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    • CommentAuthoreuropemike
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2007
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    If you have designed for Drupal I am interested in speaking with you. We are launching a network of travel sites on the Drupal CMS, which will include Rome.com, Dublin.com, Madrid.com and more. We have a logo and are now considering how to build beautiful travel sites that reflect the cities.

    Please send resume and work samples to mike at world dot com
  1.  permalink
    Be careful. Implementing designs on a Drupal powered website is like turning a battleship--time consuming and an excessive amount of effort for relatively small gains. Drupal really isn't a CMS, it's a development platform (with its own methodology) upon which a giant beast of a CMS can be constructed.
    • CommentAuthorneemtree
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2007
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    I am so excited to see Drupal on a designer oriented forum! More on Drupal theming for designers.

    @adjustafresh, I politely disagree with your Drupal descriptions. Its very much a CMS (a winner at that). And its got all the WYSIWYG editor, point and click admin, type of CMS yummness. I can get pretty verbose about why its a great blogging/cms-ing system.

    @europemike, we create Drupal themes from PSDs/images. So send your mockups our way if you've got designs to Drupalify.
  2.  permalink
    "neemtree" - you obviously have a business agenda here that ties directly into Drupal; I can respect that, but it clearly biases your opinion. Not to nit pick, but Drupal is a software platform upon which a CMS can be built. This is a direct quote from the Drupal website:
    The built-in functionality, combined with dozens of freely available add-on modules, will enable features such as: Content Management Systems...

    Drupal's code is bloated and redundant. Anyone considering its use should understand that there is a steep learning curve. It's not a great blogging system. If someone wants a blog they should use blogging software. Using Drupal for a blog is like killing a fly with a sledgehammer.

    That being said, Drupal is a very robust, feature-rich platform, upon which experienced developers can create powerful websites. Be aware that the default Drupal user experience stinks, and a great deal of work must be done to simplify the UI and publishing workflow.

    That's my completely unbiased opinion after working closely with Drupal on two very challenging projects over the course of the year.
  3.  permalink
    +1 w/ AdjustaFresh: "time consuming and an excessive amount of effort for relatively small gains."

    I have never worked with open source CMS. However, I had followed and read the IBM's developerWorks' series, "Using open source software to design, develop and deploy collaborative web site". The Project Overview and Project Implementation are good reading to understand how complex and time consuming it can be when working with Drupal and AMP stuff.
  4.  permalink
    Every GPL CMS or any other application at this point I came around or used it past has the same story.
    Badly writen, security problems bugs thats always need to be patch.
    I can't complain I make money on it fixing stuff for the people.

    Also the idea of Open source is good in general but in reality it creates more problems and frustration.

    Cheers, DS
    • CommentAuthorneemtree
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007 edited
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    Drupal desperately needs some designer love! And as a Drupal service provider its in my best interest to dispel any misinformation regarding its use.

    Not sure where the quote came from, but its not from http://drupal.org. Although, Drupal's extensible architecture allowing for easy plugin development might explain why it might be confused with a framework. Its a CMS, with no coding knowledge required for either admin or general use.

    With Drupal 6 around the corner, the core developers have tried to make designers lives easier in that release. Check it if you're interested. In a few quick versions, Drupal is starting to attract folks outside the geekery, and with more designer participation that'll just speed up.
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      CommentAuthoradjustafresh
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007 edited
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    Why would I lie? The exact quote can be found here: Second paragraph after the first set of bullet points.

    I can't speak about version 6 as I have no experience with it. Do you deny that currently, the default markup that Drupal creates is bloated, redundant and not semantic? Here's one that is seen frequently on Drupal sites:
    <h2 class="title">
    If you don't understand why that example is bad, you should hang out on this forum, read ALA and Eric Meyer more often.

    How about this little gem:
    <div id="sidebar-left" class="sidebar">
    <div id="block-user-1" class="clear-block block block-user">


    And, talk about inefficiency... Not including inline styles (inline styles?!) there are no less than eight server calls for separate style sheets on your own Drupal-powered website.

    This is the kind of stuff that makes your typical front end developer/designer (XHTML/CSS gurus) sweat. It becomes time consuming and frustrating to sift through multiple style sheets to be able to target a single CSS property in the kind of mess that Drupal barfs onto the screen.

