Theming overview

A few handbook pages has been moved to the new theming handbook. A fresh start for Drupal 6 and beyond. This handbook will eventually be part of a sub-section of the new outline after it has been cleansed out. The theme upgrade guide has been moved too.

Note: this page describes the theme system from a themer's perspective. If you are a module coder looking to make your module themable, you should read this page.

Creating a screenshot for the administration page

Note: There is a separate page on this for Drupal 7:

Every theme for 4.5+ needs a screenshot in the form of a screenshot.png placed in the theme directory. These are displayed in the theme listing within a Drupal installation (i.e. at Administer > Site building > Themes in Drupal 5 or 6). It is best that screenshots are consistent. The guidelines for core theme screenshots are (starting from a blank Drupal site):

  1. Log in as the first user.
  2. Enable the following modules, for some extra menu items: aggregator, blog, node, search and tracker.
  3. Turn on the features that the theme supports (logo, site name, slogan, search box). Add some primary and secondary links if needed. We suggest "Link 1" "Link 2" "Link 3", you can link them to e.g. "user/1".
  4. Set the site name to Drupal and slogan to Community Plumbing.
  5. Create the following article node:

    Donec felis eros, blandit non

Drupal's menu building mechanism

(Note: this is an analysis of the menu building mechanism in pre-4.5 CVS as of August 2004. It does not include menu caching.)

This continues our examination of how Drupal serves pages. We are looking specifically at how the menu system works and is built, from a technical perspective. See the excellent overview in the menu system documentation.

Ping: notify services of changes

The Ping core module is useful for notifying interested sites that your site has changed. It automatically sends notifications (called "pings") to the pingomatic service to tell it that your site has changed. In turn pingomatic will ping other services such as, Technorati,, BlogRolling,, Moreover, etc.

The ping module requires cron or a similar periodic job scheduler to be enabled.

You can:

Tracker: viewing new and updated content

The Tracker core module displays a site's most recently added or updated content. The Tracker module also provides user level tracking, which allows you to follow the contributions of specific authors.

The Recent content page in Drupal 7 (or Recent posts page in Drupal 6) at is available via a link in the default Navigation menu block when the Tracker module is enabled - and the View named 'Tracker' is enabled. Menu items can be administered on the Menus administration page at (Administer > Structure > Menus) in Drupal 7, and (Administer > Site Building > Menus) in Drupal 6.

The Recent content page contains a reverse chronological list of new and recently updated content. The list displays the content type, the title, the author's username, how many comments that item has received, and when it was last updated. Updates include any changes to the text, either by the original author or someone else, as well as any new comments added to an item. A red "new" will display beside the name of each node the current user has not yet navigated to. The My recent content tab on this page limits the list to the currently logged-in user.


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