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How to Create a Customized Starter Template in Thesis 2.0

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In this session we discuss how to create a customized starter template in Thesis 2.0. This can be done either by changing one of the skins or create one from scratch that has the setups you like. We discuss how you can create a library of skin elements with various template configurations in one single skin. And we discuss what you need to change in seed.php and skin.php if you create a new skin based on an existing one.

Video Transcript

Member: So I guess the question then is what’s the most efficient way? So for example, if I’m creating sites for clients on this platform, what would the most efficient way be to create a clean skin you know, that I could use to start from scratch, but maybe has some you know, some standard elements that I can use? You know, something that would be akin to like a way that I would edit…

Rick: It’s your starting spot.

Member: That’s right. That’s what I’m at. What would be the best way to do that?

Rick: I would just you know, either change one of the skins or create one from scratch that has essentially the kinds of setups that you like. And you could have a lot more than you ultimately keep in the site and you can delete the stuff that you don’t end up using. But essentially a template or a library of skin elements, that various templates, various template configurations and keep that in one single skin and then you know, upload that skin on a site you’re going to work on, delete the parts of it that you don’t care about and make the modifications to the rest.

Member: No, I haven’t messed with this much yet. Most of the testing I’ve been doing has just been you know, going through some CSS and the HTML Editor or the skin editor. Can that be contained purely just from copying? You know, in the standard installation, you’ve got the classic and the Thesis blank skin. So you know, copying or just duplicating one of those skins, do I need to go into any of the php files and edit? Because it looks like they have…

Rick: Yes you do. Yeah.

Member: Okay so…

Rick: Here’s the Thesis blank that we just created earlier in another question. Did you see that happening?

Member: Yes.

Rick: Okay so what you would do is when it opens up here is you need to change a handful of things. Here we go. So you need to change a couple of things and seed php and skin php. Let’s see…

Member: In the skin php, it’s the name, correct? So you’re changing Thesis classic to whatever you’re calling it. Thesis test…

Rick: Well.. and then the class name.

Member: Where am I missing that? Oh, got it. Okay.

Rick: So you’re going to change the name, put your name in and of course, the description. But you’re going to… this is really the critical thing here, this class, because that’s got to show up here and it also has to show up every single time this Thesis blank is there. And the way that works really is it shows up 4 times or more. And so you’d need to do a search and replace for Thesis blank and change it up for the one you’re going to use instead.

Member: Now I saw what you were going through before in trying to get that seed to populate. But can’t you just duplicate that classic folder and then…

Rick: If you want to start from scratch, sure. Of course. Yeah.

Member: Right. Now, if I duplicated the classic folder and just made those changes and then started working on that such that I brought that classic skin to a point where I feel comfortable reusing it… you know, getting rid of all the borders, getting rid of the Thesis attribution, things like that. Then that could just be ftp’d into any site I’m running 2.0 on, correct?

Rick: Yeah. You wouldn’t even need to ftp it. You could just use the import skin feature to upload skin.

Member: I’d have to pack this up, right? I’d have to zip it and then…

Rick: Yeah but you may as well do that though. You may as well just zip it up as one thing and then it just sits there. And every time you want it, you upload it and then you do your thing to it. Anytime you change it and it’s you know, in its sort of default setting, you just zip up a new copy.

Member: Right. Okay, that’s fine. So then one other question I had was in relation to the boxes. If you’re starting from a blank page or even if you’re not…even if you’re just starting from what is there with the classic, if you’re making changes… so for example, let’s say you’re running a few different types of templates. So you’ve got a couple of page names and you’re relying on a different template for those page names. Obviously, this new skin editor makes it easy to do those different templates. But I guess in creating that ease of use, you also have to go back in and continue to you know like for each template, I would have to get rid of the Thesis attribution every time or I would have to continue adding in like if I change from a 3 column to a 2.

Rick: No, no because you can always just pick the template you want to use as the template, essentially.

Member: Right, and then copy it is what you’re saying.

Rick: Well, it’s not even copy. It’s this process here where you come over to this and you say, okay HTML and I’m going to… let’s see, add new and it’s going to be fake template.

Member: Exactly, yeah.

Rick: Create it. It’s created empty. I mean, come over here and copy from template. And so let’s say I want to use my page as the basis for it. Copy that page template and now, it has the characteristics of the page template.

Member: Right. I understand what you’re saying. I guess… okay.

Rick: I think when I start teaching the methodology you know, I got to start figuring this out between now and next Thursday. But I think the methodology I’m going to teach is to develop some custom templates as sort of the main structural parts. And then create your actual templates from those templates because one of the things that changes is likely a change from template is the post box because you’re going to have a different post box configuration for your archive pages and you’re going to for your homepage which is different from your single post which is different from your page. And so that configuration is going to be different in different contexts. And so what would be best is to have a blueprint of your main layout without any post box in it at all so that you can then just go drag that in.

Member: Right. So I guess basically, it comes down to like figuring out what that least common denominator is and creating a template for that.

Rick: I think that’s everything down to wp loop. I think that’s the least common denominator. If anything inside of wp loop is going to be dependent on the kind of page you’re using, whether it’s an archive or home or front or page or single.

Member: Okay.

Rick: That’s my feeling about it. That’s likely to evolve over time but that’s where I sit right now.

Member: Okay.

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