Template Development Guide
You can make money or bring attention to your website by selling/offering WSN Forum themes. This page provides you with suggestions and considerations for the process.
Suggestions to keep in mind when developing a new theme:
- Develop with the multilingual template set. To get multilingual, simply select any non-English language during installation (you can select English too). An English-only version will be generated automatically by the packager when you're ready to distribute, while the reverse is impossible (an English-only theme cannot be used outside of the anglosphere).
- A theme can be just a stylesheet or it can be stylesheet+templates. Do as much as you can with the stylesheet and wrapper template. You can use a stylesheet+wrapper theme in all WSN scripts without any changes -- if you customize more internal templates you'll get into things that differ between the scripts and thus multiply your work.
- WSN's stylesheets are simplified. The ugly structural guts are in schemas/base.css but you should never modify that file. Instead, override anything base.css does that you want to change using your regular stylesheet styles/yourstyle.css, which loads last so it can always override. When trying to figure out how to change the appearance of an element, the "inspect element" option in web browsers can be very useful... or you can search the HTML source to spot for class="something" or id="something" identifiers. Try to keep the stylesheet as simple as you can for the sake of users who will be customizing it.
- Develop with all the switches on, so that you can see all the things which may show up in the templates. Ideally you shoud also test with various switches off when you're done to be sure it adjusts nicely.
- Remember that you can use any template variables and conditionals as you want, or even PHP. There are no limits to what you can do in templates.
- If you want to use new language items or custom fields, go for it — you can tell the template packager to include them when packaging your theme.
- Need to force some settings or switches to particular values? Use forceswitches.php for that. Need to run some setup code to complete the installation of your theme? Just put your code in installphp.wsn to have it executed at install time. Learn more about these two special files.
- When ready, use Admin Panel -> Themes -> Theme Packager to package your theme.
- Consider whether you want this to be a free or paid theme. Note that adding money-making affiliate links to free themes is allowed and many people won't bother taking them out.
- Announce your theme far and wide. Digital Point is a popular forum where you're encouraged to sell templates, and there are many other such places. Also please tell WSN support about it to recieve free advertising and possibly be included on the admin panel's theme installer page.
- Want to drive more sales? You can package your theme with a customized autosetup.php installer to sell your own branded version of WSN (to the world or just to your own clients, as you prefer). It's like having your own unique script, with very little work. Learn more about this in the cobranding guide.