1. AdvSearch
      1. AdvSearch.AdvSearch
        1. AdvSearch.AdvSearch.tpl
        2. AdvSearch.Advsearch.paging1Tpl
        3. AdvSearch.AdvSearch.paging0Tpl
        4. AdvSearch.AdvSearch.containerTpl
        5. Advsearch.AdvSearch.extractTpl
      2. AdvSearch.AdvSearchHelp
        1. AdvSearch.AdvSearchHelp.helplinkTpl
      3. AdvSearch.AdvSearchForm
        1. Advsearch.AdvSearchForm.tpl
    2. userTools
    3. ActivationEmail
    4. BotBlockX
    5. CacheClear
    6. CacheMaster
    7. Canonical
    8. Captcha
    9. CaseInsensitiveURLS
    10. ClassExtender
    11. ConstantContact
    12. ConvertDatabaseCharset
    13. DefaultResourceGroup
    14. DefaultUserGroup
    15. DirWalker
    16. EmailResource
    17. EZfaq
    18. FileUpload
    19. FixedPre
    20. getDynaDescription
    21. GoRevo
    22. LexiconHelper
    23. LogLogins
    24. LogPageNotFound
    25. MandrillX
    26. MessageManager
    27. NewsPublisher
    28. Notify
    29. ObjectExplorer
    30. Orphans
    31. Personalize
    32. QuickEmail
    33. ReflectBlock
    34. RefreshCache
    35. SiteAtoZ
    36. SiteCheck
    37. SizeMatters
    38. SPForm
    39. StageCoach
    40. Subscribe
    41. SyntaxHighlighter
    42. ThermX
    43. UpgradeMODX
    44. cookieJar
    45. getYoutube
    46. aliasid
    47. AddHeaderfiles
    48. AjaxUpload
    49. amazonSES mailing list
    50. Analytics
    51. Archivist
      1. Archivist.Archivist
        1. Archivist.Archivist.tpl
      2. Archivist.ArchivistGrouper
      3. Archivist.getArchives
        1. Archivist.getArchives.tpl
    52. Articles
      1. Articles.Theming Articles
      2. Articles.Roadmap
      3. Articles.Retrieving Articles Outside of Articles
      4. Articles.Creating a Blog
    53. Babel
      1. Babel.BabelLinks
      2. Babel.BabelTranslation
    54. BannerX
    55. BannerY
    56. Batcher
      1. Batcher.Roadmap
    57. bdListings
      1. bdListings.bdCategories
      2. bdListings.bdHookNewListing
      3. bdListings.bdListings
      4. bdListings.bdPriceGroups
      5. bdListings.bdRedirect
      6. bdListings.bdTargets
    58. boilerX
      1. bx-head-open
      2. bx-head-append
      3. bx-head-close
      4. bx-container-open
      5. bx-container-close
      6. bx-bottom-open
      7. bx-bottom-close
    59. BreadCrumb
      1. BreadCrumb.containerTpl
      2. BreadCrumb.currentCrumbTpl
      3. BreadCrumb.linkCrumbTpl
      4. BreadCrumb.maxCrumbTpl
      5. BreadCrumb.categoryCrumbTpl
      6. BreadCrumb.homeCrumbTpl
    60. Breadcrumbs
    61. BxrExtra
    62. cachebuster
    63. CamperManagement
      1. CamperManagement.Customizing the Component
      2. CamperManagement.Developing the front-end
        1. CamperManagement.cmCamperDetails Snippet
        2. CamperManagement.cmCampers Snippet
        3. CamperManagement.Placeholders you can use
      3. CamperManagement.Managing your vehicle
      4. CamperManagement.Module home
    64. Church Events Calendar
      1. ChurchEvents.MODX Manager functions
      2. ChurchEventsCalendar Snippet
        1. ChurchEvents.Managing events
      3. ChurchEventsList Snippet
      4. ChurchEventsRss Snippet
    65. Cliche
    66. ClientConfig
    67. CMPGenerator
      1. CMPGenerator.5 minute example
      2. CMPGenerator.Foreign Databases
    68. Collections
    69. ContextRouter
    70. CookieList
    71. CronManager
    72. cssSweet
      1. cssSweet.lighten
      2. cssSweet.modval
      3. cssSweet.prefix
    73. CustomUrls
    74. Databackup
    75. Discuss
      1. Discuss.ChunkMap
      2. Discuss.Contributing
      3. Discuss.Controllers
        1. Discuss.Controllers.board
          1. Discuss.Controllers.board.xml
        2. Discuss.Controllers.home
        3. Discuss.Controllers.login
        4. Discuss.Controllers.logout
