Want to jump ahead? Here’s a list of the sections in this document:
- Meet some Drupal front-end developers
- Learning tips
- Background and prerequisites
- Essential lessons
- Advanced concepts
- Broaden your skills
Meet some Drupal front-end developers
Get to know some people who work with Drupal front-end and themes every day:
Background and prerequisites
Themers are expected to know how to convert static design files into working Drupal themes. The core tasks you’ll work on as a themer are:
- Add regions to a theme
- Apply CSS to a theme
- Override, edit, or create template files in a theme
- Theming forms
- Manipulating variables
In Drupal, the layout of a site is a shared responsibility between a site builder and a themer. Themers are often forced to decide between hard-coding a layout into a template file or using configuration to achieve the results instead. Understanding what tools are available, and what they are capable of, helps when it comes time to make these decisions.
Navigation and lists
Drupal allows us to create static menus and dynamic lists of content using Views. The creation of menus is often completed by the site builder, but there are implications for you as a themer. You should understand where the items in a list come from, how to add new ones, and how to accommodate the fact that the number of items may vary over time.
Images and media
Drupal core can manipulate images (called "image styles") and allow file uploads that can be displayed in various ways. As a themer, you may need to customize how these images and other assets are displayed on-screen, so you may want to familiarize yourself with media management techniques in Drupal.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of creating a new theme, you will want to learn about the advanced concepts necessary to truly make your Drupal site look the way you want it to.
Use the Drupal Console command-line interface to generate boilerplate code to scaffold a Drupal 8 theme, complete with code comments and theming functions from the Examples module.
Broaden your skills
There are many ways to grow your skills and knowledge outside of tutorials. Here are some of our favorite resources for exploring Drupal theming and front-end.
The following Drupalize.Me podcasts may also be of interest to themers.
- What is a Base Theme and When Should I Use One?
- Decoupling Drupal — For those aspiring to front-end development and taking Drupal to the next level.
- Getting Sassy with Chris Eppstein — Chris is the creator of the framework Compass, which is used in conjunction with Sass by many themers.
DrupalCon sessions are a great way to get up to speed on the latest in Drupal development. All DrupalCon sessions are recorded and are available for free on the Drupal Association’s YouTube channel. The videos are also embedded on the session description pages for each DrupalCon, so you can browse developer tracks on the DrupalCon website and find session recordings to watch after the Con.
- DrupalCon — Find links to past and future DrupalCons and session recordings.
Drupal camps, sprints, user groups are great way to connect with other Drupal developers and learn new things.