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Custom Templates Very hard to Make for Non Programmer

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9 Posts   3296 Views


Community Member, 7 Posts

9 November 2008 at 4:11pm

Edited: 10/11/2008 4:09pm

Hello Silverstripe People,

I think Silverstripe is a great CMS, the number one positive point being the ability to serve static pages for high traffic sites

Unfortunately for someone like myself who knows CSS well but is not a php programmer, Silverstripe is nothing less than a nightmare to make a custom theme for.

I first tried to make my own theme, but it was rejected with syntax errors even though the dsign itself was perfect

The second time I used the never give up mentality and redisigned the standard black candy theme, changing the menu and adding an extra body div, then set file permissions to Sivertripe standard for all files.

The result: Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /tmp/silverstripe-cache-home-miserp-public_html/ on line 86

There is not even a line 86 in the template

Seriously, if the template was not so entwined with php programming or what ever makes it so finickally entwined with the code, then non Rocket Scientists would be able to make a custom theme for silvertripe. As of now I say Elxis here I come


Community Member, 791 Posts

10 November 2008 at 2:01am

I really don't understand what you find complicated about the Silverstripe templating system ? In my opinion , the (almost) complete separation between the templates and the code is the beauty of Silverstripe !

I had a quick look at the templating system in Elxis which to me tastes like Mambo/Joomla (which offer far less freedom and are a developers nightmare)....

Could you elaborate on what it is you miss in the Silverstripe system? Maybe there's something to be learned here.


Community Member, 3 Posts

10 November 2008 at 5:41am

Hmm, I've just decided I'm going to try to use SilverStripe, I installed it a few hours ago and confess to being a little overwhelmed. In a good way and a confusing way. There's a wealth of features that just work, which is great, but it's a bit hard to work out where I should begin...

I'm able to edit a few values in PHP and I'm proficient in XHTML and CSS - is this enough to let me be able to create my own templates by carving up standard HTML pages?

The documentation seems a little scattered too, it would be awesome if there was a video DVD or a nice fat book I could buy that'd guide me through everything.

Overall I'm very excited, but just not sure how to start. I suspect I'll have the same problems as poonk if I just wade in, even though that is my usual strategy.


Community Member, 470 Posts

10 November 2008 at 7:47am

I couldn't disagree more with the original post. I have no idea how you can possibly say this template system is complex and hard to understand. It uses a basic html page with defined variables within it. That's it. There is no huge logic (controls, if statements etc, yes). It is along the same concept as the Smarty template language and others. I don't think it gets easier than that.

If you can't figure this out, I have no idea how you'll do better with other systems, but good luck none the less.

As for the above poster, you should be fine with setting up custom templates with your knowledge. The template part is easy with no PHP knowledge, it would only be a good benefit to have that if you really want to extend and develop SS further for very custom stuff.

There is a book in the works, German for now, with I believe a free pdf one in the future? Or was planned anyway. There are also some videos and tutorials to follow, but not many. Will be cleaned up in the future.

Documentation isn't the best in terms of organization, but that tends to happen with a lot of Open Source stuff. Doesn't make it right, but it's the nature of the beast with so much information (information overload).

To start, I'd follow the tutorials as they take you from basic understanding to a little bit more complex.


Community Member, 3 Posts

10 November 2008 at 9:10am

Thanks, I will, I'd definately buy the book or a DVD or big old cave wall with heiroglyphics on it or whatever. It's always ironic with open source projects, that the community who could help to document are often held back from knowing enough to be able to help by the lack of documentation....

Still I'll get learnin' and see if I can eventually pitch in and help in any way I can. I want to learn it all, PHP, MySQL but it's just finding a starting point that's tricky. As soon as I know enough to start using it, I can justify putting plenty of time into it.

Thanks for your reply.


Community Member, 7 Posts

10 November 2008 at 3:39pm

Edited: 11/11/2008 1:01am

thanks for the replies people, It seams that most posters in this thread have found silverstripe very easy to theme.

I can understand in theory how the silverstripe snippets are supposed to be placed in a theme and it doesn't look hard or complex. But when everything looks right compared to blackcandy theme, permisions are set the same as the standard theme and I am still hit by syntax errors, there is no where to go from there.

At least with mambo based Elxis or something like Drupal or even something like Concrete5, if you make a template even if you stuff something up you still get your website come up with your theme on it, then you can figure out how to improve on your work from there. If like with Silverstripe I am hit with a white page and syntax errors then I have hit a wall

I am wondering how many other people have had this syntax error problem when trying to change the design and if so, how did you finally manage to avoid this problem? (as mentioned I even get syntax errors if I modify the standard theme, different menu, extra div, change colors etc)

I have even tried another fresh installation after checking all files, but same result, extract from home page:
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /tmp/silverstripe-cache-home-funko-public_html/ on line 86

If anyone knows why I am getting this Syntax error, please let me know, this is the only thing holding my theme from working as far as I can see

The reason I wanted to theme Silverstripe in the first place is that I thought it to be the best cms I had come accross when I found it


Community Member, 7 Posts

12 November 2008 at 2:21am

Edited: 12/11/2008 3:17am

I worked out what was causing the syntax errors in my themes : )

I had put get year in PHP in the footer

If anyone else gets syntax errors with their theme, make sure you have not mixed any PHP into the html

Then your theme will work and the syntax errors will disappear


Community Member, 791 Posts

12 November 2008 at 3:11am

Good to hear you figured it out Poonk , keep us informed about your Silverstripe endeavors !

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