Simple:Press 5.0 Preview: Themes

Posted on Jun 24, 2011

It has been no secret for a long time now that one of our major goals for Simple:Press version 5.0 has been the replacement of our now tired old skins and icon sets with proper themes – and we are pleased to deliver on that promise.

Themes are the heart and soul of version 5.0 and the entire code base has been completely rewritten to accommodate them and to make customisation that much simpler for our end users. Every element of the forum has it’s own, unique function or tag, with dedicated parameters that can determine the placement and look of that element.

Like WordPress itself, an SP theme consists of a set number of templates – Group View, Forum View, Topic View, Search View, Profile View, Members View etc. Each of these templates has a set of functions or tags appropriate for that view that can be arranged to suit the users preferred layout. And if there is an element you don’t want – well – just remove it! If a new plugin comes along you want to add to your forum – just add the appropriate tags where you want them.

We have also introduced ‘Overlays’. These are simple colour variants that overlay the main theme CSS file that quickly change the colours and other display features making customisation and matching of overall site themes that much easier and quicker to achieve.

And for the purists out there – version 5.0, gone are the use of HTML tables for layout! Also – most icons are optional. Change the parameters to the function call and immediately turn an icon into a standard link or into a styled button.

The illustration above depicts part of the new admin panel where themes are selected and shows our base theme which has been constructed to match fairly closely to previous versions of Simple:Press. Jokingly called ‘twentyeleven’ in honour of WordPress it will be one of the base themes provided when Simple:Press version 5.0 is released.

And finally – we aim to enable two themes to be selected at any one time – one for standard browsers and a second one for use by mobile devices that will allow for the smaller display and can be slimmer in terms of the data and elements used.