Published Jul 26. 2016 - 5 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 8. 2020

The GFF Drupal theme

The Drupal theme that's used on the Global FlyFisher is home made from scratch. I deplore large and complex themes, and prefer simple and compact.

Nerd alert

This is NOT about fly fishing or fly tying, but about site development and nerdy stuff.
The front page
The front page
Martin Joergensen

A lot of the currently most popular Drupal themes are crazy complex in my eyes. Most are built on base themes such as Zen, Omega or Bootstrap, which are indeed full of power and facilities, but also absurdly large and typically deliver a heck of a lot more facilities and flexibility than I ever need for my projects.
And these are “only” base themes. You will need to create the site theme itself on top of them, and that's of course more work - and more code too.
I prefer building lean custom themes, literally from absolute scratch. I rarely need the complexity offered by most contrib themes with several menus, many columns, triptychs, help regions, message regions. A configurable footer in two decks, color control through a web interface or three columns is more than I want.
All this only adds complexity where I don't need it, which is why I also avoid the ever popular Panels module. I know it's loved by many for its flexibility and power, but I have no needs that Panels and Panels only can satisfy.

The thing is that most of what I see solved with these themes and modules, could just as easily be solved with far simpler systems.
The GFF theme works with classic Drupal regions and blocks served by core, and only fairly few of them. It has a simple responsive layout and a compact stylesheet.
I work with a few regions:
- Header for the logo and page top image, social links and search form.
- Menu bar for the main menu.
- A sidebar (used on the front page only).
- Three content areas: top, middle, bottom.
- A footer.
Sure this limits the layout a lot compared to many online magazines and newspapers. But you know what? I don't want that kind of layout! I prefer a simpler and less cluttered layout, and even with the limited regions, I can build fairly elaborate pages as you can see from the front page, which is constructed from classical regions, blocks and views.

The theme consists of the usual theme files and html-, page- and node-templates, which are all pretty straightforward.
There's a small number of templates for fields, about 15 or so. These are used to format certain fields like review ratings, file downloads and more. Some functions like the Simplenews and HTML Mail module require their own templates, and adaptation of these to my needs, means copying them to the theme folder and editing them.
There are three CSS files – a standard, a mobile and a print CSS – and a handful of images.
The template.php file contains some formatting of the breadcrumb, the bylines and preprocessing of pages and nodes to do some household on these. It's just shy of 130 lines, so it's simple too.
The theme is about 35-40 files altogether, and that's how I like it and even on the slightly complex side compared to many other of my themes.
It's not big art, but it does the job and I like it.


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Since you got this far …

The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.