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Roll your own Joomla Templates

May 22, 2007 at 19:26 · Filed under webdev

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I am developing a web-site for a business. A really simple web presence with some Content Management. I am yet to fully convince the Business Owner that a CMS will be so beneficial to customers, but I am already using Joomla for the site, so we have one in place. I used the DocMan extension for Mambo/Joomla to cover document content and access control for the published documents. After some initial headaches with that, I sorted the issues out (to be blogged some other time I suppose) and started looking around the net for free templates. I was after a quick implementation they liked.

After much searching I found the siteground templates on offer for free. You could customise them all you wanted, but you had to leave their copyright and “add” info on the page.

I needed to customise the graphics to include customer information in the header anyway, so I started modifying the logo. Next up was the layout. It was missing some of the joomla inline modules in needed.

Whilst doing this, I noticed that all their templates are just mega tables. Very ugly coding in a standards based world. I am guessing they would not meet XHTML or CSS standards, OK so I checked. The CSS was all good, but the HTML was not Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

What should one do? Write your own template. This is my current goal. I will offer it up for grabs once done.

If anyone has tips on an entirely CSS based joomla theme (aiming at visual design, light on bandwidth) then I would appreciate them.

Tim said,

May 23, 2007 @ 11:49

I think u are stepping into the dim dark world of gui design. Best leave that to the weasels. Stay with the console dude 😉

Terence said,

June 2, 2007 @ 22:29

I started using Joomla last year. I noticed that even the default template was horrible table-based code which had lots of inline style definitions (very very very bad). That really turned me off the product. Sure, I may have been able to make my own liquid layout templates but that was problematic with the old system (according to the joomla template tutorial at the time). The same tutorial said that there were moves afoot to fix that with the release of version 1.5. I don’t know if the templating has improved much – all I saw was a lot of code in the default one – requiring a programmer to design the templates. I’ve looked around many freeware CMSs and I’ve finally decided to write my own (yes, the world needs yet another CMS). It will probably take months. It will be using PHP/PostgreSQL on the backend (with my newly ported XAO for PHP xml/xslt framework). And the admin console will be implemented as a Firefox extension. The CMS itself should be highly extensible with the ability to add “asset” types with relative ease – stuff like YUI data grids, google maps etc should be able to be implemented as an asset. Assets can be drag’n’dropped in the custom HTML editor. Everything will be able to be internationalised. Firefox supports this out of the box, the CMS will allow a different language version of each asset instance. At display time, I’m considdering rendering assets via AJAX calls once the main layout has already loaded. This should improve visual performance (start reading text right away) and enhance possibilities for granular chaching of assets.

Wish me luck!

Lantrix said,

June 3, 2007 @ 20:38

Good luck. I will be happy to be a “Beta” tester of your CMS.

The only thing joomla has going for it is all the free templates (oh and it can be rolled out on a hosted solution with the push of a button), but like you said they are all clunky.

I still have to get my head around XAO.

I must say that your “projects” are always much larger in scale than what I have in mind. I just tend to play too much WoW or watch too much Foxtel, or work.

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