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Rubik is a clean admin theme designed for use with the admin module. It features a set of icons for admin pages provided by Drupal core and aggressive styling to reduce visual noise wherever possible.


You must install the Tao base theme for Rubik to operate properly.

Overview for subthemers

Rubik can be used quite successfully as a base for non-admin themes. Here are some reasons you might want to use Rubik as a base theme:

  • You want to inherit its styling for form and other major page elements.
  • You want to inherit its admin-element styling, e.g. you want to use the same theme for both the frontend and backend.
  • You want to inherit form layouts and preprocess routing that Rubik provides.

Before beginning to subtheme based on Rubik, please read the README included with Tao. As Rubik is a subtheme of Tao, many of the principle and ideas in Tao apply to subtheming Rubik as well.

Form theming

To work with form theming in Rubik (and Drupal in general) you should become familiar with drupal_render(). Form rendering in Rubik is done in the template file, not the preprocess, allowing any additional preprocessors to alter the form in its structured state.

Rubik pushes many system forms through a series of additional preprocess functions before templating.

  • rubik_preprocess_form_buttons() detects any root level submit and button type elements and groups them together under $form['buttons'] so they can be placed in a wrapping element.
  • rubik_preprocess_form_legacy() handles legacy theme function-based forms that use a declared theme function. It will first render the form using the function specified by #theme and then generate a form array that can be used with drupal_render() in templates.

Icon classes

The admin icons in Rubik are displayed using a CSS sprite and corresponding CSS class. The class that refers to each icon is based on a link path to the admin page. For a path at admin/settings/foo, the classes added to the containing element of span.icon are:

  • path-admin-settings-foo
  • path-admin-settings
  • path-admin

This allows for your element to fallback to a more generic, placeholder icon if the most specific class cannot be used.

Object & form template layouts

Rubik groups elements in the tao object template and various forms into two columns.

  • For object templates (theme('node'), theme('comment'), etc.) you can switch to a typical 1-column layout in you preprocess function:

      $vars['layout'] = FALSE;
  • For form templates, you should use hook_theme() to and declare the form's template as form-simple. If a prior preprocess has moved form elements in $vars['sidebar'] for the form, you will need to move them back to the $vars['form'] element.

      // Switch comment form back to simple layout.
      function mysubtheme_theme() {
        $items['comment_form'] = array(
          'arguments' => array('form' => array()),
          'path' => drupal_get_path('theme', 'rubik') .'/templates',
          'template' => 'form-simple',
        return $items;


  • core.css provides styles for standard Drupal core markup elements, in particular form elements, list items, pagers, etc. It does not style any "page wrapper" or "design elements" like the site logo, navigation, etc.
  • icons.css provides styles for the admin icons provided by Rubik.
  • style.css provides styles for the Rubik admin theme page wrapper and other aesthetic elements. This includes the site title, tabs, navigation, breadcrumb, etc. This is the file you will most likely want to override to begin your subtheme.

Issue tracking

The code for Rubik is hosted on GitHub. Please report issues and submit patches/fork requests at You can download packages of the latest release of Rubik at


  • yhahn (Young Hahn)