From b2evolution manual
//This man page refers to b2evolution version: 0.9//
What are evoSkins?
evoSkins are skins for your b2evolution blog. If you've ever used any skin-enabled software (like WinAMP) you probably get the idea! ;)
In a nutshell, evoSkins have two main benefits:
- Letting the user choose between different looks & feels which one he likes the most to read your blog.
- Being able share a single design between several blogs (wether they are on the same system or not).
As a blogger you can choose wether or not to use skins, wether or not to provide your readers with a choice of skins for each blog and in that case, which skins they can choose from.
What are SkinPacks?
b2evolution comes with a selection of skins from cool people who allowed their design to be included in the standard distribution.
You will find dozens of additional skins on http://skins.b2evolution.net/ that you can download in the form of zipped SkinPacks.
To use a skinpack, just unzip it into your /skins folder and the new skin will be immediately available. (Make sure however, that the skinpack you use is compatible with your specific version of b2evo).
What's the difference between evoSkins and a CSS style switcher?
Good question! Why do we need evoSkins when we already have CSS?
As a matter of fact, an evoSkin can be as simple as a custom CSS design. But evoSkins/SkinPacks include more than just color or style skinning information! Different evoSkins will vary not only in colors and style, but also in how they work.
Here are a few examples:
- Some evoSkins may have popups for comments while others display them inline;
- Some evoSkins may have a very light HTML footprint for use on Palm and mobile devices and others may have a full-featured output;
- Somes evoSkins may use plain standard HTML/XHTML, others XML, others WML, others cHTML, and others even FLASH! ( BTW, if you are a Flash designer and want to work on accessibility compliant Flash Blogging, please contact me! );
- Some evoSkins may display only a list of post titles until you click on them, others will act as traditional blogs.
Technically, in addition to color & style elements, evoSkins/SkinPacks also include **interface logic** and **templates** for the main screen, the comments screen, the stats screen, the user profile editing form, etc. There really is no limit to how complete and complex an evoSkin user interface can get.
Where are the skin files?
- In the folder /blogs/skins ; each subfolder is a different skin.
- You can delete skins by deleting their folder. You can add skins by adding/duplicating folders.
- The minimum requirement for a skin folder is to have a _main.php file inside. This is the main template for that particular skin.
How do readers select a skin?
- Most skins include a skin switcher (most often somewhere in a sidebar to the blog itself) listing all skins and allowing SiteVisitors to change them by a single click.
- You can also change skin by passing the parameter ?skin=skinname in the URL.
- Once a new skin is loaded, the selection is saved in a cookie.
How does the blogger choose a (default) skin?
- You can set the default skin (displayed when the reader hasn't selected one yet or when the selection doesn't exist any more) on the blogs properties screen in the admin.
- You could also override this setting in a stub file.
- You can also force a skin -- thus preventing a blog to be displayed in any other than the intended skin -- by unchecking "allow skin switching" in the admin.
How can I make my own skin?
- In a nutshell: by editing the templates in the skin folders.
- To customize your own skin, it is recommended you edit the Templates of the custom skin (located in /blogs/skins/custom ).
- If needed you can use the "Templates" menu in the backoffice. Though, it will probably be easier if you use an HTML **code** editor. WYSIWYG editors are not recommended.
- The main template for a skin is named _main.php.
- Depending on skins, you may also find sub templates that will get conditionnaly included by the main template. Common sub-templates are:
- _archives.php : This is the template that displays the links to the archives for a blog
- _categories.php : This is the template that displays the (recursive) list of (sub)categories
- _feedback.php : This is the template that displays the feedback (comments, pingbacks, trackbacks) for a post
- _lastcomments.php : This is the template that displays the links to the last comments for a blog
- _main.php : This is the main template. It displays the blog.
- _stats.php : This is the template that displays stats for a blog
The skin folder will also include all other files used by the skin: CSS, images, etc.