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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.
Here we are in the Template Manager in the backend of Joomla! and as I showed you earlier, as you mouse over the names of any of these templates, a little preview will come up of what that template will look like. We are at the point now where we need to create that thumbnail, so that when people mouse over the name of the template that we are about to create, they will also see the same shortcut. So we are going to start by going DreamWeaver and we are looking at our index.html file. This is great way to create our template thumbnail because we need it to have a working installation package for Joomla!. So it's harder to create a after the fact. We are going to create it now, just from the HTML and else this is a very small thumbnail. We don't need a whole lot of detail.
The fact that this doesn't have real content on it or that it doesn't have all of the features of our final template, is just fine because it's going to be so small you won't be able to see a whole lot of detail anyway. So the first thing I am going to do is preview this in the browser, Preview in Firefox, and here it is. Now what I need to do is take a screenshot of what we are looking at and for PC people it's simply a matter of pressing Alt and PrintScreen. I just did it and you didn't see anything happen, but a screenshot did get taken. For Mac people if you click Command+Shift+3 that will grab the whole screen and save it to your desktop as something like Picture1.png.
You can then open that file in your image program whether that's PhotoShop or Fireworks so whatever. Now that I have taken my screenshot I need to put that screenshot into an image program, so that I can crop it and make it a little bit smaller. I am going to use Fireworks. So I am going to open up the Fireworks and I am going to go to File > New and 1024 by 768 is just fine. So Fireworks tells me that I should be opening a window that's 1024 by 768 and those numbers are determined by the size of screenshot that I have sitting on my clipboard. So your numbers may be slightly different. Generally speaking it will pick the right dimensions for you. The Resolution at 72 Pixels per Inch is just fine because this is just going to be a web graphic we don't need a whole lot of resolution for it and 72 is generally the resolution that we use for web graphics.
Our Canvas Color is set to White. Really it's not going to matter because we are just going to put our screenshot right on top of it. So you can set yours to White too or any of the other settings that are there. And say OK. Now I am going to zoom this out because my screen is little bit small, so we can see what we are doing. So I am going to zoom its out to 50%. You may not need to do this, and then I am going to click Edit > Paste. This is going to paste in my screenshot right here on the Canvas. And as you see this is whole Firefox window including all the browser chrome. To give me a little bit more detail in my thumbnail I am going to try to crop out all of that extra stuff. I just want to see what the web page itself is going to look like.
So I am going use the Crop tool and then I'm going to crop just the pretty part of the webpage here and use the handles to zoom in a little bit. I am leaving a little bit of gray around the edges; you don't have to. And then I am going to click Enter and that will make my crop pattern. Now we need to save this for the web and Joomla! is very particular about the size of this image and the format of this image. So the first thing we need to do is resize this because this is still quite a large graphic. We go to Modify > Canvas > Image Size and we need to make a Width of 211 pixels. The Height is less important and say OK.
And I am going to zoom back in now that my graphic is little bit smaller. Back to 100%. Joomla! also wants this image in the format of PNG. So in Fireworks the way that we save graphics out for the web is we can go our Preview Settings. This is what things will look like when saved for the web. And over here on the right hand in our Optimize palette we have several choices. Since this has to be PNG we only really have three choices to choose from, PNG 8, PNG 24 or PNG 32. Because our graphic is small and because we don't need a whole lot of detail in our template thumbnail. I am going to go with the PNG 8 because it is only 9K in size.
The other settings are going to make a larger file size which will take longer to come up in Joomla! and it's not really information that we are going to be able to use anyway when trying to tell the difference between one template and another. Once you have this setup, go to File > Export and you need to give this a very specific name because its what Joomla! wants, which is template_thumbnail.png, and we are just going to save this right on to the desktop. Click Save.
Now we have our template thumbnail and we are ready to move on to the next step of creating our Joomla! template.
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