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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict tauperkin's Avatar
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    Question CMS: Need help understanding

    Okay...I know what a CMS is but I've never used one. I've looked at several of the most popular. Lately, been playing around with drupal.

    What I don't get is how you use a CMS with a custom website design. They all have templates, but if you want to use your own design, can you? Can you edit the templates and insert your own XHTML and CSS?

    I'm just a little unclear how you incorporate a CMS into your web design practice. I'd like to understand them better.

    Can someone clue me in?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Yes that's the idea of "templates". Each template is is really just a container for your content so you modify them to incorporate your design, layout and styling.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict tauperkin's Avatar
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    I see CSS files in each theme folder. But the actual theme file is a php file.

    You can alter the themes and the position of blocks, but do you have to stay with a pre-made drupal template and alter it?

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast glassobe's Avatar
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    If you're using Drupal then here is what I'd recommend.

    Duplicate the folder for a theme/template that you like and rename the copy as something unique (mynewtemplate or something). Then open up (i think it's) page.tpl.php? and the main css file.

    I would suggest that you include the css file in the page.tpl.php file so the style sheets load if you're using Dreamweaver. Otherwise, as long as you're comfortable with HTML/CSS/PHP you should be set.

    What version of Drupal are you using? Our business develops most of our sites using Drupal and creating custom themes for it. glassobelisk.com.au is a custom drupal theme even too.

  5. #5
    Non-Member white.wizard's Avatar
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    Most of the well known CMS (ezine publisher, mambo, joombla, drupal, typo3 etc.) can help you in a lot of issues. They have a lot of features which you can use.

    But when it comes to integrate your design 100% then you should have around a lot of coffe, time and patience. I didn't saw yet a CMS in which you can easily integrate your custom design.

    If some of you already found one please share it with us.

    I know what I'm talking because I worked with: mambo, joomla, ezine. Some friends tested typo3 too.

    In the end I finished writing my own scripts to integrate the layout.

  6. #6
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Using Drupal?

    Ok - install Views, Panels and read up on PHPTemplate variables and regions. There's nothing you can't do then!

    Views is effectively a query builder with all sorts of awesome integrations with other modules and available filters. Arguments are tough to get your head around, but take the time to understand how they work. They are your friend!

    Panels is a way to put multiple blocks, views and nodes of content in to a single $content output - before I discovered Panels I used to code pages using hook_menu and my own callback functions, but with Panels and Views combined you can create really customised page layouts without cutting a single line of code. I've even had clients with no programming background whatsoever making their own complex layouts like this.

    PHPTemplate allows you to create as many regions as you like - in your template.php file there should be a templatename_regions() function (I think... can't be bothered to go check!) and all you do is add additional regions, copying the existing format. They then appear as selectable regions on the Blocks page. How do you call them? Easy - just put the appropriate variable name in any TPL file where you need them to appear!

    I can't agree with white.wizard - if you really know the tools available to you, Drupal at least does provide the tools to integrate your design 100%. :-)

    Couldn't comment on the rest tho.

  7. #7
    Non-Member white.wizard's Avatar
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    Hi greg.harvey,

    I didn't had the change yet to work with drupal. From what you are saying I see that this CMS allows a fully integreation of our layouts. But my experince with those 3 CMS mention above doesn't impressed me.

    Maybe I will give a try to drupal just to test how I can integrate a complex layout.

    Thanks for sharring with us.

  8. #8
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    You're welcome. I completely understand a framework like Drupal is a lot of research and a steep learning curve, but it's worth going through the pain. :-)


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