Talking about Zen and Theme Settings API

By John, 28 February, 2008

I was just interviewed by Jeff Robbins for Lullabot podcast #55. I’ve listened to this Drupal-lovin’ podcast since its inception, so it was pretty cool to be asked to do an an interview.

We mostly talked about the Zen theme, which I’ve put a lot of work into and, if you don’t already know, is a fantastic foundation from which to build your own custom-designed Drupal theme.

Listening to the interview, I realized a flubbed the explanation of the Theme Settings API. So let me clarify…

Drupal themes have always had the ability to change their settings by going to admin/build/themes/settings/MYTHEME. You can toggle the display of the Logo and site slogan for example. But what was broken in Drupal 5 (and 4.7) was that phptemplate themes couldn't add their own custom settings to that form. For example, the Zen theme uses the Theme Settings API to add some settings that allow the user to hide/display the breadcrumb, include/exclude the "home" link at the start of the breadcrumb, and change the breadcrumb separator from “›” to anything you want. I hope that makes more sense. If you are using Zen or a theme developer whose comfortable with PHP, you definitely need to check out that module.

Topics: Drupal, Podcast, Zen, Design4Drupal


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Steven_NC (not verified)

16 years 1 month ago

If you are building a site, and not working with Zen, you're working too hard. The comments and notes throughout the files save a great deal of time, especially for those new to drupal.

Zen Drupal theme and Theme Settings API is really powerful Combination.
Zen is very flexible "base" theme, easy to modify.
And Theme Settings API gives posibility to make it convigurable.
Really great!

I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast. It helped me get through the arduous task of the yardwork that I've put off for a few months this weekend. I learned a whole lot about the Zen theme, and I'm very excited to dive right in.

And yes, I was initially discouraged by the screenshot on However, the podcast shed light on the fact that Zen is something that I've been looking for all along.

Thank you for all of your hard work that you have put into the Drupal community.

- Joel

The pother of Google :)

The CCK is a Content Construction Kit allows you to add custom fields to nodes using a web browser.

Most of CCK has moved to core in the Drupal 7 version. The D7 version of CCK contains nodereference and userreference (mostly working), fieldgroup (not working yet), some upgrade code if it is not in core (not written yet), and some miscellaneous helpers to do things that core will not do, like maintain the php code snippets some fields may have been using to define allowed values (not yet working). The future of Content Copy and Content Permissions has not been decided and nothing has been done with them. Everything else is in core.

Hey Bill A Wright, Google my brother don't ever forget about “HIS” pother :)

Please, I am a newbie, learning to use DRUPAl, and make a custom site for an Astronomy Department in my University, and would like to know where I have to install the Theme Settings API I downloaded, so as to use the Simply Modern theme.

Thank you very much for any help you can offer,