    I know this reads like an absolute rant against Drupal, and it's not meant to be. I just want to make it absolutely clear that it is not a plug & play, easy to use system for your next web project.
  5.  permalink
    A full-fledged construction and theming of a typical client's 10-20 page web site on Drupal is typically a 40 hour effort (a travel network site would certainly be more). Adjustafresh makes a lot of sound points, but his ignorance of Drupal truly shines here, and you should only take his advice as personal frustration.
    there are no less than eight server calls for separate style sheets on your own Drupal-powered website

    CSS pre-processing has been a feature since Drupal 5 (meaning one compressed CSS file is downloaded by the browser). Additionally, one can easily hook into the theming system and remove CSS files. Or, since you control the templates, you control the HEAD element, so you can really setup your CSS as you wish. You do lose some CSS necessary for the admin interface if you take the latter route, but Drupal's core CSS rules are non-specific enough that overwriting them is trivial.
    It becomes time consuming and frustrating to sift through multiple style sheets to be able to target a single CSS property in the kind of mess that Drupal barfs onto the screen.

    First: Firebug. Second, there may be one instance in Drupal where you cannot control the output. To clear up the nasty classes that adjustafresh pointed out above, you truly need only to create two very trivial templates. You can overwrite any front-end code in Drupal. Navigation code, search box code, blocks code, posts code, comments, paging, calendars, and on and on and on.
    I know this reads like an absolute rant against Drupal, and it's not meant to be. I just want to make it absolutely clear that it is not a plug & play, easy to use system for your next web project.

    I honestly do not think "plug & play" is the right approach for a travel portal/network. A content management platform certainly sounds in order.
  6.  permalink
    Hmmmm, my ignorance of Drupal, or the person who constructed the website with a dozen or so style sheet and JavaScript calls in the head? I actually am aware of the fact that the system can be configured to limit such things.

    My annoyance with Drupal is philosophical; it centers around the fact that it takes such great effort to remove all of the superfluous classes, id's and HTML tags in the first place. Wouldn't it make more sense to start by spitting out the least amount of markup possible, and giving developers the ability to add more as needed? Just kill the cruft!

    On a sidenote, PettyRider, you sound like you actually know what you're talking about re. Drupal and might even enjoy working with it. Contact me if you're interested in some possible theming work. The marketing agency where I am employed is involved in a Drupal project that is in need of a good themer.
  7.  permalink
    My accusations of ignorance are not meant to offend, but it sounds like I jumped the gun a little. I do see—and share—your philosophical views about the cruft spit out by Drupal by default. This is largely a problem of the default PHPTemplate engine templates than anything else. It is quite simple to write a base theme that kills the cruft, and then start from that (I believe there is a zen theme that includes all standard templates by default, so one doesn't have to go through the documentation).
  8.  permalink
    An interesting thread, having themed a few sites I would like to add that at first Drupal can be quite daunting. However if you take the time to read the tutorials it is quite developer friendly, by my third site I was able to reduce the unnecessary div, classes and id's to produce something resembling clean HTML.

    I haven't quite got to grips with streamlining the CSS but I am working on it. I have used Drupal for my own site, still a work in progress as I am suffering from own site syndrome but that is another thread LOL. Would be interested in your view of the html code adjusta.
    • CommentAuthorneemtree
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007 edited
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    Drupal has been accused of death by option. On the flipside, the extensibility is quite liberating. Add-on module developers are empowered to create their plugins without having to make assumptions regarding the user's choice of theme, therefore they are able to provide their own CSS (the mechanics of which are improved in Drupal 6). So, multiple CSS/JS calls vs smoother module creation and/or installation? I would opt for the latter. Markkup cruft? Only as per the theme being used. Show us how its done by creating as streamlined a Drupal theme as you like. Plug and play vs CMS? We're getting tangled in semantics here, but add-on modules are literally plugged in, switched on, and play away providing for a customised CMS experience.

    @europemike has made a great selection in choosing Drupal, from a business and technical perspective. With expert designers onboard, I'm interested to see how pretty they'll make it as well.

    What I'm most excited about is that with more designers gaining Drupal exposure, hopefully they'll share their ideas for improvements (and understand how their design perspectives compare with developers' technical perspectives, or users in search of UI+functionality perspectives).
    • CommentAuthorGus
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007 edited
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    adjustafresh said:

    I can't speak about version 6 as I have no experience with it. Do you deny that currently, the default markup that Drupal creates is bloated, redundant and not semantic?

