Theme Development With Blueprint

Web Development:

During the redesign process, I noticed that Mark Boulton was using blueprint. I decided to give it a spin, and used it on a drupal site for a surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. (heavy use of imagecache, nodequeue, views, books, and nicemenus). Since that project, my stance on blueprint is this:you'll take my CSS framework from cold dead hands.

Is there a drupal theme?

Yes, and its very well made. Offers nothing except a basic grid layout that supports1,2,3 columns, a strong typographical foundation, and the conversions of various drupal elements to the blueprint styles. My "starter theme" of choice. In my humble opinion, the revolutionary advances in drupal 6 make big, bulky starter themes unnecessary.

Blueprint crash course

You don't need to know a whole lot to use blueprint. Everything you absolutely need to know is in the below code example. (with notes below)

  • 1. .container sets width to 950px, and centers the content with auto margins on the side. All grid elements must be within ".container".
  • 2. .clearfix - this does the same thing as having br class="clear" below the floating elements. See the oddly named br element that doesn't need to be there.
  • 2. .span-[x] The width of the column in the grid. Numbers range from 1 to 24. A full row must add up to 24, and can also include prepend-[x], or .append-[x], which share the exact same widths, only add margins, either before or after the column. The final column always needs the class "last" so that it doesn't add its 10px right margin.

And that's really all there is too it. Of course, there are many more features, that let you get perfectly centered borders that don't cause the elements to overflow, some nice typography classes, and other useful stuff that nearly any website needs. I found the best way to learn the framework was to just look at what's going on on the example pages, with firebug. Its all quite self-explanatory.

A Hack for Teaching Drupal


How Do You Teach Drupal Without Inducing Confusion/Boredom Triggered Comas? Here's a rule that has never let me down:

Never interact with the drupal site in any way during a lesson

The person you teach needs to click on every menu link, fill out every form, and as they learn, its your job to start taking off the training wheels. At first, you'll have to point them to where to go to add a new taxonomy term, but make it a point to later ask them to add a taxonomy term, and see if they remember how to find it.

This "hack" works well for two reasons:

A Web Development Warchest

Here's the programs and frameworks that I use everyday, and couldn't function without. I figured this list might be useful to someone who's just getting started in web development.

Navigate: The Next Generation Drupal Administration

Sometimes a module comes out of nowhere, and blows away everything else. I believe Navigate is one of those modules.

There are lot of factors that make it awesome:

  • It doesn't get in your way... it stays nearly hidden, as a little circle in the top left corner til you click it. Think designs that didn't foresee the need for massive admin functionality.

If you do click the the top left circle (I think its a steering wheel), you see this:

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming

Tears of joy. Yes we can. Its really a surreal feeling for the progressively minded in America. We're suspended in a state that oscillates between crying and cheering. I can't really communicate the extent of shame that we've felt for our country's attitude both domestically and internationally. I feel like I'm beginning to release a sort of toxic buildup -- I can't figure out why else tears are coming from my eyes tonight.

I was 18 when George W. Bush came to office. As I matured, I felt shame from being an American: I was morally, and spiritually opposed to him and everything he stood for. It wasn't til tonight that I've felt pride in America -- for the first time, I've been able to appreciate the poetry of our national anthem.

Oh, say, can you see,
by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd
at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd,
were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night
that our flag was still there.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The best musical version I found was wordless, and arranged by none other than none other than Sergei Rachmaninoff: the great composer, who recorded this on a piano role in 1919 around the time when the United States granted him asylum from the the soviets. Later versions of the marine corp band's rendition were quite similar in their reverent interpretation.


No, listening to our national anthem is not a regular passtime of mine, but I felt its a microscopic example of how unusual tonight actually was. Today wakes a completely different America.

Obama Wins Ohio?

I'm still traumatized from 2000, but it looks like this is real. I just said "President Obama" to myself, and felt a sudden surge of joy.

Bush's Reign Brings a Juvenile Standard to US

The new president also should signal that we will no longer confront problems just by blowing them up. The military toolbox is essential, but it shouldn’t be the first option for 21st-century challenges. You can’t bomb climate change.

Nicholas Kristof -- NYT


Its getting close to the election, and I'm getting nervous. I live in Texas, so I feel powerless in every presidential election. My first course of action was to give money to Barack; I've given his campaign $150.00 so far (just saying so you can benchmark yours). In a weird way, it seems like a really low price to pay... I want to wake up on Novermber to a world of hope -- something that has been taken away from me since 2000. Obama strikes me as a Lincoln, a F. Roosevelt, a Washington.

Multi-Column CSS Layouts for Slackers


You don't need a crazy CSS framework to make multi-column CSS layouts easy. They already *are* easy.

If you feel skeptical about my claim, I don't blame you. Like many web developers I too have tried to create 3 column layouts using the various types witchcraft found on web developer blogs:


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