Front End Drupal: Designing, Theming, Scripting by Konstantin KäferFront End Drupal: Designing, Theming, Scripting by Konstantin Käfer

Front End Drupal: Designing, Theming, Scripting

byKonstantin Käfer, Emma Jane Hogbin

Paperback | April 5, 2009

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“For Drupal to succeed, we need books like this.”

–Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder and project lead


“Drupal faces a common problem on the Web–the relative lack of new, high quality themes. Front End Drupal tackles this problem directly and is designed to help both experienced designers and rank novices get an understanding of how Drupal theming works. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit I learned a lot from this book.”

– Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder and project lead


The Practical, Complete Guide to Customizing Drupal Sites with Behaviors, Themes, and Templates


Drupal is now the world’s #1 open source content management system: Thousands of individuals and organizations are using it to build and update Web sites of virtually every kind. As Web designers and developers adopt Drupal, they need ways to quickly customize the visuals and interactivity of their sites. Drupal offers powerful tools for doing so, but little guidance on using them effectively. Front End Drupal is the solution. In this book, two expert Drupal developers cover everything you need to know to create great visual designs and state-of-the-art interactivity with Drupal’s behaviors, themes, and templates.


Front End Drupal is 100% focused on issues of site design, behavior, usability, and management. The authors show how to style Drupal sites, make the most of Drupal’s powerful templating system, build sophisticated community sites, streamline site management, and build more portable, flexible themes. You’ll also gain hands-on experience through several case studies that walk you through the customization of everything from page templates to Web site forums.


  • Prepare and organize content so it’s easier to integrate into Drupal Web sites
  • Structure Drupal page templates that are easy to work with
  • Configure Drupal with the modules and browser tools you need to customize your site
  • Utilize Drupal’s Starter Themes and themes converted from WordPress, Joomla!™, and Drupal 5.x
  • Maximize the power and usability of Drupal’s content editing forms
  • Build usable community sites with user profiles, comments, and user-generated content
  • Use JavaScript™ to make your themes interactive and to enhance usability
  • Create powerful animations and AJAX callbacks with jQuery, Drupal’s JavaScript library


About the Web Site

The accompanying site,, contains all sample code and themes presented in this book.

Emma Jane Hogbin has been working as a Web developer since 1996, helping individuals and organizations to realize both their own potential and the potential of their online presence. She creates systems that enable her clients to succeed–by using her infectious enthusiasm and ability to explain concepts without using technical jargon ...
Title:Front End Drupal: Designing, Theming, ScriptingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:456 pages, 9.1 × 6.9 × 1 inPublished:April 5, 2009Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0137136692

ISBN - 13:9780137136698


Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good starting ground I purchased this book back in 2009 and although it is written with Drupal 6 in mind and a lot has changed in the last 8 years, the book still has a lot of good information and is a good starting point for those looking to get more information than what is online. If there was ever an update for this book I would be one of the first in line to purchase it.
Date published: 2017-02-18

Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

Preface xix

Acknowledgments xxiii

About the Authors xxv


Chapter 1: Web Page Design 1

Describing Content 2

Organizing Lists of Content 8

Page Design and Layout 14

Interaction 20

Code 22

Work Flow 25

Summary 29


Chapter 2: The Themers’ Toolkit 31

A Gentle Introduction 32

Theming Strategies 33

Drupal Terminology 36

Must-Have Modules 42

Browser Tools 60

Language References 65

Maintaining Your System 69

Summary 71


Chapter 3: Working with Drupal Themes 73

Finding Themes 74

Installing Drupal Themes 78

Administering Themes 82

Anatomy of a Theme 88

Starter Themes 94

Migrating to Drupal 6 99

Summary 104


Chapter 4: The Drupal Page 107

Elements of a Page 107

Sitewide Page Variables 109

Navigation and Menus 115

Grid Work 120

Search 126

Changing Templates 128

Alias: Page 133

Taxonomy Templates 138

Delivering Plain Content 141

Summary 149


Chapter 5: Drupal Content 151

Node Templates 151

Gaining More Control Than $content Provides 155

Node Template Variables 161

Pages and Teasers 165

Images 169

Making Lists of Content with Views 177

Summary 181


Chapter 6: Customizing the Content-Editing Forms 183

Web Forms 184

Form Candy 185

Rich Text Editing 195

Altering Forms with FAPI 201

Multiple-Page Forms 210

Improving Access to Edit Screens 212

Summary 217


Chapter 7: Users and Community Participation 219

Users 219

Granting and Restricting Access 227

Community Comments 231

User-Generated Content 235

Spam 240

Private Web Site Areas 244

Summary 248


Chapter 8: Administrative Interfaces 251

Creating a Custom Administrative Interface 252

Task-Based Navigation 256

Administrative Menus 261

Administrative Dashboards and Control Panels 266

Custom Administrative Screens 270

Error! 279

Summary 283


Chapter 9: Learning JavaScript 285

JavaScript versus DOM 286

The JavaScript Language 287

Object Orientation in JavaScript 293

Summary 309


Chapter 10: An Introduction to jQuery 311

A First Look at jQuery 313

Using jQuery 320

Leveraging jQuery’s Full Potential 333

Using Other JavaScript Libraries 343

Summary 344


Chapter 11: JavaScript in Drupal 345

Server-Side Drupal Integration 345

Architecting a Component 353

Example: Horizontal Scroller 355

Using Plugins and jQuery UI 377

Summary 380


Appendix A: Installing Drupal 381

Setting Up a Development Server 381

Configuring Document Root and Virtual Hosts 383

Installing Drupal–and Common Hurdles to Its Installation 385

A Quick Glance at the Admin Area 388

Installing Modules 389


Appendix B: Supplemental Code 391

template 391

demo-module 397

template-skeleton 400

horizscroll and horizscroll-datasource 404

sparkline 415


Index 419