Sweaver: a visual interface for tweaking your Drupal 6 theme
For the upcoming release of Conimbo, a Drupal distribution we're building at One Agency, we needed an easy and attractive way to theme your website without knowing anything of CSS. Having the opportunity to experiment once and a while during our free day at work, one of our colleagues started playing around with jQuery and manipulating the properties directly on the frontend - much like the Themebuilder created by Drupal Gardens, which he used as inspiration. After a while, I joined the coding part and sweaver was born - if you really want to know where the name comes from, that's all explained on Drupal.org.
Writing sweaver was interesting because of three reasons:
- jQuery: we now probably know the jQuery manual by heart since we've had to look up a lot of new tricks to manipulate all kinds of stuff: iterating through all parents of a css selector, show/hide/close/open tabs and sliders, find out out the type of a selector and keeping it all manageable in a nice interface. It's been a tremendous ride so far and I'm pretty sure we've not reached the end of it.
- CTools: sweaver uses the CTools plugins and exportables functionality. This means developers heaven both for us as maintainers, but also for other drupal people out there wanting to write their own plugin for this module. We're still into beta phase right now, so we might even use other functionality like object caching, Ajax and form tools.
- Themes: we've learned that creating a re-usable theme isn't that easy, which is not even related to Drupal. Technology like cufon is fun, but clashed with our module. Switching to @font-face was something we've planned, but now got implemented faster. And I personally learned a lot of cool css tricks, but I'll stick with coding though :)
Interested and want to see how it looks like ? You can watch two video's we've created: a basic introduction and another where we show you how I've used the module to rebuild my own website. There is also a demo site where you can login and play around with it - not all plugins are enabled, but you should be able to create beautiful themes or hideous creatures :)
Downloads and more documentation is available on the project page on Drupal.org. It's important to know that we're still in development, so there are things that still act funky and might change completely during commits before a first release. Happy theming!