        5. Discuss.Controllers.profile
        6. Discuss.Controllers.register
        7. Discuss.Controllers.search
        8. Discuss.Controllers.thread
      4. Discuss.Creating a Discuss Theme
      5. Discuss.Database Model
      6. Discuss.Features
      7. Discuss.Getting Started
      8. Discuss.Installation
        1. Discuss.Installation from Git
      9. Discuss.Roadmap
      10. Configuring Sphinx for Search
    76. DitsNews
    77. Eletters
      1. Eletters.API
      2. Eletters.FormIt
      3. Eletters.Import CSV
      4. Eletters.Templates
    78. EventManager
      1. EventManager.emListEvents
      2. EventManager.emNewReservationHook
    79. eventsCalendar2
      1. eventsCalendar2.eventsCalendar2
      2. eventsCalendar2.Generating events
      3. eventsCalendar2.tplCalendar2
      4. eventsCalendar2.tplCell2
      5. eventsCalendar2.tplEvent2
      6. eventsCalendar2.tplHead2
    80. EventsX
      1. EventsX.Examples
    81. ExerPlan
    82. fastField
    83. FileDownload R
      1. FileDownload R.FileDownload
      2. FileDownload R.FileDownloadLink
      3. FileDownload R.Plugins
    84. FileLister
      1. FileLister.FileLister
        1. FileLister.FileLister.directoryTpl
        2. FileLister.FileLister.fileLinkTpl
        3. FileLister.FileLister.fileTpl
        4. FileLister.FileLister.pathTpl
      2. FileLister.Roadmap
    85. FirstChildRedirect
    86. Flexibility
    87. ForcedPasswdChange
    88. FormIt
      1. FormIt.FormItCountryOptions
      2. FormIt.FormItRetriever
      3. FormIt.FormItStateOptions
      4. FormIt.Hooks
        1. FormIt.Hooks.email
        2. FormIt.Hooks.FormItAutoResponder
        3. FormIt.Hooks.math
        4. FormIt.Hooks.recaptcha
        5. FormIt.Hooks.redirect
        6. FormIt.Hooks.spam
        7. FormIt.Hooks.FormItSaveForm
      5. FormIt.Roadmap
      6. FormIt.Tutorials and Examples
        1. FormIt.Examples.Custom Hook
        2. FormIt.Examples.Simple Contact Page
        3. FormIt.Handling Selects, Checkboxes and Radios
        4. FormIt.Using a Blank NoSpam Field
        5. Form and anchors
      7. FormIt.Validators
    89. FormIt2db
    90. FormitFastPack
      1. FormitFastPack Tutorial
      2. fieldSetDefaults
      3. field
      4. fiGenerateReport
      5. fiProcessArrays
    91. FormSave
    92. FoundationX
      1. FoundationX.How to Use FoundationX
    93. FX2themebase
      1. FX2.How to Use FX2
        1. FX2.For Theme Authors
      2. FX2.Included Extras
    94. Gallery
      1. Gallery.Example1
      2. Gallery.Gallery
        1. Gallery.Gallery.containerTpl
        2. Gallery.Gallery.thumbTpl
        3. Assigning a Gallery album to a specifc resource
      3. Gallery.GalleryAlbums
        1. Gallery.GalleryAlbums.rowTpl
        2. Gallery.GalleryAlbums.containerTpl
      4. Gallery.GalleryItem
        1. Gallery.GalleryItem.albumTpl
        2. Gallery.GalleryItem.GalleryItemPagination
        3. Gallery.GalleryItem.tagTpl
        4. Gallery.GalleryItem.tpl
      5. Gallery.Plugins
        1. Gallery.Plugins.Galleriffic
        2. Gallery.Plugins.Slimbox
      6. Gallery.Roadmap
      7. Gallery.Setting Up the GalleryItem TV
      8. Gallery.Setting Up Your Gallery
    95. GatewayManager
    96. gCal
    97. getDate
    98. getFeed
      1. getFeed.Adding a Twitter Feed
    99. getPage
    100. getRelated
    101. getResourceField
    102. getResources
      1. getResources.Examples
        1. getResources.Building a RSS feed
        2. getResources.Category Index Page with Thumbnails
        3. getResources.Google XML Sitemap
    103. getUrlParam
    104. getRTImages
    105. getVimeo
    106. GoogleSiteMap
      1. GoogleSiteMap.GoogleSiteMap
        1. GoogleSiteMap.GoogleSiteMap.containerTpl
