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The theming firehose (NB for designers & front-end developers new to Drupal)

Drupal markup in a Wordle

You theme with the mark-up you have, not the mark-up you'd like to have.

That's the essential truth that designers and front-end developers new to Drupal need to understand. You don't get to construct your pages from scratch, building out essentials, never a wasted div, never an extraneous class. No, you have to flip the entire process around. With Drupal you're getting markup shot at you from a firehose, and as a themer you need to sop it all up and make it pretty. Don't spill a drop.

What this means is that, by default, you're spending a lot of time debugging the theme you're building so that it handles all the different configurations, content types, page structures, etc. that the Drupal site is throwing at you.

You have to be braced for it. It can be overwhelming. You can feel like you're drowning. Don't worry. You'll get used to it after a few months. Mostly.

Make friends with Firebug.

Internet Explorer 7, oh dear!

So far, all the buzz is pretty much about IE7's "new" features like the tabbed browsing that other browsers have had for years now, with some mention of the upcoming Firefox 2 release.

But just wait until websites start breaking. Internet Explorer has always required non-web-standard hacks. The net effect of this has been my thumbnail estimate of 30-40% of loss of productivity in the web design field while developers work around Microsoft's "we don't need no stinkin' standards" attitude and break out the duct tape and chewing gum to make sites that work in every other browser work in IE.

IE7 honors some more web standards, but still has its own quirks -- some new ones, apparently.

Let the kvetching begin!

Sometimes a little redesign is necessary

I just went and did it: a little css reboot. I just couldn't take the drab look of this place any more. Really, the old theme was an embarrassment. My apologies are offered in advance to those of you on dial-up for whom this page will take some 40 seconds or so to load fully. The graphics should all be there by the time you finish reading this post -- Evelyn Wood graduates excepted.

The theme is powered by phpTemplate. (I'm still running Drupal 4.6 here.) The photograph is mine, shot in Colorado. There are more where that came from on my photoblog.

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