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Customizing the Web Lite Look and Feel

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The Xataface includes some powerful templating tools that give the developer the power to modify any part of the interface easily.

Introduction

How much can Web Lite's look be customized to suit your needs?

Xataface applications are extremely flexible when it comes fields, widgets, and relationships, but every application reaches a point where its look and feel need to be customized further.  Some examples of customizations might include:

  • Custom headers and footers.
  • Custom side bars - for menus or stock tickers, etc...
  • Custom logos
  • Custom views for certain tables or relationships

Xataface 0.5.3 would allow you to customize the header and footer with relative ease by overriding the header and footer templates, but Xataface 0.6 takes it a step further, allowing you more fine-grained control over what you customize and in what context it should be customized.

Getting started

Many of the customizations in this tutorial involve the creation of smarty templates.  Xataface expects to find your templates in a specific directory that you may have to create.  Hence before starting this tutorial, do the following:

  1. In your application's directory, confirm that there is a directory named 'templates'.  If there is not, then create it.
  2. Smarty needs to be able to store temporary compiled versions of your templates.  It will look to store these compiled templates in a directory named 'templates_c' in your application's directory.  If there is no such directory, or the directory is not writable by the web server, then it will use the Dataface/templates_c directory in the Xataface installation directory.  If you are running more than one Xataface application using the same Xataface installation you may run into conflicts by using the Dataface/templates_c directory for storing compiled templates.  Therefore, it is recommended to create a directory named 'templates_c' in your application's directory and make it writable by the web server. (e.g. chmod 0777 templates_c).

Your application's directory file structure should now look something like this:


skin_example_dir_structure_1.gif

You are now ready to begin customizing the look and feel of your Xataface application.


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