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Omega Overview and Terminology

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[Omega Overview and Terminology] [Introduction to Omega 3.x, Chapter 2, with Addison Berry] In this lesson, we're going to just start by taking a look at Omega and some of the things that are related to it--the overall terminology and structure. Basically, we want to get ourselves oriented to what Omega is and what we have available to us before we actually dive into things. So the kinds of things that we're going to be looking at is we're going to actually look at what are the major features that are in Omega. We'll also be taking a look at helper modules that are often used with Omega, so Omega Tools and the Delta module and what those are used for. We'll also be doing a general overview of Omega terminology. Omega does a few extra things in theming that are not common in Drupal theming, so we want to cover what those things are so we understand them before we start to try and use them. And then we'll also be taking a look at where we can get more information about Omega with documentation and help so as you work through your journey, if you need to have additional resources, we can point you in the right direction for those. So, we're going to begin our journey with Omega, and buckle your seatbelt and get ready to ride. Here I am on the Omega project home page at The Omega theme provides a number of really nice features out of the box. Notably, it provides us with a responsive framework that, for instance, handles our media queries for us so we don't have to write those or build those ourselves. It also supplies a 960 grid, and it even creates HTML 5 markup for us. So we can have all of those things handled for us without having to write them ourselves. Omega really lets us build our responsive website really quickly without having to actually write very much code, which is one of its major advantages. It's really good for people who don't have a lot of experience with theming in Drupal or don't want to spend the time to write all of these base sort of framework needs in their theme. And it also gives you a really nice user interface that lets you configure a lot of these things. So it even provides a lot of defaults. But if you want to change them, you can also configure them in a UI, and Omega will change the code to match that. And this is really great because basically you're getting your base code and HTML written, and then you can just play with the CSS and have a lot of fun making things look really nice. So Omega combines theming in both configuration and code which is definitely a bit different from regular Drupal theming. It's handy and very useful, but it can also be a little bit confusing and frustrating to work with. Especially most people who are familiar with Drupal theming are used to doing everything in the code in their way, and so you need to start to understand the Omega perspective and process and what it's expecting and how you can actually use the tools that Omega provides rather than fighting against them, and then you can start to really sort of bang out some themes really quickly and get the stuff that you need done without a whole lot of hassle. So if we scroll down on the project page, there's quite a lot of information on this page, which is very handy. If we scroll down all the way to the bottom, we have a couple of other interesting pieces of information to help us sort of wrap our head around the basics of what Omega can provide for us. One thing that is often overlooked but is very important, if you look down here at the bottom on the reported installs, there are over 38,000 installations. It's a really large community of people who are using this theme, and that means that there is a lot of support available, a lot of people who've been down the same road that you've been down and can help you sort out issues that you come up with or new things that you want to do. Chances are good, in a community of that size, that somebody else has already been there or has some suggestions or ideas about how you can approach things. We should also take a minute to talk about the versions that are available for Omega. You'll notice here that the recommended version for 7 is this 3.1 version, but there's also a 4.0 version. So there's version 3 and version 4. In this series, we're going to be using version 3 because that's the sort of tried and true and very stable version, and that's why it's listed under the recommended releases. Version 4 is still in active development, which means it's constantly changing right now. They're doing a lot of new things, and so it might change under your feet. Omega also has a lot of very good documentation. You can see that there's an informational micro-site, and there's an Omega handbook on And actually, if we even go in here, you'll see that there's documentation about which version to use. If I scroll down here and go to the Omega 4 section of the documentation, that actually opens up a page that has the question, should I use 3 or 4? And at this time, it's telling you that this is still experimental code with version 4, so version 3 is definitely where we want to stay for now. In addition to the Omega base theme itself, there are also two additional helper modules that are often used with it. So we'll take a look at--Omega Tools is available. And we will be looking at Omega Tools in this series. [] It basically provides a bunch of helper functions so that we can use the base theme to create our sub-theme without having to do it all manually in code. It provides drush commands for Omega, so if you're familiar with drush and want to use drush to create your new sub-theme and that kind of thing. So it's just got some handy stuff. It lets us export code, things like that. It's very useful during development of your sub-theme. It's not something you would necessarily use on your production site, but it's a really great developer tool. In addition to Omega Tools, another module that's often used is Delta module. And what Delta does is it integrates the Omega theme with the context module so that you can create different layouts with Omega and export those to code, and you can actually have different layouts on your site that are doing different things, depending on the context that someone is visiting on your site. We're not going to be covering Delta module in this series, but it is a very handy module if you happen to be using context and need to have that kind of flexibility on your site. Before we dive into actually using the Omega theme, there are a few things that we should probably wrap our heads around. One is the actual structure of the base and sub-themes when using Omega, and then the other thing is a little bit of terminology in terms of how pages are structured with Omega. So if we look at this simple graphic here, looking at the base and sub-themes, when you download Omega from and put that on your site, you actually have two themes in that folder. One of them is called Alpha, and the other is called Omega. Alpha is actually the initial base theme that everything is being built from. Omega is a sub-theme of Alpha, which provides a lot of the really nice things that we are going to be using as we proceed with our sub-theme. It provides a lot of the UI configuration and a lot of the settings and things like that that are really nice. Those come with the Omega download. We're going to create our sub-theme based off of Omega. So Omega is both a sub-theme of Alpha, but it's also the base theme for our custom sub-theme that we're going to be creating. And we'll take a look at those files in future lessons so that you can have a better understanding of how the files are actually structured and what we're creating. Another thing that is particularly Omega is the way that it structures a page that's being actually printed out. Instead of just having regions and blocks, which is the classic core Drupal way of sort of organizing a page, Omega also provides sections. A page is broken into three main sections--header, content, and footer. And then within each section you can have any number of zones, and you can also customize those. So by default we have a header zone in the header section and a content zone in the content section. We could have multiple zones if we wanted to, if we wanted to be able to have the content within them react differently in a responsive environment. And within a zone we have what we're familiar with with regions, and you can put multiple regions within a zone and weight them differently so that they will behave in the manner you expect in a responsive environment. And within our regions is where, of course, we put our blocks. This is just classic Drupal regions and blocks, while Omega is adding this concept of zones and sections to give us a little more flexibility than just what the regions and blocks systems that come with Drupal core would provide for us. We'll be playing with these a lot more, and we'll be able to see them in action, but it's a good idea to just at least sort of understand that there is new terminology and how these pieces fit together before we dive into it all. So as you can see, Omega has a number of very nice advantages. There are definitely some things that are new, done a little bit differently, can be a little bit confusing. So that's what we're going to be clarifying as we work through this series on the Omega theme.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 40 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 90
Posted by: drupalizeme on Oct 24, 2012

In this lesson we're going to take a look at the Omega theme, cover some basic terminology around it, and discuss the advantages and challenges of using it. Specifically this lesson will cover:

Omega features
Helper modules
Where to find documentation
Omega terminology

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