Front of site themes are what make your website look pretty. They are what your visitors see. Using one of the themes from this site is an easy way of getting your site to look good even if you don’t have the necessary XHTML and CSS skills or if you simply don’t have the time needed to design your own.
Installing one of these themes differs dependent on how the designer has packaged it up but basically there are two different methods.
The Plugin Method
This method relies on the mem_templates or cxc_templates plugins and requires that you have the appropriate plugin installed first. If the theme you have chosen is designed for these plugins then it is simply a matter of unzipping the download file, uploading the various folders via FTP, logging into Textpattern, installing the mem_templates or cxc_templates plug-in, navigating to the “Extensions” tab for the plugin and pointing it at your new theme. The plugin does all the hard work for you including backing up all the existing templates/plug-ins. It will import all page, form and CSS templates plus it will import and activate all plug-ins. All you really need to do after that is set up the required sections and modify the settings in the “Preferences” tab to suit. With the cxc_templates plug-in sections and their settings are imported as well so one less function for the user to perform. Sounds easy but unfortunately there aren’t many themes designed in this way yet. There should be and I for one am working on it. One that you could look at is Bueno.
The .txt Files Method
Most of the themes here use .txt files. When you have unzipped the download file you will find that it contains sub-directories such as “images”, “pages”, “forms”, “plugins” and “css”.
This method may require you to over-write existing page, form and CSS templates so it is a good idea to back these up first. They can be saved on your computer as .txt files using something like notepad or whatever .txt file application you have. Do not use something like “Word” or “Open Office” or any other type of word-processing package as these may add spurious characters which have no place in the .txt files you need to create. You can also use any code editing application if you have one. Once you have decided on your application of choice simply copy/paste each of the templates into it’s own .txt file, or if you are using a code editor you can create a .css or .html file dependent on what you are copying across, then save it with an appropriate name.
OK. Onwards and upwards.
The “images” folder will contain any images required by the theme. They will need to be uploaded to your site. You can do this via the “Content / Images” tab in Textpattern or you can create a separate folder for them on your site then upload them to your new folder via an FTP client. If the theme doesn’t require images you can forget this bit.
Cascading Style Sheets
The “css” folder will usually contain a single file though there can be 2 or more. You will need to copy/paste the contents of the file(s) into the “Presentation / Style” tab in Textpattern, usually over-writing the existing “default” file. Once you have done that, if the theme uses images you will need to go through the CSS file(s) and change the URLs to correctly point to where you have placed them. If it doesn’t you’re good to go.
Page and Form Templates
Both the “pages” and “forms” folders will each contain several .txt files which you will need to copy/paste to the “Presentation / Pages” and “Presentation / Forms” tabs in Textpattern. Some of these files may over-write existing files and others may need to be created anew.
If the theme uses any plugins the designer may have included these in the “plugins” folder. You will need to install these in the “Admin / Plugins” tab in Textpattern. This involves copy/pasting the code in the .txt file into the text box at the top of the “Plugins” page and clicking the “Upload” button. On the new page you are presented with you need to scroll to the bottom and click on the “Install” button. You will then be taken back to the first page where you will see the new plugin listed. It hasn’t actually been “turned on” yet though so in the “Active” column you need to click on “No” and it will change to “Yes”. That’s it. Installed and activated. Do this for all of the plugins included in the theme download. Some designers don’t bother including the plugins as they can be updated quite often. They rely on you to go and fetch them for yourself. Even if they are included do go and check to see if there is an updated version anyway and install that instead.
That’s about it apart from possible changes and additions to the sections in the “Presentation / Sections” tab in Textpattern but most of these theme downloads will include some kind of “readme” file giving you more detailed and specific instructions on installation.
Again, if you get stuck, ASK!.
All themes have comments “open” or you could send the designer an email.