I can't give you a unicorn, but I can give you one pony.™
I made this theme because I've been rolling my own Drupal theme from scratch for every new site for a while now. And I've used the same tricks over and over enough that it's time to bake them into a base theme. I figured I'd put it in a public repository so you can take a peek or use it for your own project.
I don't claim this is The Best Drupal Theme For All Websites Evar. There is a lot of competition for that title in the Drupal base theme world right now, with multiple people claiming their theme theme is Teh Bestest Most 960ResponsiveHTML5FancyBuzzNerdyness. (How something can be both 960-grid and responsive beats me, but I guess it makes for a better sales pitch.) If you want a clickable interface for assigning content to dozens of regions in pre-configured responsive layouts, then checkout the many themes available.
Pony doesn't have any of that. It's designed for people writing their own custom responsive layout CSS, and therefore doesn't have all the overhead, weight and cost of those other themes. Instead of attempting to be flexible enough to be all-things-to-all-sites, Pony focuses on being a tool for web professionals who want simple markup. You can use Pony as a parent theme for your custom-coded site — or even better, use it as a jumping-off point, hack it directly, and create your own codebase. Mostly this project reflects hundreds of hours of research and over a year of punching Drupal 7 in the HTML5 face, trying to get it to behave. If you want shortcuts to what I discovered, then download away.
Hint: What I've discovered is that Drupal is a total pain in the ass if you want your site's source code to be simple, fast, semantic and modern. It's markup is verbose and unsemantic, and much of the HTML is hardcoded deep inside Drupal where it's very hard to change. I think this is a problem. I want the sites I build to be sleek. I want the same level of quality results that I could get from creating simple HTML templates for another CMS or framework. And I want that for Drupal, because otherwise Drupal is pretty awesome. So this project is on a mission to get Drupal to stop doing all that drupally-crap to the HTML. It also represents my personal understanding of many 2012 best practices according to the world's best designers and developers, and my translation of those best practices into Drupal.
This theme REQUIRES the use of the following modules. REQUIRES. Your results won't be nearly as good without them. Really:
Fences — http://drupal.org/project/fences
HTML5 Tools — http://drupal.org/project/html5_tools
Pony includes an admin theme. It's a simple child of the Seven theme. It fixes the bugs that drive me nuts and polishes a few visual details. You can read it's CSS file to see what it does.
These days, designing in the browser is the best way to finish out a site's design. Present prototype HTML, CSS and JS to your stakeholders, and let them approve working code instead of frozen pdfs of photoshop drawings. Running code is the best way to create responsive designs and see how they will work on various phones and tablets — before final decisions are made. I don't mean build your Drupal site; I mean create a few flat HTML pages with accompanying CSS to prototype your design. Pony comes with files to get you started with this part of the process: starter-HTML that will match what Drupal creates when running Pony. Why handwrite your HTML from scratch (or use someone else's design kit) with elements, classes, ids, forms, buttons and such that do not match Drupal's, only to have to refactor everything later? Start with HTML that is Drupal-on-Pony-ish, and get a head start on creating your custom Drupal theme.
This theme pulls ideas and best practices from all over the web, including these projects:
320 and Up: http://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/projects/320andup
HTML5 Boilerplate: http://html5boilerplate.com
(insert many more here)
Zen 5: http://drupal.org/project/zen
And thanks to:
John Albin Wilkins
for being really smart and generous, and teaching me a ton, both now and years ago. I would not know anything if it weren't for you all.
This theme uses SASS. You can ignore (and delete) the SASS files and edit the CSS files directly instead. Or check out SASS. It's cool. http://sass-lang.com
Tools you might find handy while building your theme include: