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Skinning: Understanding A Template-Based System
Princeton
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,903

Joe Velez began developing for the web in 1998. He is an avid vBulletin user and volunteers his services as a vbulletin.org administrator. He currently spends his time maintaining and developing allnurses.com.

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by Princeton Princeton is offline 21 Aug 2006
Rating: (1 vote - 5.00 average)

vBulletin uses a "template-based system" to render all web pages.

In order to modify the design of your site, you will need to first understand WHAT? and WHY? a template-based system.

WHAT IS A TEMPLATE-BASED SYSTEM?
First of all, a template-based system (eg. vBulletin) is not the same as "templates" purchased at monstertemplate.com.

Template-based system are files used by a particular program (eg vBulletin) that are not complete HTML files - they contain only parts of the HTML that the system puts together to build a web page.

WHY A TEMPLATE-BASED SYSTEM?
Templating is an easy way to create a web site without a lot of work in maintaining a consistent look and feel across the entire site. For example, all you have to do is modify a template and the modifications will reflect across every web page.

SHOW ME AN EXAMPLE
Are you still puzzled? OK, let's jump right in and play with an example.

Let's say, we have 2 sections in our site: Site Policies and Site Rules.
To render these sections, we have a total of 4 templates.

TEMPLATE 1 (Template Name: PAGE)

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TEMPLATE 2 (Template Name: page_content)

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TEMPLATE 3 (Template Name: page_footer)

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TEMPLATE 4 (Template Name: page_sidebar)

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When visiting each section, the script will build the HTML by using the variables for the specific page and putting the following templates together: PAGE + page_sidebar + page_content + page_footer

The title and content for each page is as follow:
Variables for our policy page:
$title= 'Site Policies';
$text= 'Hello world! This are my policies...';
Variables for our rules page:
$title= 'Site Rules';
$text= 'In order to participate you must follow our rules...";
The Site Policies page will look this when completed:
tut_temp.gif
(click on thumbnail to view content)

The Site Rules page will look this when completed:
tut_temp2.gif
(click on thumbnail to view content)

Now, just imagine this on a larger scale ... let's say 1000's of pages; and, you need to modify the copyright notice.

Well, with a template-based system, all you have to do is modify the page_footer template; and the changes will be displayed on all your pages! Now, isn't that great?

What a great way to save time. Time is money!

So you see, the idea behind a "template-based system" is that you only have to write the HTML 1 time; and, you can use it over and over again. It's similar to CSS (that's another tutorial) -- you only have to write it once and it affects the whole site.

Last edited by Princeton; 23 Feb 2007 at 20:50..
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  #2  
Old 23 Aug 2006, 16:16
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smacklan smacklan is offline
 
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very good info Princeton...thanks!
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  #3  
Old 23 Aug 2006, 17:02
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Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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appreciate the comments

hopefully, it can help someone new to "Skinning vbulletin"
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Old 15 Oct 2006, 02:29
HPIA HPIA is offline
 
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A good article leaves not a doubt in my mind. Good work!
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Old 20 Mar 2007, 15:05
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Triky Triky is offline
 
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Nice tutorial, Princeton.
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  #6  
Old 26 Mar 2007, 00:21
cdembek cdembek is offline
 
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how are the templates stored.. I know they are stored in a DB but which table do they get stored in.. lets say the header, navbar and footer templates... good read.. thanks for the post
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Old 04 Apr 2007, 02:39
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Antivirus Antivirus is offline
 
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Are you asking which database table holds the templates?
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  #8  
Old 10 Apr 2007, 23:42
pappy1961 pappy1961 is offline
 
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I for one would be VERY Grateful to Princeton for many more of those type explanations.

By the way Princeton, you have a frsh start newbie goin right here!!

Last edited by pappy1961; 10 Apr 2007 at 23:43. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #9  
Old 16 Apr 2007, 14:51
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Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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thanks pappy ... when I have time, I'll write some new articles.
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  #10  
Old 16 Jun 2007, 03:58
mktrilogy mktrilogy is offline
 
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Is there a way to change one style and it also changes other styles that u have? or my question is not the same as ur topic ?
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  #11  
Old 18 Jun 2007, 15:33
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Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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I have no idea what you are referring to.

But I'm going to say .. no, it has nothing to do with this topic.
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  #12  
Old 30 Sep 2007, 20:41
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Pc 1203 Pc 1203 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by cdembek View Post
how are the templates stored.. I know they are stored in a DB but which table do they get stored in.. lets say the header, navbar and footer templates... good read.. thanks for the post
I'm also wondering about that.

- Pc1203
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  #13  
Old 07 Dec 2007, 15:56
S.McAvoy S.McAvoy is offline
 
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Same here
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Old 09 Dec 2007, 11:13
pyd pyd is offline
 
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Are there any complete "Walkthrouhgs" on how to create a complete style?
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  #15  
Old 23 Apr 2008, 22:13
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Jasem Jasem is offline
 
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Thank you very much
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