Building my blog Part IV: Creating a theme for dasBlog

Like many people I wanted to add my own personal touch to my blog and creating a theme was high on my list. My first task was finding a simple CSS based layout that included the typical three columns, header and footer. Back in August of 2004, I blogged about a three column layout I’d created and thought it only appropriate to put it to real world use so if you reading this from my website the layout is pretty much the same one I posted two and a half years ago.

DasBlog is very easy to theme and you can use any HTML as your site template which provides a huge amount of flexibility not to mention it includes over 20 themes so there are lots of starting points. To create a new theme you’ll need to do the following:

  • Create a new directory under the dasBlog’s themes directory
  • Copy the files of an existing theme into the new directory
  • Tweak the various CSS and *.blogtemplate files to your liking
  • Edit SiteConfig\site.config and change the <theme> tag to the name of the directory you created above
  • Edit themes\yourthemename\theme.manifest and set the attributes of the <theme> tag accordingly.

I used some of the files from a theme called “dasblog” primarily because it has dasblog.css which defines CSS classes for all of the elements used in dasBlog which is a real time saver. Along with the HTML markup a dasBlog theme template contains macros which at runtime, render the various blog elements and appear like the following in your template:

<%newtelligence.search()%>

This particular macro renders the Search box in the upper right corner of my blog. Do worry though even though it’s an ASP.NET application you really won’t need ASP.NET experience to create your own theme. Another nice thing is that I’ve yet to run into a macro that doesn’t allow for theming.

Where to get theme ideas

There are lots of resources on the web related to design, here a few that I look at for ideas:

If there is interest I’ll make my site design available just let me know.

Reference: Part I, Part II, Part III

Update: Fixed Part III URL

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