Template Considerations During Migration

From Joomla! Documentation

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Templates sometimes throw people for a loop during a migration. It need not be so. With a little explanation things can become clear as to what your options are.

Intro

Templates are an extension. Just like components, modules, and plugins are extensions so is a template.

In a migration setting you will need to decide what to do about your current template (which determines the current “look and feel” of your site).

For the most part your template scenario will fit into one of the options below:

  • You are using a template that was purchased from a template club.
  • You are using a template that was a one time purchase from some template provider.
  • You had a custom template designed for you.
  • You are using a default template that came with your Joomla installation (Joomla! 1.5 default templates are Rhuk_milkyway, JA Purity, Beez and Joomla! 2.5 default templates are Atomic and two different versions of Beez). It may have been customised significantly or not at all.

Assessing your Template Scenario

Before deciding what to do, you will want to assess if you want to keep the existing look of your current website. If you want a change, this is the time to decide that. Perhaps the biggest reason you may want to change out your template is to utilize newer technology found in templates of the current day. Responsive templates were not available in 1.5 (unless you recently hired someone to make your 1.5 template mobile-friendly) and even at the beginning of the 2.5 life cycle, mobile versions of templates were slim and responsive not quite there yet.

Let’s take these scenarios one at a time:

You are using a template that was purchased from a template club

This is the easiest one - most of the time. If you purchased a template from a template club, go back to the company and see if they have a version of your template for Joomla 3.x. If so, excellent, with a few things to think about. If you’re running 1.5 going to 3.x, check to see if the version for Joomla 3 is responsive if that’s important to you. If you’re going from 1.5 to 3, chances are good that there will be some differences in the 1.5 version of the template and the 3 version of the template. Be prepared to make some customisations to the template if you want to get it to look exactly the same.

If you’re going from 2.5 to 3.x, check to see if the 2.5 and 3.x versions are packed in the same package from the developer. If they are not, check with the developer on steps to upgrade from Joomla 2.5 to 3.x. If 2.5 and 3.x are in the same package, you’re golden. If they’re not, you might still be golden. It just depends on the upgrade path of the developer.

You are using a template that was a one time purchase from some template provider

If you purchased a template from a template provider that was a one time purchase, go back to the company and see if there’s a version available for Joomla 3.x. If there isn’t, you’re probably out of luck. Yet you can try contacting someone from the company to see if they can update it for you and make it compatible with Joomla 3.x.

If that fails, then you will need to either:

  1. Choose a new template.
  2. Convert the template to be compatible with Joomla 3.x. (Note: may not be responsive.)

Item 1 is self explanatory. You can choose a template from a commercial provider or customise the Protostar default template (see more on Protostar below) that installs with Joomla 3.x. Item 2 not as simple. In order to convert your existing template to be compatible with Joomla 3, see the following section.

Template Conversions or Template Migrations

1.5 to 3 Template Conversions

1.5 to 2.5 Template Conversions

2.5 to 3 Template Conversions

You had a custom template designed for you

If you had a custom template designed for your 1.5 or 2.5 site, it will need to be converted to be compatible with Joomla 3. See links in the previous section. If you need to hire someone to convert your existing template to be compatible with Joomla 3.x, check out the Joomla! Resource Directory in either the Template Development or Migrations & Upgrades categories.

You are using a default template that came with your Joomla installation

Joomla! 1.5 default templates are Rhuk_milkyway, JA Purity, and Beez. Joomla! 2.5 default templates are Atomic and two different versions of Beez. It may have been customised significantly or not at all. If you are using a 2.5 default template and going to Joomla 3.x, you will be able to do a one-click update. If you are using a 1.5 default template then you will need to go through one of the steps above to update it for Joomla 3.x. (If someone finds this information incorrect, please contribute and fix it).

Before deciding if you want to convert your 1.5 template to Joomla 3, you may want to seriously consider finding a new template with similarities to your existing template. Chances are it will be cheaper and faster to use a new one then convert the old one. If you want to convert the old one and don’t have the skills to do it yourself, visit the Joomla! Resource Directory™.

When choosing templates

  • Only look at one template company at a time or it gets overwhelming
  • If you start to get overwhelmed, take a break even if that means another day
  • Try to look past the busy and flashy demos. You’re going to be putting your content into the template, not doing everything the template can do.
  • Look at the module positions and variations of the templates
  • Drink plenty of water while looking for templates and stretch every hour or so

Using the Protostar default template in Joomla 3.x

This section is incomplete. If you have knowledge in this topic, please participate by adding to this document. In the interim, a Google search on customising Protostar will yield you many results outside of Joomla! Docs.

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