        2. GoogleSiteMap.GoogleSiteMap.itemTpl
      2. GoogleSiteMap.Roadmap
      3. GoogleSiteMapVersion1
    107. GridClassKey
    108. HandyMan
      1. HandyMan.Frequently Asked Questions
      2. HandyMan.Installation
      3. HandyMan.Roadmap
    109. Hits
    110. HitsPage
    111. HybridAuth
      1. HybridAuth.Integrating Facebook
      2. HybridAuth.Integrating Google
      3. HybridAuth.Integrating Twitter
      4. HybridAuth.Integrating VK.com
    112. If
    113. Image+
    114. imageHERE
    115. ImageStyles
    116. ImportX
    117. LexRating
    118. Lingua
    119. Login
      1. Login.ChangePassword
      2. Login.ConfirmRegister
      3. Login.ForgotPassword
      4. Login.Login
      5. Login.Profile
      6. Login.Register
        1. Register.Example Form 1
      7. Login.ResetPassword
      8. Login.Roadmap
      9. Login.Tutorials
        1. Login.Basic Setup
        2. Login.Extended User Profiles
        3. Login.Request Membership
        4. Login.User Profiles
        5. Login.Using Custom Fields
        6. Login.Using Pre and Post Hooks
      10. Login.UpdateProfile
    120. Loginza
      1. Loginza.Loginza
      2. tpl.Loginza.login
      3. tpl.Loginza.logout
      4. tpl.Loginza.profile
    121. mChimpX
    122. MetaX
    123. mhPayPal
      1. mhPayPal.Snippet Usage
        1. mhPayPal.Snippet Usage.Hooks
        2. mhPayPal.Snippet Usage.Templating
    124. MIGX
      1. MIGX.Backend-Usage
      2. MIGX.Data-Entry
      3. MIGX.Frontend-Usage
      4. MIGX.Tutorials
        1. MIGX.Fancybox-images with seperate placeholders in Richtext-Content
        2. MIGX.Simple opening hours table
        3. Using resource-specific mediasource and multifile-uploader with MIGX
        4. MIGX.Varying layout-boxes
          1. MIGX.Varying layout-boxes.Configurator-Version
        5. Creating Selectable and Sortable lists for MIGX
        6. MIGX.sortable resourcelist
        7. Using resource-specific mediasource and multifile-uploader with MIGX (Old Version)
        8. MIGX.Using Grid Inline Editing
    125. MIGXdb
      1. MIGXdb.Configuration
      2. MIGXdb.Tutorials
        1. MIGXdb.Create a basic gallery-management from scratch with MIGXdb
          1. Add resource-specific mediasource and multifile-uploader to the gallery
          2. Add Image-Tagging to the Gallery
        2. MIGXdb.Create doodles manager with help of MIGXdb
        3. MIGXdb.Manage Child-Resources in a grid-TV with help of MIGXdb
        4. MIGXdb.Manage Events-Resources in a CMP with help of MIGXdb
      3. MigxCalendars
    126. MinifyX
    127. miniShop2
      1. miniShop.Screenshots
    128. modActiveDirectory
    129. ModDef
    130. modExtra
    131. modMobile
    132. modSwiftMailer
    133. mxCalendar
      1. mxCalendar.Examples
      2. mxCalendar.Placeholders
    134. mxExtendedMenu
    135. mxFormBuilder
      1. mxFormBuilder.Create Form
      2. mxFormBuilder.Hooks
      3. mxFormBuilder.Field Types
      4. mxFormBuilder.Create Form List in TV
      5. mxFormBuilder.Fields
    136. mxHasTvs
    137. MoneyBird
      1. MoneyBird.Contacts
      2. MoneyBird.Invoices
      3. MoneyBird.NrFormat
    138. ObfuscateEmail-Revo
    139. PackMan
      1. PackMan.Roadmap
    140. PageBreaker
      1. PageBreaker.PageBreaker
      2. tpl.PageBreaker.ajax
      3. tpl.PageBreaker.navigation
    141. Peoples
      1. Peoples.PeopleGroup
        1. Peoples.PeopleGroup.userTpl
      2. Peoples.PeopleGroups
        1. Peoples.PeopleGroups.tpl
      3. Peoples.Peoples
        1. Peoples.Peoples.tpl
      4. Peoples.Roadmap
    142. PHP Tidy (plugin)
    143. phpThumbOf
    144. Polls
      1. Polls.Polls
      2. Polls.PollsLatest
      3. Polls.PollsPrevious
      4. Polls.PollsResult
    145. POI Manager
    146. QuickCrumbs
      1. QuickCrumbs.Example
