just the views template files, and had both your live theme and your admin theme use that same parent theme?

This is a nice idea and good in theory. I haven't actually tried it, but I think in practice it would break your admin theme. By separating out your changes into yet another subtheme you might be able to deal with the issues a little better, however you will still need to hack/fork your admin theme. (Assuming your using rootcandy or another contrib admin theme). This is what I tried to communicate in the session, but didn't do very clearly.

This is almost equivalent to hacking Drupal core. Don't do it. Remember, every time you hack core or contrib, a kitten dies. There are many good reasons, but beyond the scope of our presentation and this comment.

The best way to do this that occurs to me is to do your vies theming in a module. There is a bit of learning overhead for this, especially if you've never done module development. I'd like to include a framework to facilitate this for themers in the viewsthemer.module in the future.

There are a few slides on theming with module development that we didn't use in the session. See

What's the URL for the slides?

Sorry for my mistake here with the URL to access the slideshow. Here is the URL;