Okay so let’s just start from the beginning with this. What is a skin? The term a skin is actually something that is not very often used in the context of WordPress because WordPress uses themes. And a skin is different than a theme. A skin is a collection of templates and a set of styles. And a skin is something that you create using the Thesis theme or specifically, Thesis 2.0 and using Thesis 2.0, you will create or customize a skin which consists of a collection of templates and a set of styles.
Now in Thesis, templates and styles are skin-dependent which means if you change skins then you are changing to a new set of templates and to a new set of styles. Okay so whatever templates and styles that you create in one skin, will only be in that skin. And if you switch skins, you’ll be looking at a new set of templates and a different set of styles.
So this leads me to tell you that you have 4 things you need to keep track of when you are understanding the relationship between skins, templates, and web pages. And those 4 things are structure, content place holders, styles and content. Essentially, your template is the structure and the content placeholders and your web page is the content inserted into the structure and then styled with styles. So you have these 4 concepts that you end up needing to convert or manage in your mind as you think about what happens when you create a blog post or what happens when you create a page and what happens when you make that content. And then when you style your template or you structure your template or you put content placeholders in your template, how well that stuff works together. These are really the 4 main things… well in fact, everything that we’re doing can be categorized either as template structure, content place holders, styles, or actual content.
And so what a template does is a template takes your content and displays it as a web page. So templates create the structure of your web page and templates include content placeholders. So let’s take a look at something like that for just a second here. If you look at this page here, the structure of this page is that you know, on the top of the page, there’s a header. And below that header, there is a navigation bar. And below this navigation bar, there’s another navigation bar. And then below that navigation bar, there’s a breadcrumb trail. And then below that breadcrumb trail, there are two columns. There is this content column and there is a sidebar column. And then below those two columns is a footer and inside that footer is a breadcrumb trail and below that is a menu and below that are these widget areas. And then below that is a copyright. That relationship of above and below and beside, that is the structure of this page. And it’s the template that gives the page the structure and that says that the header is going to be at the top rather than say the header being at the bottom. That’s the part of it that gives you the structure.
And then the content place holders in the template are the places in the template where, for example, the nav menu is. So the nav menu is actually content but there’s a place holder in this template that says insert this navigation menu. And a placeholder here that says insert this navigation menu and a place holder that says insert this post and insert widgets and that kind of thing. Those are the content place holders that direct the template to insert certain kinds of content. So the template displays your content as a web page. It creates a structure and it includes content place holders.
Now the css styles your web page and the style of your web page exists both for the structure and also for the content. So the css styles 2 different things. It styles the layout or the structure and it styles the content and you can see that in evidence here. Here’s my homepage right here. Okay, once I turn off my css, so if I disable all styles, now you can see that there is… I’ve lost all of my apparent structure and all of my apparent styles because all these things are just one thing stacked on top of another now in a long list. And that’s because the css was turned off and it’s that css that styles both the structure so it lets stuff sit side by side. And then it also does things like add color and so it builds a border around the box and it makes this thing a big heading and it’s got blue down here in the bottom and the text in the section is blue. That’s what css does is it gives your structure style and it gives your content style.
So where does the content come from? Well, the content comes from elsewhere on the administrative side of your site, right? So if you are on the admin of your site and you are… let’s say, we’ll just edit the seminar, for example. Once we do that, we’re on the administrative side of our site and I am creating this content or editing this content in the content editor you know, by giving it a title, by putting in content here, by assigning a parent, by choosing a template, by giving it lesson subjects and topics, by you know, putting SEO details and additional style. All of these different things here are different kinds of content that are created here in the admin but then are displayed in a template. And you know, that’s probably pretty obvious when they think about a page.
But this is also the case for things like… for example, your site title. Your site title comes from settings here in general. My site title comes from this setting right here and my tag line comes from this. and these are also both pieces of content that are captured and displayed by the template. Okay so you add it elsewhere in the admin side of site, elsewhere being not inside the Thesis Skin Editor.
Now it almost never comes from the template. That means that content is usually comes from someplace else than the template. That is there… you may have only a single page template but every page is displayed using that template. So each time a different page is displayed, a different kind of content or a different content is being displayed.
Over there is… there are a couple of singular examples where you will put content in the template. And so every time that template is used, that same bit of content will be displayed. But really, it almost never comes from the template. And it never comes from style. The style that you create for any given part of your template is never going to add content to your site. So where does the content comes from? It comes from some place else on the admin side. Sometimes, although very infrequently, but sometimes, it will come from the template and you’ll create that content in the template editor. But it will never ever come from the style of your site.
So that should help you understand these 4 pieces that draw together templates, skins, and web pages because your template is the structure and place holders that template takes content and displays it. And the skin styles the template with its styles. Okay so those are the 4 pieces that you’re managing when you’re creating anything here in WordPress.