    147. Quip
      1. Quip.Quip
        1. Quip.Quip.tplComment
        2. Quip.Quip.tplCommentOptions
        3. Quip.Quip.tplComments
        4. Quip.Quip.tplReport
      2. Quip.QuipCount
      3. Quip.QuipLatestComments
      4. Quip.QuipReply
        1. Quip.QuipReply.tplAddComment
        2. Quip.QuipReply.tplLoginToComment
        3. Quip.QuipReply.tplPreview
      5. Quip.QuipRss
      6. Quip.Roadmap
      7. Quip.Upgrading
        1. Quip.Upgrading to 1.0.1
    148. Rampart
      1. Rampart.hook.RampartFormIt
      2. Rampart.hook.RampartQuip
      3. Rampart.preHook.RampartRegister
    149. Redirector
    150. renderResources
    151. ResourceWatcher
    152. RezImgCrop
    153. Rowboat
      1. Rowboat.Rowboat
    154. sekFancyBox
      1. sekFancyBox & Gallery
    155. sekFormTools
      1. sekFormTools.input.autocomplete
      2. sekFormTools.input.combobox
      3. sekFormTools.input.datepicker
      4. sekFormTools.input.helper
      5. sekFormTools.input.textfield
      6. sekFormTools Advanced Examples
    156. sekSiteTools
      1. sekSiteTools.easytabs
      2. sekSiteTools.google.analytics
      3. sekSiteTools.printdiv
    157. sekUserGalleries
      1. sekUserGalleries.album.items.helper
      2. sekUserGalleries.album.items.manage
      3. sekUserGalleries.album.manage
      4. sekUserGalleries.album.view
      5. sekUserGalleries.browse.galleries
      6. sekUserGalleries.directory
      7. sekUserGalleries.image.information
      8. sekUserGalleries.search
      9. sekUserGalleries.users.gallery.manage
      10. sekUserGalleries.users.gallery.view
    158. selfLink
    159. Shopkeeper
    160. siblingNav
    161. SimpleCart
    162. SimpleSearch
      1. SimpleSearch.Roadmap
      2. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearch
        1. SimpleSearch.Faceted Search Through PostHooks
        2. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearch.containerTpl
        3. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearch.currentPageTpl
        4. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearch.pageTpl
        5. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearch.tpl
      3. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearchForm
        1. SimpleSearch.SimpleSearchForm.tpl
      4. SimpleSearch.Solr
    163. SiteEditor
    164. sitemapFriend
    165. Slideshow Manager
      1. jgSlideshow Snippet
      2. Slideshow Manager CMP
    166. sLink
    167. SmartOptimizer
    168. SmartTag
    169. StatCache
    170. SocialLogin
    171. SocialSuite
      1. SocialSuite.getFacebookPhotos
      2. SocialSuite.getFacebookProfile
      3. SocialSuite.getFacebookShares
      4. SocialSuite.getGooglePlusShares
      5. SocialSuite.getTwitterProfile
      6. SocialSuite.prettyNumbers
    172. spieFeed
    173. StaticSaver
    174. StoreLocator
    175. SubscribeMe
      1. SubscribeMe.Configuring API Credentials, IPN and going Live
      2. SubscribeMe.Setting up the Payment Flow
        1. SubscribeMe - Listing the Products
        2. SubscribeMe - Setting up the Payment Methods
        3. SubscribeMe - Subscription Confirmation Page
      3. SubscribeMe.User Account Management
    176. SyntaxChecker
    177. Tagger
    178. TaggingAtoZ
    179. tagLister
      1. tagLister.getResourcesTag
      2. tagLister.tagLister
        1. tagLister.tagLister.all
        2. tagLister.tagLister.tpl
      3. tagLister.tolinks
        1. tagLister.tolinks.tpl
    180. TinyMCE
      1. TinyMCE.Spellchecker
      2. TinyMCE.Table controls
      3. TinyMCE.Template
    181. Upload to Users CMP
    182. VersionX
      1. VersionX.Roadmap
    183. virtuNewsletter
      1. Mailgun integration
    184. Wayfinder
      1. Wayfinder Introductory Examples
    185. xFPC

