Use existing master pages or start from scratch? - Front- & Back-End Development - Front- & Back-End Development - Progress Community
 Front- & Back-End Development

Use existing master pages or start from scratch?

  • Use existing master pages or start from scratch?
  • I looked through the documentation regarding using existing master pages and was excited to see that keeping my existing design and layout was going to be relatively easy.  So I created a template using a stripped down version of one of my master page and created a theme that uses the master page's stylesheet.

    My joy was shortlived once I realized that any built-in styling I get if I use Sitefinity's "Basic" theme goes away once I use my own theme. I'm sure I'm missing something here, but it appears I have 3 options;

    1. start with the "Basic" theme and try to recreate the design using a blank template and adding layout elements and styling each of them with wrapper classes.

    2. Use my master page and create css for everything else (a very ugly option).

    3. Try to adapt an existing marketplace theme to my design.  Not really sure this is a valid route as very few of the themes (if any) have ecommerce support so I'd need to create css for all of the shopping cart, product, checkout, etc., elements.

    I'm sure I'm probably looking at this the wrong way so any advice anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks -- Steve
  • Hey Steve,

    Sorry you're running into me again...

    Well you're right, Sitefinity themes operate similarly to ASP.NET themes, its either the one or the other. Just to make sure we're on the same page, Sitefinity uses different themes for the backend and the frontend. So when you're starting with a new theme, the backend (Sitefinity management bits) won't loose its styling.

    You could also copy/paste the existing basic theme to your own theme and enhance/delete anything from there, using the basic theme as a starting point. 

    However using basic first and then overriding with new styles leads to double styling/clutter and results in heavy loading and sometimes glitches. (basic themes floats left for instance but you override it to float right)

    Wrapper classes are unavoidable, whatever option you take. Just for fun set your font-size in the body tag to 20px and go look at what it affects. Wrappers are an intricate part of modern web design so you won't be able to avoid them.

    I'm sure soon some ecommerce themes will show up on the Marketplace. With the recent release of v4.3 they've finalized the checkout process and introduced the department widgets so its just a matter of time before someone will use them in a template.


    I think most people start from scratch, with a blank theme and gradually build the entire site from there. Everyone has their unique idea on how a site should look and client taste often differs between sites. Firebug's (Mozilla's awesome web developers extension) css panel will be your biggest friend. 

    Create the style rules you need and copy/paste in whatever you like from the basic theme. This will make sure you've got the smallest and most optimized style set for the project.

  • Hi Jochem,

    It's me who should apologize ;)

    Thanks for the informative response.  I think I'll copy and paste the basic theme rules as a starting point and fine tune and clean up from there.  This should hopefully get me up and running quickly.  Once I have something that works I can continue to fine tune.