cellear's picture

People should be able to use backdrop without needing to know how to create or modify a theme.

(This initiative was originally titled "Include several ready-to-use themes" but the name has been changed to allow other implementation options.)

Many potential users of Backdrop are not themselves skilled visual designers, and don’t have access to (or the resources to afford) a suitable designer. We should offer site builders the capability to create usable sites even if they lack either the technical ability to edit the HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, and media elements that comprise most themes, or the design skills necessary to select visually-pleasing options.  Or both!  Backdrop is a content management system, we shouldn't require our users to bring to the table anything besides the content they are looking to manage.

For an initial MVP, I propose that we find or construct three or four ready-to-go themes, and either include them with the basic download, or make them a one-click install.  In order to be usable by the most inexperienced user, the themes should be:

  1. Usable out of the box, without requiring any customization, programming, or configuration.
  2. Fully tested and debugged, so that the can be expected to work for a common set of defined use cases
  3. Limited in number, so that anybody needed to support Backdrop will know how many ready-to-go themes are available and what they are
  4. Fully documented, so that users know what to expect without having to explore the themes themselves.

Once again, I think WordPress does a good job with this.  In WordPress, It's possible to "try on" a theme without committing to it, which I think is both cool and useful.

Accepted answer

The PMC has voted that Theme development should not be necessary to use Backdrop CMS should be an official Backdrop initiative. 

Luke (@cellear) you are it's lead, and we would love an update from you each week in the developer meeting, starting next week. If you can't make the meeting that's fine, but please drop an update here in these comments :)

Most helpful answers

I don't feel strongly about having these themes in core. But, I do think that the lack of available out of the box finished themes is hurting adoption of Backdrop CMS and that an initiative to make sure that there are more theme options in either contrib or core is important.

Comments

I don't feel strongly about having these themes in core. But, I do think that the lack of available out of the box finished themes is hurting adoption of Backdrop CMS and that an initiative to make sure that there are more theme options in either contrib or core is important.

Olafski's picture

Having more ready-to-go themes in Backdrop would be great. Do you already have specific themes in mind?

I guess, if we want to provide them in Backdrop core, the expected quality standard could be a barrier. In my opinion, a realistic goal would be one new core theme a year (like WordPress does btw, as far as I know).

Some ideas for discussion:

  • Look for nice WordPress themes, and port these.
  • Start to build ready-to-go themes in contrib and see later which are good core candidates.
  • Build the ready-to-go themes as sub-themes of the Basis core theme, so that we have a good starting point and quality standard.

    (I've some more thoughts regarding the Basis sub-theme idea but had no time so far to elaborate them.)

I agree that having more themes available, whether core or contrib, would be great. I'd add that many themes seem to be geared towards read-only types of sites. Most of the sites I've ever been involved with using Drupal or Backdrop have been heavily interactive, with most of the content coming from the users, not being presented to them. So good looking forms, menus, etc. are important.

I don't have specific themes in mind.  My thought it to have an experience as close as possible to http://www.csszengarden.com/ , which is a demo site that shows the range of experiences that can be accommodated with CSS.  CSS Zen Garden is built around a single HTML page, and allows you to change the attached stylesheet to show the dramatic differences that can be achieve using only CSS.

I'd like people to be able to have a similar experience with Backdrop, where they can select between a small number (at least 3, no more than 5 or 6) themes and see different usable presentations.

 

 

jenlampton's picture

The PMC has voted that Theme development should not be necessary to use Backdrop CMS should be an official Backdrop initiative. 

Luke (@cellear) you are it's lead, and we would love an update from you each week in the developer meeting, starting next week. If you can't make the meeting that's fine, but please drop an update here in these comments :)

Awesome!  Off we go.  I think it makes sense to move development to github; I'll create an issue, and then post the link here.

Here are some adjectives that can describe themes.  Ideally the R2W themes would display different combinations of these attributes.

  • dark/light
  • playful/businesslike
  • parallax/full-bleed/video backgrounds/special effects
  • retro/modern/edgy/futuristic/minimalist
  • compact/open
  • flat/3D/Material Design/skeuomorphic
  • monochromatic/colorful
  • vibrant/muted
  • chunky/elegant
  • simple/elaborate
  • textured/shiny/glossy/fuzzy
  • Asian/African/Middle Eastern/teutonic/western
  • Avant-garde/brutalist/impressionist
  • sports/activities/interests
  • Bootstrap/SASS/color picker

I think our theme choices should include both light and dark themes, and both businesslike and...less businesslike.

What did I miss?  Which of these seem most critical?

 

 

Olafski's picture