Gpanels and a more flexible layout

I have been bumping up against some of the limitations that Drupal imposes on layouts. There are ways around just about any limitation Drupal may have, the trick is to find and use the right one. So, I flirted with the idea of using Blocks and Panels together. But, as seen in the earlier post, I have nixed that. CSS can provide many placement options but I believe that really big changes need to happen at the level of the theme, in the code. So, I started looking at AT’s Gpanels. These are code blocks that can be inserted into the page.tpl.php file that will give more layout options. I think this is going to be the way to go. This solution supports responsive design as well.

  • Need to use Panels
  • Need Responsiveness built in
  • Need more layout options
  • Don’t want to use Blocks at all
  • Need to use Views

OK, So I can’t use GPanels because it is Blocks. Dropping this. Going to try Panels Everywhere again. I failed at that once but I’m going to give it another shot. I know more now so I bet that the issues that I was having will be overcome.

Panels, panels and more Panels

I have worked with Panels so much today that i want to throw up. But I feel like I am finally making progress. Even though I almost had to roll back my sandbox to a backup.

Panels are good. They allow you to have an easier time with layouts. But they can be tricky. You have to have a theme enabled that will support it properly. Especially if you are looking to have a responsive theme for Mobile devices.

I had an issue with the Panels Everywhere module and the Advanced Forum theme. That has been cleared up for the most part. By that I mean that I am not going to be using Panels Everywhere. Although, the issue really was the default theme template for PE and the AF module. You can have the mods installed and enabled together but when I enable the default template for PE, AF give you an error that doesn’t clearly implicate PE. It was only through A LOT of T&E that I figured that out. I had great help from the AF guy at but it really wasn’t his issue. But, I have gotten around the impasse.

So, here is where I am on this particular subject”

  • I’m going to start a new tag – “drupal idiosyncrasy” – DI
  • DI – other themes may “look” available when you are setting up a panel. But that doesn’t mean it will work properly
  • using adaptive themes AT Subtheme 7.x-3.1 for responsive design with Panels
  • Chose “override” Drupal block in the panel that I set up
  • went to structure, blocks and removed the custom placed blocks (from categorized feeds) that were still showing up even though I told the panel to override them.
  • Told the panel that i want it to be the front page. check the vids from lullibot. too. this is one.

now I have the detail that i wanted to have on the front page. This part was tricky and I thought a few times about throwing the whole thing out and going with Joomla. But, I persevered….

error with conflicting modules

Well, I’ve had a fun time here in the last day and a half trying to get a resolution for the error in advanced forum module. I received good support from but the error wasn’t really with the AF at all. It was something with the panels everywhere module. I’ve reproduced it several times and there really is no doubt.

it’s disappointing, i really wanted to be able to use the panels everywhere module. But i also need to have as many options with the forum as I can get. so, panels everywhere will have to go.

glad that I made sure to have a good back up of things so I could do some comparisons. always have a backup.

Panels – Adaptive Themes vs Panoply

For me (and I believe for anyone) having a responsive theme is absolutely critical. Mobile is here, huge and can be ignored at your traffic’s peril. Make sure your theme uses media queries for browser width, which means adapts for mobile. Here are some good links about testing on mobile.

Mobile phone emulator (by COWEMO)

10 Excellent Tools for Testing Your Site on Mobile Devices

Also, I want to use Panels and Panels Everywhere. For the site that I am working on now, I need the power of Panels to get what I want now. My own goal is to continue studying PHP and eventually make contributions to Drupal at the code level. And to be able to design sites purely through PHP. But that is a ways off right now and I need to get this site up and running before that time. So, although I feel like Omega has so much to offer in Responsiveness, I am going with AT because they have good integration thematically with Panels and the Responsive paradigm.

Then there is Panoply, which is an actual distribution that has many things to offer and is worth taking a look at. This is a link to a good article by Drupal guru Jeff Burnz, which although biased (he’s Mr AT) brings up good points about Distros and maintenance. Read this article.

So, I’m going with AT for the current project.


Today has been a challenging day. I’m not exactly stupid but sometimes Drupal makes me almost feel like I am. But I kept at all the panel stuff and I’m getting over the curve with only a mild headache.

One, use the Precision theme for Panels Everywhere. I stumbled across this theme during part III of the video series that I posted. It was only one reference. I missed it once.

Also, as I have learned more and more about Panels, and Panels Everywhere and how they integrate with themes (or over ride them) I want to make sure to use a Responsive theme as well. So I did some more looking around and I found that Adaptive Themes has a responsive theme for Panels Everywhere.

working with this now. watch the whole series on youtube that I posted; very helpful. will post more later.