Site Layouts and Templates for Neo

Matt Barton's picture

I spoke recently to Charlie Lowe, doc director for the Drupal Project, about customizing the look and layout of this site. There is a bit of confusion here because of upcoming Drupal developments. Apparently, 4.6 uses something called xtemplate engine, but the new version (4.7) will use PHPTemplate. Apparently, PHPTemplate is much more powerful and will let us do some pretty wild things, such as easily grab stuff out of the databases for use with the theme. I looked at some of these new templates, and they are definitely more visually impressive than the one we have now.

One cool thing I thought about would be creating a module that would show us all the high scores from those flash games. We could also use this tool for displaying the matrix.

Anyway, I will likely need Bill to set me up with a cpanel account so I can start looking underneath the hood. I'm not even sure what version of Drupal we're currently running. I downloaded a sample PHPTemplate theme and studied the components. I'm no master at this stuff, but here goes:

* layout.css: Basic layout choices, such as the position and size of sidebars.
* modules.css: Same as above, but for modules. This will be important if we want to do things like change the look or layout of the forums.
* style.css: General style choices (fonts, font sizes, graphics for bullets and headings, paragraphs, etc.)
* template.php: PHP coding for the site layout (probaby won't need to touch)
* marvin_2k.theme: Much of this is in PHP, which I am able to read at a very basic level. Apparently, this is where the dynamic stuff happens, such as what to draw out of the database for the modules on the side. I don't see any reason why we should monkey with this one unless we want to go far beyond aesthetic changes.

There are two directories as well: images and templates. The templates directory has a header and node template. The header file here contains the line for the logo.png, so if we want to reposition the graphic, this would be the one to change.

It seems to me that unless we want to make drastic changes to the content generation of the pages, we probably don't need to mess with anything but the top three .css files. Specifically, style.css is the main one. We can easily do things like place graphics and adjust colors without having to go beyond this file.

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Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Drupal Pages

This page details how to use the PHPTemplate engine to create new themes. Again, this may be more than we need.

From what I was able to find on the Drupal page, the easiest way to go about this is just take an existing theme that looks close to what we want, then tweak it. Does anyone have any ideas about what the new site should look like?

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
If we could do something

If we could do something like the current Website, where we can model the design like a console or computer, that would be neat. Otherwise, clean and simple (and the menus on the left, not the right ;-) ), as the "flash" will be in the articles with lots of photos there.
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Bill Loguidice - Armchair Arcade Co-Founder and Editor
www.billandchristina.com (includes Videogame and Computer Collection)
www.mythcore.com (creative development company)

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Mat Tschirgi (not verified)
I prefer the menus on the

I prefer the menus on the right for some odd reason. Certainly prefer the changed order of the different options-- having all the comments on top was a bit much, initially.

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
E-mail for the cpanel user

E-mail for the cpanel user name/password. I don't think this site is secure yet.
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Bill Loguidice - Armchair Arcade Co-Founder and Editor
www.billandchristina.com (includes Videogame and Computer Collection)
www.mythcore.com (creative development company)

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