Brian's Blog Homepage
design a joomla template
design a joomla template

Actually this article should really be titled "How NOT to make a Joomla template".

I've blogged in the past about using Joomla Template Clubs and software to create your own joomla template and I know many people like to design their own template from scratch.

But there is still a significant number of people who just take one of the three default Joomla templates and modify them to suit their needs.

If you are one of those people then this is especially at you.

There is nothing wrong with taking Beez, Purity or Milkyway and editing it but please modify a copy of the template and not the original.

Why does this matter?

It's simple really, if you modify the original template then you run the risk of losing some or all of your modifications the next time you update Joomla as the templates are often updated - not just the core code.

And you do keep your installation of Joomla up to date don't you?

How can I do this?

Perhaps the most common explanation I've heard is that you don't know how, or can't be bothered with the hassle, of creating an installable template. But the funny thing with Joomla templates is that you don't have to install them, you can just create a new sub-directory for the template in the /templates directory.

So if you have decided to build your site using your own modified version of one of the default templates this is what you need to do before you make any modifications.

It's very easy and just needs an ftp programme and a text editor.

  1. Create a new subdirectory for the template eg /templates/mytemplate
  2. Copy the default template you are planning to work with into that directory
  3. edit the templateDetails.xml in the new directory

All you have to edit in the xml file is the text between the tags, but you can change the other tags as well if you want to.

If you don't change the < name > everything will still work but you just won't be able to easily tell in joomla which is the original and which is the new template as they will have the same name.

Oops I modified the default template what can I do now?

Don't panic!!!

Just follow the advice above and then in the joomla template manager make sure that you make the new template the default.

Now you are able to safely update your joomla installation with any new release, and Joomla 1.5.15 should be out soon, without losing all your template modifications.

J o o m l a !

Brian Teeman

Brian Teeman

Who is Brian?

As a co-founder of Joomla! and OpenSourceMatters Inc I've never been known to be lacking an opinion or being too afraid to express it.

Despite what some people might think I'm a shy and modest man who doesn't like to blow his own trumpet or boast about achievements.

Where is Brian?