    And, talk about inefficiency... Not including inline styles (inline styles?!) there are no less than eight server calls for separate style sheets on your own Drupal-powered website.


    Not sure if you're joking or if you have just skimmed the Drupal site, but, ever since Drupal 3 (Drupal 5 is the latest version) a few years ago, you could, with one line, remove *all* the default styling from Drupal.

    For the benefit of other designers who stumble across this thread, the default Drupal download comes with default styling (CSS) already defined, but, that can be removed very easily, by just deleting 1 line in the page.tpl.php template file. i.e. the one that says print $styles.

    You can also control the markup in the template files. i.e. you can completely strip down the output to it's raw elements by editing template files, which makes it a CSS designers dream. Either by hand, if you have a fairly rudimentary knowledge of HTML/PHP or onscreen using a GUI via helper modules like contemplate.module which is a designers helper module.

    I've tried many CMS tools, but, the combination of functionality (there are a huge amount of add-on modules you can plug in to your site) and control over the layout ( Drupal allows you to control the markup of every single element that Drupal outputs) was two of the main reasons I chose to work Drupal.

    @adjustafresh: I wouldn't be so blinkered when it comes to Drupal. It is true, that if you just download the default themes/layouts, you will be working with someone else's style.css and numerous other default CSS style sheets, but, as I said earlier, you can remove that very easily.

    The Drupal logic is quite simple....it's assumed that designers don't want to work with default themes/layouts/styles, i.e. they are designers and would probably prefer to design their own. Hence the option to remove all the default styles/markup. While the default themes are for non-designers who just want a powerful site but don't have the design/CSS skills to create their own.

    I'm obviously biassed (with a username like this) but I thought I would throw in an educated post based on experience to give a more accurate view rather than, from what I can gather, comments from someone who just had a quick look at the default and leaped to all sorts of conclusions.

    Advanced DRUPAL Themes (layout files) for CSS Designers

    Incidentally, I notice you referred to a list apart in your comments...the a list apart "holy grail" theme is available for Drupal. http://drupal.org/project/holygrail

    As is more advanced pure css/xhtml themes like the advanced ATCK theme, which allows you to quickly build css and xhtml valid Drupal themes from scratch without having to un-theme an existing Drupal theme to do it.
    http://drupal.org/project/atck

    Or the ZEN starter themes:
    http://drupal.org/project/zen

    I'm not suggesting it's easy, you really need to know CSS very well, but, most designers, especially CSS designers I introduce to Drupal get very excited when you show them how to remove all the CSS defaults and how to control the markup of Drupal output.

    Particularly when it's not enough now to just have a "desktop" layout/CSS, i.e. you generally need a mobile/pda/wireless layout/CSS as well. So, the ability to control Drupals output to a very granular level, combined with the power of the functionality available makes it a designers dream.

    Dub
    • CommentAuthorzerojack
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
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    I found this discussion very interesting. The respectful tone seemed to teeter there for a bit, so I want to add that informed debates like these are really helpful to someone like me. I've only taken enough of a look at Drupal's innards to suspect that it is probably less crufty than Joomla. Thank you all.
  9.  permalink
    "Dub"

    My opinions were formed after toiling for several months with two Drupal projects. Our front end development staff was stymied and frustrated to the point of exhaustion battling with the crufty markup. Not just the markup from the default Drupal installation, but the markup of all of the modules that we were using. We even hired not one, not two, but four separate Drupal consultants to help get things in order... to no avail. In the end, we went about one million dollars over budget, and the project never turned out; I'm not exaggerating - $1,000,000.

    That being said... I'd LOVE to see some of your sample Drupal work to see how well you are controlling the markup and UI.

    Thanks
    • CommentAuthorrnomike
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007
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    Can anyone recommend a CMS program that is compatible with CSS?
    Thanks
    • CommentAuthorGus
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007 edited
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    Not just the markup from the default Drupal installation, but the markup of all of the modules that we were using. We even hired not one, not two, but four separate Drupal consultants to help get things in order... to no avail. In the end, we went about one million dollars over budget, and the project never turned out; I'm not exaggerating - $1,000,000.


    Let me get this straight...you claim that over $1,000,00 was spent on a Drupal project that never happened, going through 4 Drupal consultants and you still don't know a one-line change in the Drupal template removes all the default Drupal styles and how to control all the output markup ???!??

