Brief Overview


This showcase is different from other showcases. Since the project is to create a generic theme that provide a concept design, high flexibility and easy customization ability to users; not for a specific business organization. We strive for a general method of building a site based on the predefined concept.
Drupal is well-known for being a good team player with News publishers. Some big names can be listed here: The Washington Examiner (http://washingtonexaminer.com/), The Economist (http://economist.com), Maxim (http://maxim.com), Al Jazeerah Balkans (http://balkans.aljazeera.net/), The nation (http://www.thenation.com/)... So we decided to provide our users a professional online news Drupal template so they can take advantage of powerful ability of publishing from Drupal.
Why Drupal was chosen: 

We have been through many web design projects (~ 20) using Drupal as the CMS. Hence we just choose what we can do the best.

It was effortless with coding when we develop TB Nex using Drupal and yes we had seen it coming via past experiences. 3rd party modules like Views help us a lot in bringing the design concept into reality without spending too much time and effort on coding.
Furthermore, Drupal offers many powerful publishing tools including Open Publishing, NodeStream... Though we do not use any of the above tools in this project on purpose , users can choose their favourite publishing methods with TB Nex design thanks to Drupal amazing architecture.

Last but not least, Drupal’s high flexibility and ability to upscale is impressive. Once you have a news site for yourself - it is obvious that you want to get more traffic and expand your publishing activities. With Drupal, it’s proven to be capable of content management, publish workflow and security.

Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

The objective of the project is to create a general Drupal theme for building online news/magazine, responsive ready, capable of heavy content sites and large traffic.
Although the project team is small, we use Scrum to take advantage of its fast development cycle and strong adaptability to change.
In order to satisfy the requirements, we came up with a set of features/designs that are necessary to implement:
- Multiple appearance forms of content: Carousel, Accordion, Slideshow, Quicktab...
- Responsive design: a must in nowaday web design since number of users using mobile & tablets has increased rapidly
- User interaction: comment, post articles... are common features
- Homepage layout that is clear and well categorized sections - which is important to most of online news site to let/guide users know what they want to read and where they can find them
- Ads section: to news sites, it’s essential to have space for ads. We keep that in mind when it comes to this theme design
- Mega Menu: for better content navigation and hot news featuring purpose

Challenges

TB Nex homepage design is the biggest challenge. Homepage includes a slideshow Feature News, Music News block, Editor’s Picks, Main Content, New Stories Quicktabs, Most Popular Accordion and other blocks. First challenge is slideshow navigation. It combined by list of article data such as images, dates, and titles. It is not easy to achieve this slideshow navigation structure. Another challenge is main content structure. Main content is a list of articles grouped by its category. Each category has one main article and a list of three article titles. It is almost impossible to achieve this structure without writing custom code. Fortunately, Views modules and its plugin modules are powerful and flexible enough to help us fulfill these tasks without writing a line of code.

Sites made with TB Nex


Below are some of our customers' sites made with TB Nex:

- Mommy For Dummy: http://www.mommyfordummy.com/
- UMAA: http://www.umaamerica.net/
- Want2Donate: http://www.want2donate.org/
- YDisciple: http://www.ydisciple.org/

Modules/Themes/Distributions
Why these modules/theme/distribution were chosen: 
  • Nucleus (base theme): This is a solid and flexible Drupal base theme which is developed by us ThemeBrain team. This base theme provides a smart grid system, flexible typography, advanced block styling, and other useful theming features. These features save us ton of time to develop a new sub-theme for TB Wall.
  • Views: one of the most powerful module in Drupal 7 community which provides ton of features to create dynamic and flexible pages and blocks.
  • Superfish: One of the most popular modules which integrates jQuery plugin with Drupal menu to provide a user-friendly and stable drop-down menu with full of options to adjust animation, themes and other useful features.
  • Colorbox: a nice module which provide a lightweight customizable plugin for jQuery to show content in an overlay.
  • Views Accordion: This module provides a display style plugin for the Views module to display content as an accordion format.
  • Views Field View: This module allows to embed a view as a field in a view. This is extremely useful to help us achieve complex layout of TB Nex homepage.
  • Views Slideshow: It is a very powerful module that can be used to create flexible slideshow of any content that can appear in a View.
  • Webform: We use this module to achieve TB Nex contact form which is different from default contact form provided by Drupal.
Organizations involved: 
Team members: 
Project team: 

As usual, our project team for creating a theme is lean. It consists of 1 css, 1 developer, 1 QA/QC (she was in charge of both job), 1 designer.
Time line: 5 weeks (Please find the diagram below)

Comments

themebrain’s picture

Any questions guys? We'd love to hear you sharing your feedback/opinions regarding this showcase.

Tran’s picture

Major criticism of most Drupal news websites applies here, too.
Publishers places for banner ads. Publishers need places for smaller banner ads.
Doesn't look like there's enough room up top to put a banner ad, and on my site, I need at least 2 banners before you get to the content.

BetaTheta’s picture

Wow, this theme is gorgeous. It's definitely one of the nicest themes I've seen. Very clean, very sleek. Would it be possible to have this theme consist of 3 columns instead of 4 columns?

themebrain’s picture

Hi BetaTheta,

Thanks for loving our themes. Could you explain in detail what you mean 3 columns layout?

If you take a look at TB Nex layout. The Sidebar First region as well as other regions could could be configured to disappear. In that case, the main content will have only 3 columns. Is it what you want?

timonweb’s picture

themebrain’s picture

If you'd have said cnn then I'd agree haha. But apart from the red skin, we do have other 5 skins so once you change the color, I believe they will look differently