Designing with Drupal

This summer I’ve been interning in the HCDE department, working on a redesign of our website along with HCDE department Communications Manager Anne Hilton, and HCDE graduate student Mike Sinkula.

Our website uses the content management system, Drupal, and so I have had to learn all about using that.

Some background information: Drupal is a content management system (WordPress is another example of a content management system). This means that it’s very useful if you want to have multiple people editing the same website. It allows different users to log in to the website and change things without having to know or go through code.

Now, the fun part is that even though Drupal comes with some basic themes for your website, you can code your own themes yourself. To do this, you basically write a few key files that Drupal will use to create a site. It’s a pretty flexible process. There are several files you can include, but only the <your theme>.info file is necessary. In this file you state the name of your theme, as well as main areas for Drupal to insert content. All this is done with php, so if you want to get fancy, you can even specify what goes where under different circumstances using php logic. Drupal also has some special php functions you can use.

Themeing Drupal is more fully explained in this useful tutorial.

Mr. Sinkula has also very usefully documented a Drupal themeing project that he did, which can be found here.

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