    No offense, but, that's not the sort of thing you brag about.

    Have you ever heard the expression "Don't blame the tool for the hand that holds it "?

    I'd LOVE to see some of your sample Drupal work to see how well you are controlling the markup and UI.


    I'm not a CSS designer, I'm still learning, so I'd prefer not to get into a CSS/Markup p-ssing contest with you, if you don't mind. I think it's a tad childish and detracts from the core discussion.

    However, whenever I'm introducing someone, especially CSS designers, to Drupal, I usually point them to the following Drupal showcase sites:

    urlgreyhot.com

    Terminus1525

    The Onion

    Amnesty International

    Yahoo research

    Twit.TV

    Novell communities

    Mac World

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation

    A list of notable music websites based on Drupal

    And to pick up on something you claimed earlier...

    Drupal's code is bloated and redundant. Anyone considering its use should understand that there is a steep learning curve. It's not a great blogging system. If someone wants a blog they should use blogging software. Using Drupal for a blog is like killing a fly with a sledgehammer.


    Well, Tim-Berners Lee, the daddy of the World Wide Web as we know it disagree's with you.

    As I mentioned earlier...just changing 1 line on the page.tpl.php template file allows you to remove all the default CSS that comes with Drupal and the templating (Theme) system allows you to override the default markup, which makes it a designers dream. I'm not saying it's easy, but, the infrastructure or Drupal framework is such that it allows for (if you know what you're doing) very very granular control over content output.

    I hope that's of use to some other CSS designers, particularly those who would like much more site functionality, but, don't want to learn how to program.

    As a tip, if you're diving into Drupal, I would tend to advise approaching it in two stages, for any size site i.e.

    (a) Functionality - use the default themes to play around with modules and build the functionality the site requires.

    (b) CSS/MARKUP control - once functionality is done, you can strip away all the default CSS very simply (see above) and build your style sheets from scratch and/or go a level deeper and override theme defaults so you can control the markup of Drupal output, remove extra styles etc. Overriding general theme functions is fairly straightforward, more advanced markup control and theming for ALL content types in Drupal can be controlled on screen using Contemplate.module - a CSS designers helper module to override MARKUP.

    hope that helps others and bear in mind that I'm biased towards Drupal. I've tried out a lot of the CMS tools out there and nothing comes close to matching Drupal in terms of a balance between scalability, functionality and theme-ability.

    Dub
    •  
      CommentAuthoradjustafresh
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007 edited
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    I'm not bragging. I want people to know why I feel the way I do about Drupal, and understand that open source does not necessarily mean free or cheap. The budget overage went into a project that was supposed to be a "platform" upon which multiple websites could live. Two of the sites went live (one of which is on your list of "showcase" sites). Full disclosure - my role on these projects was not a development role (although I come from a designer/front end dev background); I was tasked with IA and UXD. I did not select Drupal; I saw several of my friends pulling their hair out as they attempted to turn the battleship. I also did not hire the consultants. Perhaps we should have hired you to implement your 1 line of code trick. Does that strip out all of the crufty CSS and markup from modules as well?

    I'm also not trying to get into a pissing contest. I sincerely want to see some examples of successful, well-designed Drupal sites. The Onion site is very impressive.

    I agree that people who are going to be brave and use Drupal should start by implementing the functionality that they are trying to achieve and then move on to skinning the UI. With regard to the backend admin look & feel and functionality - I still think that it is geared for much more experienced software users. Your web-novice, small-business-owner client will probably have trouble navigating the Drupal backend.

    As far as TBL goes - he says that Drupal was his first experience with a "blogging tool", it's certainly easier than doing it by hand. But if someone just wants a blog they should consider Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, etc.

    Back to a philosophical note... I prefer ExpressionEngine because it spits out data. Out of the box the developer controls the markup where that data resides - no cruft. Drupal's default is the opposite. The developer must work to limit the markup/CSS produced by the software.
    • CommentAuthorGus
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007 edited
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    I'm not bragging. I want people to know why I feel the way I do about Drupal, and understand that open source does not necessarily mean free or cheap.

    I still don't get it. You claim there was $1,000,000 spent on the project you were involved with, yet you still aren't aware that you can remove all the default CSS by changing 1 line of code and how to control the output markup. I find that truly astonishing and would argue that the source of the problems the team experienced had nothing to do with Drupal. Similarly, I would hazard it had nothing to do with open source.