Discuss.Creating a Discuss Theme

Last edited by Susan Ottwell on Aug 23, 2013.
This is a user-contributed Extra. If you find issues or would like more info or help, please contact the author.

This document will walk you through the basics of creating a Discuss Theme. We will first discuss the basics, and follow up with more in depth instructions on how to theme and what you should keep in mind using a git powered workflow.

Understanding the File Structure

Discuss themes consist of 2 parts: the theme assets (css, javascript and images) and the templates (basically, the chunks used by Discuss). These are located in their respective directories:

  • assets: assets/components/discuss/themes/THEME_NAME/
  • templates: core/components/discuss/templates/THEME_NAME/

Both THEME_NAME's should obviously be the same, and that name is also what needs to be defined in the discuss.theme setting to use the theme.
The default theme included in Discuss is loosely based on the official MODX Forums theme and as a result it also uses SASS to generate the CSS. You can find the SASS source files in assets/components/discuss/themes/default/sass/, with the compiled css in the /css/ directory. You can learn more about SASS here.

Basic Theming Considerations

Just like any other MODX Extra, Discuss gives you infinite markup freedom. This does mean there's a lot of different templates in use for various bits of the template. To give you an idea, here's a visual view of the forum home breakdown.

Luckily, there's an easy way for you to figure out what markup is coming from what template file. Simply enable the discuss.debug_templates system setting, and every referenced chunk template will be pre- and suffixed with a HTML comment indicating what chunk (and its filename) was referenced. Example:

<!-- Start: board/disBoardLi from file: themes/default/chunks/board/disboardli.chunk.tpl -->
 <div class="Depth2 row dis-category h-group dis-category-1 dis-unread">
    <a href="http://localhost/modx-stable2/forums/board/1/blue-sky" class="h-group">
        <div class="f1-f7">
            <div class="wrap">
                <span class="folder">35</span>
                <strong>Blue Sky</strong>
                <p class="dis-board-description">Thoughts and peer-to-peer discussions for Partners only</p>
            </div>
        </div>
        <div class="f8-f10">
            <span class="clickable" data-link="http://localhost/modx-stable2/forums/thread/74739/this-is-a-test/#dis-post-414487">This is a test</span>
        </div>
        <div class="f11 l-txtcenter">418</div>
        <div class="f12 l-txtcenter">37</div>
    </a>
    <div class="h-group f-all"><p class="dis-board-subs dis-unread">
<!-- Start: board/disSubForumLink from file: themes/default/chunks/board/dissubforumlink.chunk.tpl -->
 <a href="forums/board/?board=277">New Board</a>

<!-- /End: board/disSubForumLink -->
</p></div>
</div>

<!-- /End: board/disBoardLi -->

The entire page is wrapped by pages/wrapper.tpl with the controller specific page template placed in the [[+content]] placeholder.

The controller specific page template is by default the file in the /pages/ directory with the same name as the controller (and to some extent the URL). For example the home controller uses the pages/home.tpl template, while viewing the recent thread posts uses pages/thread/recent.tpl.

