Thoughts about Drupal 8 Responsive Layout Builder

Thoughts about Drupal 8 Responsive Layout Builder

29Jun 2012

Recently Dries has published an update about Drupal spark’s status on his website http://buytaert.net/. In his blog post “Responsive layouts in Drupal” the video got my attention.

The 8 minutes video summaries:

  • Break points: Set view-port width for your device in Drupal spark
  • Default regions: You can pick a set of regions like header, sidebar, footer etc. you can also hide and remove a default region.
  • Different edit modes for designer, content authors
  • Nested groups: create groups of regions
  • Stick region to grid
  • Automatically float regions to a new row
  • I was excited and shared immediately the video the team. I watched the video several times and read the comments again and again. Especially the comment of “Hoopz” still sticks in my mind.


    “[]...Furthermore, it also doesn't teach or show the user initially how to achieve a certain layout, particularly more "mondrian"-like frame sets, for example a main feature spanning a certain height, flanked by multiple smaller items on the side. This is generally achieved with pre-built layouts, and by snapping together individual framesets, e.g. 2-column, 3-column, etc. and assign regions to the slots created. It would allow you to start from a skeleton template where you drag in your specific regions. If you create an open space, it would stay empty, until you choose to fill it...[]”

    What I miss in the prototype and video is the answer on how spark supports the flow of a themer when he/she build-up a Drupal theme from scratch (or based on a sub-theme). And especially how UI designers and stylers can work together to achieve the final design. Responsive design is only a part of it.

    As Kevin O'Leary introduces “...creates a UI for users to be able to do that without having to write any code...”. That means actually that the theme and website is up and running and the author is ready to fill in the content, right?

    So why are do you name it “layout builder”? The team should reconsider that, it is just confusing who you target. Content authors or developers?

    How can you build a responsive layout without having a theme?

    So does the layout builder provides us the mark-up and already the CSS classes? Do we have a base theme which supports the responsive layout builder?

    How does a content author know how the content looks like?


    “No attempts are made at pre-visualizing this content to provide a more direct view on what you're building” (Hoopz)
    Running a live site I doubt a user would re-arrange the regions, content during production. A preview would help a lot before the final layout is being published.

    Above are just some thoughts about the layout builder, in overall I think the UI approach looks promising, however the Spark core team should do some more iterations. Hope they get Drupal developers from the community to kick-off the Drupal layout builder.

    From our point, we right now still discussing the “best” path of our responsive approach within Nucleus. It is still a bit blurry and we hesitate to get anything out to you at the moment. Stay tuned!

    1. How do you develop your responsive theme (Do you use CSS frameworks like SASS, LESS or foundation or from scratch)?

    2. Which features do you think would help you to simplify the development work of a responsive Drupal theme?

    We would love to hear some ideas and discussion!

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