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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.
sorry for my bad english


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!