    As a tip, whenever a project goes pear shaped, it's a good idea to have some sort of postmortem to identify where and what went wrong. I mean, seriously. After spending, as you claim, $1,000,000million dollars, did it not cross anyone's mind to learn from the mistakes?

    As an aside, that's partly what makes makes your flippant and inaccurate comments about Drupal so irritating and in the context of this forum (A skills share forum), very unhelpful and very misleading.

    What's even more irritating is that the whole concept of open source and community development is that problems that people experience feed back into the community and the project improves as a result.


    Does that (1 line of code trick) strip out all of the crufty CSS and markup from modules as well?

    Just the CSS. Changing 1 line of code removes all the default CSS from the output but I have outlined below how to go deeper.

    LEVEL 1:Remove all the default $styles (CSS) by deleting 1 line that spits out the $styles in the page.tpl.php template file.

    That means you're starting from the equivalent of a blank canvas from a CSS point of view and working with the default markup. Most prefer to go to level 2 and control the markup as well.

    Level 2: Control the markup that Drupal spits out.

    Option 1: Onscreen, by using the CSS/Designers helper module called CONTEMPLATE.MODULE, which makes it easy to rearrange fields, output different fields for teasers and body, remove the field title headers, output fields wrapped for use with tabs.module (part of JSTools), or anything you need. The nice thing about this module is that it allows you to customise RSS feeds for all content types, e.g, you might prefer to have different content/fields included in the RSS feed for gigs as opposed to news RSS feeds etc.

    Option 2: Using a text editor like notepad, to edit template files, such as page.tpl.php, node.tpl.php, block.tpl.php, blog.tpl.php, forum.tpl.php, node-audio.tpl.php, comment.tpl.php and so on. Those tpl.php files look pretty much like a html file. Here's a representation of the default page.tpl.php template file on screen and a list of variables available to the template. It should be fairly intuitive from there how to remove/modify/add markup.

    Level 3: Overriding Theme functions.

    Level 1 and Level 2 will remove all the styles and allow you to control the markup Drupal spits out. However, there are situations where you may want to override how certain module content is output, to a very granular, field level, such as menu's, (un)ordered lists, bullets, messages, a login form or an audio player, for example. That's where a special template.php file comes in, where you can override completely how it's output. This level of "theming" in Drupal is more advanced and someone who knows php is useful to have around to help construct the theme overrides, if examples don't already exist in the Drupal handbook.

    It's plausible that Drupal could just spit out the content, without any markup and styles, but, most designers don't want to learn a programming language, they just want to control how the output looks, which is why the architecture behind the Drupal theme (layout) framework is structured in such a way that a CSS/HTML designer can get to level 3, without having to learn a programming language or getting their hands dirty/pulling their hair out over code.

    It does require a time investment getting to grips with the basics and the Drupal philosophy, but, that's a small price to pay for the functionality and scalability that you get in return.

    I hope that is useful for others.


    Dub

    • CommentAuthorneemtree
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007
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    I think the takeaway from this thread is that Drupal's use is growing. This is a trend which will continue. Hopefully, with the support of designers.

    Designers looking to anticipate this trend, and provide their clients with a 'sweet spot' blend of functionality, affordability, and beautiful designs should look into what it takes to theme Drupal: http://neemtree.com.au/drupal-theming-designers, http://drupal.org/node/509, http://google.com.

    With more designers using Drupal, there will be better insights into improving the design experience, such perspectives and feedback will greatly benefit the Drupal community: http://drupal.org/forum, http://lists.drupal.org/listinfo/themes.
  10.  permalink
    Gus - the horse has been sufficiently beaten. One line of code. Drupal is the bees knees. We get it. Cut the condescending tone.

    My comments about Drupal are based on my experience. I hope that others may find that valuable. I have not said that Drupal is a bad; on the contrary:
    Drupal is a very robust, feature-rich platform, upon which experienced developers can create powerful websites.

    All I am doing is warning people who are considering its use about the fact that there is a fairly steep learning curve. You and I agree on this point:
    It does require a time investment getting to grips with the basics and the Drupal philosophy

    With that said, I think that people can take away what they want from this thread (some people like Drupal and some don't). And the conversation is closed...