Creating Page Templates

A page template for use with Comanche requires two files - a PHP template and a CSS file. Page templates will need to be installed by the system administrator of your site.

First choose a name. Here we'll create a template and call it "demo".

You will need to create the files "view/php/demo.php" and "view/css/demo.css" to hold the PHP template and CSS respectively.

To get a better idea of this process, let's look at an existing template - the "default" template. This is used by default throughout the application.

view/php/default.php

<!DOCTYPE html >
<html>
<head>
    <title><?php if(x($page,'title')) echo $page['title'] ?></title>
    <script>var baseurl="<?php echo $a->get_baseurl() ?>";</script>
    <?php if(x($page,'htmlhead')) echo $page['htmlhead'] ?>
</head>
<body>
    <?php if(x($page,'nav')) echo $page['nav']; ?>
    <aside id="region_1"><?php if(x($page,'aside')) echo $page['aside']; ?></aside>
    <section id="region_2"><?php if(x($page,'content')) echo $page['content']; ?>
        <div id="page-footer"></div>
        <div id="pause"></div>
    </section>
<aside id="region_3"><?php if(x($page,'right_aside')) echo $page['right_aside']; ?></aside>      
<footer><?php if(x($page,'footer')) echo $page['footer']; ?></footer>
</body>
</html>    

Here's is the corresponding CSS file

view/php/default.css

aside#region_1 {
    display: block;
    width: 210px;
    position: absolute;
    top: 65px;
    left: 0;
    margin-left: 10px;
}

aside input[type='text'] {
    width: 174px;
}


section {
    position: absolute;
    top: 65px;
    left: 250px;
    display: block;
    right: 15px;
    padding-bottom: 350px;
}

Some things you may notice when looking at these definitions:

  • We have not specified any CSS for the "nav", "right_aside", or "footer" regions. In this template "nav" and "footer" will be the full page width and we will let the size and placement of these elements be controlled by the theme. "right_aside" is not currently used.

  • There are elements on the page such as "page-footer" and "pause" for which there is no apparent content. This content will come from Javascript elements.

  • Our default template uses absolute positioning. Modern web design often uses "float" div containers so that scrollbars aren't typically needed when viewing on small-screen devices.

To design a new template, it is best to start with an existing template, and modify it as desired. That is what we will do here.

The way that Comanche provides content inside a specific region is by using a region tag.

[region=aside][widget=profile][/widget][/region]

This example will place a "profile" widget in the "aside" region. But what it actually does is place the HTML for the widget into a code variable $page['aside']. Our default page template defines a region on the page (the CSS positions this as an absolute sidebar) and then inserts the contents of $page['aside'] (if it exists).

So if you wanted to create a template with a region named "foo", you would provide a place for it on the page, then include the contents of $page['foo'] wherever you wanted to use it, and then using Comanche, you could specify

[region=foo][widget=profile][/widget][/region]

and this would place a profile widget into the "foo" region you created.

Use the CSS file to position the region on the page where desired and optionally control its size.

[To be continued]