Developing Themes

October CMS Documentation Docs

Developing Themes

The theme directory could include the theme.yaml, version.yaml and assets/images/theme-preview.png files. These files are optional for the local development but required for themes published on the October CMS Marketplace.

# Theme Information File

The theme information file theme.yaml contains the theme description, the author name, URL of the author's website and some other information. The file should be placed to the theme root directory:

├── themes | └── website | ├── pages | ├── layouts | ├── partials | ├── content | ├── assets | └── theme.yaml <== Information File

The following fields are supported in the theme.yaml file:

Field Description
name specifies the theme name, required.
author specifies the author name, required.
homepage specifies the author website URL, required.
description the theme description, required.
previewImage custom preview image, path relative to the theme directory, eg: assets/images/preview.png, optional.
code the theme code, optional. The value is used on the October CMS marketplace for initializing the theme code value.
authorCode the theme author code, optional. The value is used on the October CMS marketplace for defining the theme owner.
form a configuration array or reference to a form field definition file, used for theme customization, optional.
require an array of plugin names used for theme dependencies, optional.

Example of the theme information file:

name: "October CMS Demo"
description: "Demonstrates the basic concepts of the front-end theming."
author: "October CMS"
homepage: ""
code: "Demo"
authorCode: "Acme"

# Version File

The theme version file version.yaml defines the current theme version and the change log. The file should be placed to the theme root directory.

├── themes | └── website | ├── ... | └── theme.yaml | └── version.yaml <== Version File

The file contains the following format.

v1.0.1: Theme initialization
v1.0.2: Added more features
v1.0.3: Some features are removed

# Theme Preview Image

The theme preview image is used in the back-end theme selector. The image file theme-preview.png should be placed to the theme's assets/images directory:

├── themes | └── website | ├── ... | └── assets | └── images | └── theme-preview.png <== Preview Image

The image width should be at least 600px. The ideal aspect ratio is 1.5, for example 600x400px.

# Theme Dependencies

A theme can depend on plugins by defining a require option in the Theme information file, the option should supply an array of plugin names that are considered requirements. A theme that depends on Acme.Blog and Acme.User can define this requirement like so:

name: "October CMS Demo"
# [...]

    - "Acme.User"
    - "Acme.Blog"

When the theme is installed for the first time, the system will attempt to install the required plugins at the same time. For a streamlined experience, consider adding these plugins to the composer depedency list as well.

# Theme Customization

Themes can support configuration values by defining a form key in the theme information file. This key should contain a configuration array or reference to a form field definition file, see form fields for more information.

The following is an example of how to define a website name configuration field called site_name:

name: My Theme
# [...]

            label: Site name
            comment: The website name as it should appear on the front-end
            default: My Amazing Site!

The value can then be accessed inside any of the Theme templates using the global Twig variable called this.theme.

<h1>Welcome to {{ this.theme.site_name }}!</h1>

You may also define the configuration in a separate file, where the path is relative to the theme. The following definition will source the form fields from the file config/fields.yaml inside the theme.

name: My Theme
# [...]

form: config/fields.yaml


        label: Site name
        comment: The website name as it should appear on the front-end
        default: My Amazing Site!

# Using Theme Data In CSS

Sometimes you want to include a visual preference inside your theme stylesheet. You may use CSS custom properties (variables) to make these values available. In the following example, we will use a Color Picker field type to specify a custom link color.

        # [...]

            label: Link color
            type: colorpicker

Using the above example we can define a CMS partial that passes the selected value to CSS using a local stylesheet. The partial is then included in the theme layout inside the <head> tag.

    :root {
        --my-color: {{ this.theme.link_color }};

Note: Custom property names are case sensitive so --my-color will be treated as a separate custom property to --My-color.

Now inside your stylesheet the custom property can be used anywhere by specifying the custom property name inside the var() function, in place of a regular property value.

a {
    color: var(--my-color);

# Localization

Themes can provide backend localization keys through files placed in the lang subdirectory of the theme's directory. These localization keys are registered automatically only when interacting with the October backend and can be used for form labels just like plugin localization

Note: Translating frontend content should be handled with the RainLab.Translate (opens new window) plugin.

# Localization File Structure

Below is an example of the theme's language directory.

├── themes | └── website | └── lang <== Localization Directory | ├── en | | └── lang.php <== Localization File | └── fr | └── lang.php

The lang.php file should define and return an array of any depth, for example:

return [
    'options' => [
        'website_name' => 'October CMS'

You are then able to reference the keys using theme.theme-code::lang.key. In the above example, the full language key you would use to reference the "website_name" localization key would be theme.acme::lang.options.website_name.