Drupal Posts

Aventura Now Free on GitHub

Posted: January 13, 2014

Update: Aventura is now available for free on GitHub. Read below for the original write up on what is included with the installation profile and theme. If you don't use Git, you can download the zip file directly.

I'm happy to announce the latest addition to my packaged theme collection, Aventura. Featuring a full screen hero image, Aventura is the perfect Drupal theme for sites that need to make a powerful first impression. What follows is a quick overview of how Aventura was put together so you can more easily get started customizing it to your heart's content. If you want to check out Aventura while reading through this guide, the demo site is up and running, so give it a look!

Omega vs. Zen - Which Base Theme Should You Choose?

Posted: December 30, 2013

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the Omega base theme and have used it in many of my projects. As I’ve gotten more familiar with it, I’ve noticed it bears a striking resemblance to the latest release of Zen.

For those of you not familiar with Drupal base themes, Zen has long been the most popular. I thought I’d take a look at the two of these themes and see how they really match up and which one might be the better choice for a given project.

Drupal for Small Organizations

Posted: December 8, 2013

Lately there has been a lot of talk about Drupal for large enterprises, but what about using Drupal in smaller organizations? When considering any content management system, it’s not really a question of how many employees you have or your annual revenues, but the requirements you have for managing your content.

Having worked on a lot of projects for small companies and non-profits, I’ve found that Drupal is often a great choice, but it can be really tough for non-technical folks to sort out all the pros and cons of the many available CMS platforms.

What follows below is a list of some of the features that set Drupal apart and can be very useful for organizations of all sizes. If you're considering which CMS platform to use for your next project, weighing the value of these features will help you determine if Drupal will be the best fit.

Getting Started with Omega 4

Posted: September 18, 2013

In a previous post, we took a look at some of the major changes with the Omega 4 base theme. This time around we’re going to get our hands dirty and actually start using this powerful set of tools for Drupal theme development.

Before we get too far along, we need to get clear on a few major points. Omega 4 is a really big change in the way many have been working with Omega theme in the past. It’s now much more akin to the Zen base theme (heck, you can even use Zen grids in your themes without much fuss) and it requires the skills of a front-end dev to use to its full potential.

The beginner-friendly UI layout tools are gone. Setting up a “best practice” development environment may also be a bit of a speed bump. So the first step in using Omega as intended, is to get your workspace set up with the tools you’re going to need.

Omega 4 Starter Kit

Posted: August 27, 2013

I've been playing around with Omega 4 lately and I've put together a starter kit that I'd like to share (static demo site). As with most things Drupal, there are a lot of different ways to to achieve a particular outcome, and working with Omega theme is no exception.

A Preview of Omega 4

Posted: August 15, 2013

Recently the Omega 4 base theme, despite its beta status, has been declared ready for production use. Since I’ve always been a big fan of Omega, I thought I’d write up an overview and share a few observations.

First, let me say that I really like the changes. Omega 4 is a significant improvement on Omega 3 and over the course of this post I’ll explain why I think this is the case. That said, there are major changes that some may find challenging.

Omega has been known for providing a powerful set of tools that could be easily used by non-technical site builders. It wasn’t necessary to be a front-end developer in order to get a lot of value from Omega. Things have changed.

Drupal 7 Theming - A Practical Example

Posted: August 12, 2013

Last time in the Learning Drupal series, I provided an overview of theming in Drupal 7. In this post we're going to dig a bit more deeply and look at a practical example of how theming in Drupal 7 works. I'll also provide a few additional resources you can explore to help build your Drupal theming skills.

To reflect back for a moment on the last post, remember that web pages generated by Drupal are comprised of template files. These templates are provided either by Drupal, a contributed module or by a base theme - or by you if you write the template files yourself.

These templates are simply pieces of the final web page and are nested one inside the other as Drupal stitches them together to be returned to the browser. The number and type of templates included in a particular page depends on the content. For example, if your page contains a view, then templates from the Views module will be included and will be available to be overridden in your theme.

An Overview of Drupal Taxonomy

Posted: June 12, 2013

In this lesson we're going to talk about taxonomy. In my experience it's another one of those things in Drupal that uses unfortunate terminology and ends up confusing new users. But the truth is, taxonomy is pretty simple to get your head around and will be a huge help in your site building efforts.

We're going to break this topic down by first explaining the concepts. Next we'll take a brief tour of where Drupal keeps all the knobs and switches for managing taxonomy and then we'll wrap it up by discussing some very useful modules that extend the built-in functionality of the Taxonomy module.

Advanced Views: Concepts and Resources

Posted: May 28, 2013

Although Views is one of the most useful Drupal modules, it's also one of the most complex. As I started thinking about how to discuss the advanced features of this module, I realized that simply cranking out another narrowly focused tutorial wasn't really going to be the best approach.

What we're going to do instead is talk about a couple of the key concepts - basically get some important vocabulary straight - and then I'm going to provide you with a curated list of some of the very best advanced Views tutorials I've come across.

Learning to Work with Views

Posted: May 15, 2013

In this lesson we're going to talk about what is possibly the most useful Drupal site building module of them all - Views. If you're coming from a WordPress or Joomla background, you won't have experienced anything quite like it. Not only does Views allow you to easily build queries on your site's content, but it gives an amazing degree of control over the display of those query results.

We're going to begin by creating a very basic view just to get acquainted with the interface and some of the settings we'll be using the most often. If you've been following along and are using my free installation profile, then everything you'll need is ready to go. If you're using your own site, make sure you have Views installed along with some content you can work with. If you have a fresh install of Drupal, the Devel module is great for generating dummy content.