However, different themes allow reusing templates across controllers through a manifest option. 

Let's look at the manifest item for the thread/reply controller.

    'thread/reply' => array(
        'js' => array(
            'footer' => array(
                'dis.thread.js',
            ),
        ),
        'options' => array(
            'pageTpl' => 'common/thread-with-form',
        ),
        /* ...*/
    ),

Besides registering a javascript file to the footer (located in assets/components/discuss/themes/THEME_NAME/js/), we are passing it an option of pageTpl, pointing it to common/thread-with-form. This means that instead of using the pages/thread/reply.tpl template, it will actually use the pages/common/thread-with-form.tpl template for this controller. This allows you to reuse markup across similar controllers without having to repeat yourself.

With this information you can start basic theming, using primarily CSS customization hooking into the many available classes. But if you want to go further...

Using the Manifest to further Customise your Theme

The manifest, which we briefly referred to above, is a powerful tool allowing you to go beyond basic CSS customisations and making some changes to the template files. It allows you to configure a number of options per controllers, change templates and add something called modules. You'll find we've applied a bunch of these in the default template and you may not need to do this yourself, but it's great to know how it works in case you want to change it for your specific needs.

The manifest is a big php array located in the themes' templates directory called "manifest.php". It is several levels deep.

  1. The first level is the controller's name or the special "global" which is applied everywhere.
  2. The second level can be either of the following:
    1. "js": allows you to define javascript to load on specific controllers. This option has a third level, which is one of the following: "header", "footer" or "inline". This third level then contains an array of files to load from assets/components/discuss/theme_name/js/.
    2. "css": allows you to define stylesheets to load on specific controllers. This third level then contains an array of files to load from assets/components/discuss/theme_name/css/.
    3. "options": defines controller specific options to configure the behaviour of the controller. The options vary from controller to controller, and you can find them all in the Controllers documentation.

If you're scared by the thought of PHP or PHP Arrays, have a look through these resources. What we're doing is called a multidimensional associative array.

Git-powered Theme workflow

To get started creating a Discuss theme in a git-powered workflow, kick it off by creating a fork of the main Discuss repository at https://github.com/modxcms/Discuss. Then, clone your fork to a local directory and add the original repository as an upstream remote.

$ git clone git@github.com:Your_Username/Discuss.git
$ git remote add upstream https://github.com/modxcms/Discuss.git

Next, check out the current release branch which contains the most up to date version. At time of writing that is release-1.1, but check the Discuss Contributors Guidelines for latest instructions.

$ cd Discuss
$ git checkout release-1.1

Once you did that, we're going to create a different theme branch, which will help make collaboration easier in case you want to contribute back to Discuss *cough*. If you want to fix stuff in the default branch, you would instead create a fix branch, eg fix-colorsbug.

$ git checkout -b theme-name_of_theme

Once you did all this, you'll need to connect this Discuss codebase with a MODX installation. The easiest way to do that is to install the Discuss package (that sets up all the required bits within MODX), and to adjust the namespace (via System > Namespaces) to point to the git-versioned core/components/discuss/ directory and creating a discuss.core_path setting with the same path as the value and discuss.assets_url with an absolute url to the git-versioned assets/components/discuss/ directory. 

Depending on your setup you will also need to set the session_cookie_path setting to / (yes, just a single slash) and to avoid session-clashes if you have multiple local MODX installs, you may want to change the session_name setting to something unique. Next, we'll also need a config.core.php file in the root of our discuss project pointing to our MODX installation. You can copy this from the root of your MODX install, or custom craft it yourself using the template below.

<?php
define('MODX_CORE_PATH', '/Applications/MAMP/htdocs/modx/core/');
define('MODX_CONFIG_KEY', 'config');

You should have a functional Discuss install now, or at least be ready to follow the Installation instructions and get theming :)

Comment Policy

Comments intended to help other users with this document are welcome! If you have a suggestion for this Extra document, please attempt to contact the author directly, possibly on GitHub or in the MODX Community Forums.

Suggest an edit to this page on GitHub (Requires GitHub account. Opens a new window/tab) or become an editor of the MODX Documentation.