Introduction

Last updated 2 months ago

This book is the advanced manual for BL4NK, the free template for Joomla!™ you can download in current version at GitHub. This book describes in detail how the template works, from the very basic beginning up to advanced usage. Every single line will be discussed. It's the reference work to use on your own template projects.

Developing templates is an interdisciplinary exercise. In addition to your knowledge of JavaScript, HTML and CSS you need some understanding of PHP, XML and Joomla!™'s own code to successfully build a template. You don't have to be an expert in all those fields, though some knowledge in HTML and CSS are definitely required. The trick is to able to apply the above languages in a practical way.

Joomla!™ is written in PHP (PHP Hypertext PreProcessor). In BL4NK you use this language together with the Joomla!™ API (Application Programmer Interface). Parameters extend the CMS capabilities. Using HTML and CSS we give form to the template. This can be extended by using LESS. Joomla!™ works by default with the Bootstrap framework, which comes with the JavaScript library jQuery. JavaScript libraries are ideally suited for special effects on your website. For example, slideshows, animated drop-down menus or tabbed content. You don't need to know much about XML (eXtended Markup Language). If you know how to work with the templateDetails.xml files, that's pretty much all you need to know.

Software? To understand BL4NK you need an editor. Everything else is optional and up to your preference. I recommend Sublime Text, available in a commercial and a trial version. Free alternatives are Notepad ++ (Windows), TextWrangler (Mac OS) or Gedit (Linux). Two add-ons to make your life easier: the Web Console in your browser and a code library (for example snippets in Sublime Text).

Are you in a hurry? In that case you can find a quick start into BL4NK in chapter "Getting Started".

In the chapter "Blank" the template is described in detail. It is a read only section and ideal for reading leisurely on the couch. However, it wasn't written as entertaining evening reading. For this chapter, you should be wide awake and focused. Read it in your best hours.

A "Bootstrap Tutorial" is also on board.

Still not deterred and eager on template design? Grab a cup of coffee and let's go!