Posted on November 2, 2012 // Short URL

What is a Base Theme and When Should I Use One?

In this episode Addi talks with Emma Jane Hogbin, and Lullabots Sean Lange and Angus Mak about Drupal base themes. What is a base theme, and exactly what is that all about? Listen as we chat about these questions and more through our own experiences working with, and choosing base themes, along with some recommendations for themes to use in various situations.

Podcast notes

Design to Theme
More Omega 3.x videos

Emma's DrupalCon session "Evaluating Base Themes"
Omega theme
Fusion theme
Adaptive theme
Zen theme
320 and Up

Responsive & Adaptive Web Design



No base theme

Great discussion. Continually wondering about this very topic with each new project I start on.

It was talked about a bit, not using a base theme at all. This sounds like a great idea for most of my projects. I'd prefer to just create my own html layout, and insert what variables I need, but I'm not sure of the Drupal-way for going about this.

Could someone please provide a basic outline of steps for where to start and what to include when creating your own theme from a basic HTML layout, without depending on a base theme?



Starter themes

Hey Rob,

I'd definitely recommend working from an existing Drupal theme, at least as a guideline, to make sure you're catching little things that could drive you nuts if you miss them.

There are quite a few "starter" themes, as opposed to base themes, which are designed to have all of the main Drupal elements in place and you can simply modify the theme to make it your own. The first that comes to mind is Basic, but there there quite a few of them out there.

If you really want to start completely from your own HTML and CSS, then I would suggest grabbing another well-respected theme (Zen is very well commented and is good for understanding what themes are doing), and keep that open next to you so you can see the pieces being used to make sure you account for them. Drupal things like messages and tabs are easy to forget. This is actually the method used in our video tutorials for teaching Drupal theming (Theming Basics for Drupal 7 and Advanced Theming for Drupal 7.