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This chapter is from the book

Summary

In this chapter, we worked through four examples of templates, each time building the complexity and features.

  • Modern websites separate content from presentation using a technology known as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). In Joomla, the template controls the presentation of the content.
  • When creating a template, you have to have Joomla "running" on a server so you can make changes and refresh the page output.
  • Creating valid templates should be a path not a goal. The idea is to make your template as accessible as possible, for humans and spiders, not to achieve a badge for valid markup.
  • The most basic template simply loads the Joomla modules and mainbody (component). Layout and design are part of the CSS, not Joomla.
  • Modern web design uses CSS rather than tables to position elements. It's difficult to learn but worth the investment. There are many (non-Joomla) resources available to help you.
  • Joomla will output specific elements, ids, and classes in the code of a web page. These can be predicted and used to style the design using CSS.
  • In 1.5, the output of modules can be completely customized, or you can use the pre-built output. All of these options are called module chrome.
  • It's best to always use the bulleted or flat list for menu output. You can then make use of many free resources on the Web for the CSS.
  • Elements such as columns or module locations can be hidden (or collapsed) when there is no content in them. This is done using conditional PHP statements that are linked to different CSS styles.
  • Creating a production Joomla template is more a question of graphical design and CSS manipulation than some special "Joomla knowledge."
  • Joomla 1.5 offers new features for templates that allow designers to completely control the code and presentation of a Joomla website.
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