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Theme creation basics

I'm looking to start creating ElkArte themes. I will probably start simple, mostly just CSS changes and mostly based on the default theme. However, I don't quite understand the relationship between a new theme and the default theme. I'm pretty sure that most of the themes on the themes site are kind of dependent on the default theme, right? But I don't understand quite how this works because I don't see an obvious indication that ElkArte has a "child theme" system. I'm probably just missing something tho'.

Re: Theme creation basics

Reply #1
If you want to start simple use a custom.css file. The default theme in elkarte has two variants: Light and BeSocial, choose the one that best suits your needs than start to customise it. By cutomising I don't intend to edit the php or css files, but adding your css edits to a custom css file.
  • For Light version create a file in /themes/default/css/light/custom_light.css
  • For BeSocial version create a file in /themes/default/css/_besocial/custom_besocial.css

This approach has some vantages, like:
  • you will always have an updated theme since you are not using a custom theme but the default one
  • no php knowledge is needed, only basic css
  • no problems with updates, you won't loose your changes and you don't have to apply them after updates

The downside is that you can't make the default theme looking like a custom theme (custom theme like Leisure or Lazy Day) with only css edits, but you can obtain a theme with your favourite colors, fonts, dimensions, etc...
As an example you can have a look at Frozen Stars template even if it's compatible with Elkarte 1.0, or have a look at my forums, links here and here.

You can also search the forum, custom css argument is discussed in many other topics.

Re: Theme creation basics

Reply #2
Ah...I knew about the custom.css already (I'm using it on my own forum) but I wasn't aware such themes could be published to the ElkArte Themes site like in Frozen Stars' case. I think I'll definitely start there (though someday I'd like to make a more complex theme). Thanks!

Re: Theme creation basics

Reply #3
Thanks for the info, need more info on theming for sure. I wanna know more about it as well.
Anyone have more info on the subject, just fire away.

Still love the way the Theme Social work with the bar at top! It's smooth and nice and it works great.

Very nice with the info on the CSS, I guess there was 2 themes as far as I remember where it was just an CSS file, which of cause one could begin to look into first and go from there. I was thinking of the same, starting on a low level of chaning colors and such more low level things :)