I downloaded and installed the Bootstrap theme for a new Drupal 7.28 site.

Is it correct to simply modify this theme directly to build my site, or should I create a custom theme and somehow "base" it on this theme?

Put another way, is theming analogous to downloading the Bootstrap CSS and overriding selectors, or directly modifying the CSS itself?

1 Answer 1


No, it's not correct to directly modify a contrib theme (or Drupal core, or a contrib module). Once you start doing that, you cannot easily update the theme anymore. It a few months, you, or another, developers may forget the theme was modified, do what should be a easy update and break everything.

You have two options to change and existing theme. You can rename the theme before making any other change (ie. fork the theme to a custom theme). You can also create a sub-theme of your chosen theme. The sub-theme can override template and theme functions, and adds ins own process and pre-process functions. But it will inherit all non-overridden templates and theme functions and all process and pre-process functions.

  • Subtheme -- I suspected that something like that existed hut couldn't find it. Perfect, thanks.
    – Deane
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 13:14

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