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Joomla! 1.5: Creating and Editing Custom Templates

Assigning templates and modules


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Joomla! 1.5: Creating and Editing Custom Templates

with Jen Kramer

Video: Assigning templates and modules

Now that we all have a successful template installation, our next step is to take a look at the front end of our website and see how this new template looks. So, let's go to the front end of our website and we will hit Refresh and we see absolutely nothing. Why did that happen? Well we have uploaded our template but we have not yet assigned it to any pages on the website. So let's switch back to the back end of Joomla! and let's assign the template to the website. Make sure that you are logged in to the back end of the website and then go to Extensions > Template Manager.

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Joomla! 1.5: Creating and Editing Custom Templates
2h 11m Intermediate Dec 02, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Custom templates are the key to making a Joomla!-driven website stand out. In Joomla! 1.5 Creating and Editing Custom Templates, Jen Kramer McKibben offers instruction and insight to help Joomla! users create eye-popping websites. Jen starts with the basics, like how to add the Joomla! template codes to a static HTML layout, install the template package, and clean up styling after installation. She also shows how to make multiple layouts within the same Joomla! template, configure menus and submenus, and more. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Converting HTML comps to Joomla! templates
  • Troubleshooting installation problems
  • Creating XML and index files
  • Placing random images
  • Configuring menus and submenus
  • Changing the favicon
Subjects:
Web CMS Web Development
Software:
Joomla!
Author:
Jen Kramer

Assigning templates and modules

Now that we all have a successful template installation, our next step is to take a look at the front end of our website and see how this new template looks. So, let's go to the front end of our website and we will hit Refresh and we see absolutely nothing. Why did that happen? Well we have uploaded our template but we have not yet assigned it to any pages on the website. So let's switch back to the back end of Joomla! and let's assign the template to the website. Make sure that you are logged in to the back end of the website and then go to Extensions > Template Manager.

You will see now that we have four templates for the website including the one that we just installed, the one called inside. Go ahead and select the radio button and then select the Default icon on the top because this is going to be the default template for our whole website. Now, let's go back to the front end of the website and hit Refresh. Not so bad. Obviously there is some styling work that needs to be done here, but it's more or less what we were expecting to get. There is a few reasons why this page looks a little bit odd. First of all the HTML the Joomla! produces is completely different than what you were working with in Dreamweaver when you built your static page. We are going to fix this in part 4 of the videos, in terms of the look and feel. But before we go fixing the CSS, our first priority is to make sure that all of the content we are expecting is in the correct places on this website. Do all of our modules go to the correct spots? Or do we have text where a navigation bar should be? In this case I have already set this up for you, so that as you go through the website, things are already in the right places. However here is the problem that we are going to have to fix a little bit later. We don't have a secondary navigation bar. This is our entire Navigation menu and we are seeing the secondary navigation incorporated in part of that menu. We will fix that a little bit later in the movie. Everything else seems to be in more or less the correct places. If you do need to go back and fix the modules, I will show you where to do that. Back to the back end of the website, under Extensions and the Module Manager, you will see that we have some modules that are assigned to this website. Each one of them has a position, which is listed over in the Position Column. So, you will see that we have some footer items, some things that occur on the left side of the page and some things that occur on the top.

These are all positions that actually exist in our template. As you recall in our XML file, we called out these positions specifically as existing in the template so that they are showing up here in the Module Manager correctly. Let's pretend that we actually want the copyright statement at the top of the template as opposed to the footer. If that was the case, we just simply need to click on the word Copyright, look at the Position list and again as you see there is only three positions because that was what was in our XML page. We switch the position to Top and we click Save.

Now when we go back to the front end of the website and hit Refresh, our copyright statement appears on the top of the template, exactly where we said. Of course the copyright statement does look a little bit odd in this position, so let's put it back in the footer. Let's go back to the back end of Joomla! and we will find our copyright statement here in this list, change the position back to footer and say Save. When we refresh the page, we will see that the copyright statement is back on the footer where we want it to be.

Fortunately I have done all the work for you of placing the modules in the right places here, but if you are working with your own files take a few minutes to make sure that all of your modules are going to the places that you expect before moving on to your next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Joomla! 1.5: Creating and Editing Custom Templates.


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Q: When creating and uploading custom templates as described in Joomla! Creating and Editing Custom Templates , the following error occurs:

XML Parsing Error at 1:1. Error 4: Empty document
JInstaller::install: File '/tmp/install_4bd887e090339/css/default.css' does not exist.


What is causing this error?
A: Check through the errors described in the “Fixing typical installation problems” video (e.g. files included in the install package that are not listed in the XML file; the XML file lists files that are not in the install package; XML is badly formed). Also check for permissions issues with your server.
In all likelihood, if this message appears, there is an error with the XML file, possibly a typo or a misnamed file. Make sure the CSS file is called default.css and is located in the CSS folder. Also, make sure everything is spelled correctly.
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