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It’s been some years I have been using Drupal, without doubts its one of the best free and open source CMS around. With pass in time Drupal has achieved new milestones and with Drupal 6 the themes/skin aspect of Drupal has also got stronger than the previous versions. The new Drupal theme system is great and to reap maximum benefits from this new and improved themeing system I recommend you Drupal 6 themes.

The written by Ric Shreves has 9 great chapters in its 2 hundred and 85 pages. Starting from the simple components of a Drupal theme and guiding you to the the complex theming of Drupal forms the flow of the book is quite interesting and enjoyable. The book takes you through a step by step journey where you as a designer with knowledge of XHTML and CSS will come out as a Drupal theming ninja when you approach towards the end of the journey.

A very good aspect covered by the book is that, with view of Drupal’s modular architecture the book tries to highlight the needed cohesion between themes, modules, nodes and blocks. It tries to signify the point that themes can’t be seen in isolation, though being distict and they are a part of the whole Drupal ecosystem.

The descirption of theme engines and PHP template is also admirable. In addition the book highlights the best way override and intercept default CSS files with new ones or custom ones. The usage of theme functions and overriding them will require some PHP knowledge but with this book by the side it will be easy. The description of all the theming functions in related core modules will be of great help to themers as they override the function they want to, to get the prefect look. The book’s language and writing style is easy to understand and the screenshots at correct places makes reading this book a pleasure.

In chapter 6, page no. 148 the transition from Zen to Tao is the best part of the book. Zen is a great starting theme and book provides a systematic, step by step and hands on approach to transform Zen into a new theme. With the dummy content and links the theme development process is an enjoyable learning experience.

Chapter 7 to 9 deal with more advance topics like building your own theme, dynamic theming and dealing with form. The planning and visualization of your own theme has been put very well. But I guess these chapters are more focused to the developer and not only the designer. On the brighter side it give you a better insight on how Drupal themes are build, how to operate an existing or contributed Drupal theme and find out what is in it. Dynamic theme deals with targeting specific node or block or user. Like if you want to theme block with id 3 then here you get the details on how to do it. It helps is customizing a Drupal theme for those over demanding clients. The use of the Devel module has also been done, it will help you theme better.

The last chapter has the low down on how to make the forms look right and as you want in a theme. Forms are integral part of the Drupal CMS and theming them is very important to get the complete look and feel. With some overriding, custom code and help from modules and firefox add ons you will be able to theme the forms as you want them to.

All in all, this is a very good book and must for all Drupal themers who want to be Drupal theming ninjas. Have fun reading this book, you can buy the book here. With help from this book you will be able to tweak base themes to make them look cool or even make your own Drupal theme.

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