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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.
Joomla! templates control the look and feel of the website. There may be several or just one for your website. Once they are installed, you can edit HTML and CSS for each of the templates right within the backend of the website. You can assign specific templates to specific pages. There is a default template which can be used when a new page is created. So, let's jump into the backend of Joomla! and see where the Template Manager is and how we can use it to modify our website. So, first of all, we are going to go here to our login screen and login. Then we are going to go Extensions > Template Manager. What you see here in the Template Manager are the three templates that come with Joomla! by default when you install it. The rhuk_ milkyway template is the one that's currently being used. You can see the star here that shows that it is the default template. So, it's being used on all pages of the website.
When you roll your mouse over each of the links here for the template, you get a little pop-up of what each of the templates look like. So, this is the front end of the website using the rhuk_ milkyway template. We are going to go back to the backend of the website and look at the Template Manager a little further. Here let's take a look at the beez template by selecting this radio button and clicking the Edit button up here in the upper right-hand corner. You can see that we have two buttons to choose from: an Edit HTML button and an Edit CSS button. As you would expect when you click on the Edit HTML button, we get all of the code that makes up the template for the beez. You have trace of three buttons on the top: Save, Apply, or Cancel to leave this screen. Save will save your changes and leave the screen, Apply will apply your changes but leave the screen open so you can continue to edit, and Cancel will get you out of the screen altogether. We are going to hit Cancel.
Never hit the Back button while you are working in Joomla! or you will lock up files in the database. You can also edit CSS by hitting the Edit CSS button. As you see here, this particular template has many style sheets. The template we are going to build is only going to have only one style sheet. So, you can have as many as style sheets as you need. Let's pretend we are going to edit this general.CSS style sheet and we are going to click the Edit button and as you see here, we have a screen for editing CSS. Once again, we are not going to make any changes so we are going to hit the Cancel button, and we are going to Cancel again. There is also another button that appear on the top called Preview. The Preview button will give you a preview of the template as you can see here with the beez template and note that all of the various module positions are called out here. This is pretty helpful when you try to set up the modules for matching positions in your template. And we are going to come back to this later. I am going to hit the Back button up here.
Finally, you can assign this beez template to any page on the website. As you see here under Menu Assignment, currently it's not assigned to any of the pages on the website. We can change that by selecting the Select From List radio button. Then selecting a page, say the Home page, and clicking Save. When I switch back to the front end of the website and hit the Refresh button, you can see that the whole look of the web page is changed completely. If I go to the Products page, you will see that we are still actually in the rhuk_milkyway template.
So, these Joomla! templates allow for uniform control of look and feel including layout and styling across your site. Since the content of the page is completely separated from the look and feel of the site, it's easy to change the look in just few clicks. This is a really powerful feature in Joomla!.
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