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The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

What’s the Difference Between Theme Development and a Full Site Build

A request we receive regularly at Cheeky Monkey Media is “Can you develop a quick and simple Drupal theme based on provided the PSD’s?”, and instantly I smirk to myself. When it comes to developing a solution for a specific purpose, it can be quick but simple is usually the one which will catch either side with their pants down. More often then not there is more then meets the eye with these requests and there is a bit of a discrepancy between people's definition of a "theme build" and it's our job to ensure the expectations for the project is on the same page. When I get this request I my first question back is always, “Will you be providing the Drupal site with all the content types, place holder pages and views setup OR do you require this completed as well?”. Simply put I’m attempting to determine if we will responsible to just theme an existing site or developing a complete website for our client.

Full Site Build

To us a full site build includes the following components:

  • PSD / Fireworks designs
  • Information Architecture (IA)
    • At the very least a detailed site map
  • No existing site framework exists
  • Selection of a CMS (Content Management System)
  • Content maybe provided to be implemented

The resulting deliverable is a fully function site which is pixel perfect, content types setup, all pages from the IA setup and if provided content implemented. Turn around time for a full site build can vary from 1 month to 6 months depending on the complexity of the requirements.

Theme Only Build

To us a theme only build would include the following components:

  • PSD / Fireworks designs provided
  • Fully functioning wireframe site
    • Wireframe site could be setup in Drupal, WordPress or PrestaShop
    • Site has their place holder pages setup, listing / views setup

The resulting deliverable is an integrated theme to the functioning wireframe site based on the designs. The turn around time for a theme only build is typical 2 weeks.

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