Keerim Drupal 8 Theme

Keerim develops new theme for Drupal 8.

Drupal 8 is here and we have been working hard to show that it is the future.

Keerim Design believes that nothing on the web should stand still and, as a company, we should be well ahead of current standards. To that end we usually write our own themes, based on the simplest models available, but with our own variations. This has had to be the case with Drupal 8, because there is virtually nothing out there to be used off the shelf.

What is Drupal 8?

Drupal 8 is the long awaited new version of our favoured content management system – Drupal. It comes in two distinct parts. The first is the ‘Core’, which is the main part of the software and is common to every Drupal site. This has been completely rewritten, so that it is leaner, faster and more efficient. It can be said that it is truly revolutionary, which can be a good and a bad thing. The ‘Core’ is now in version 8.1 and is stable and usable for basic production sites.

The second is a group known as ‘Contributory Modules and Themes’. This comprises of the work of tens of thousands of programmers worldwide writing the clever stuff that makes each website different. The problem has been that the ‘Core’ is radically different, because it uses a completely different programing language. Module and theme writers have had to scrap much of the work that we have relied on for years and start from scratch. Six months after the initial release the modules are very patchy, with many that are very important not ready, inadequate, not started or make the ‘Core’ crash.

So what has Keerim Design done?

As far as contributory modules are concerned we have been in continuous testing of each release of our preferred modules. This covers things such as slideshows, contact forms, advanced layouts, search engine optimisation, etc. that are important basics. After that there are things like the normal bells and whistles that people expect to experience: moving backgrounds, continuously loading images as you scroll, effective galleries, etc. Many work, some better than others and a number are a complete waste of time at this stage. We think that we now have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t, enabling us to provide rich and robust websites for clients.

What is the Keerim theme?

Websites used to be designed using tables, because it was a very easy way to design a grid. The problem was that they were rigid, normally fixed with and wouldn’t display on the full range of devices coming into everyday use. Tables were replaced by ‘web standards’ techniques, giving more freedom to designers and developers. As usual with these things, as technology has advanced, the coding has become more complex and convoluted to cope with the march of progress.

The time has come for a radically different approach and you are looking at the result now. The theme we have developed throws out virtually all the old rules, implementing something that has been around in concept for some time called ‘Flexbox’. Briefly, it is possible to define areas of a page like header, footer, slideshow, content, sidebars, etc. and load them in a defined order. What is cleverer is that it is possible to easily have them in different orders on different devices. In addition, within an area it aims at providing a more efficient way to lay out, align and distribute space among items in a container, even when their size is unknown and/or dynamic (thus the word “flex”).

So what is the advantage? Simple, the site produced is light, speedy and with a minimum of code.

Conclusions about Drupal 8

Is it the future – yes. Is it full production ready – no. Can it be used for attractive, brochure sites – yes. This site proves it and we have already done a commercial site, see Rising Sun website

We do a lot more than that and unfortunately it’s not ready for eCommerce. However given a few months we will be using it for every site. This is mainly because the speed and unrivalled flexibility make it a prince amongst content management systems.

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