Liferay’s themes are built on top of two base themes, named _unstyled and _styled. If you have another theme that you’re rather base yours on, you can do that by setting the theme of your choice as the base for your theme.

Base themes are added in layers. First _unstyled is added, giving you the core of the theme, then _styled, providing the most basic elements. When you set a different base theme, it’s added on top of _styled and overrides the default styling wherever there are differences. After the base themes are added, your own custom styling is added on top.

In addition to the _styled theme, you can choose to inherit from the _unstyled theme, which contains no styling. This makes more work for you, but offers full flexibility to design your CSS files from scratch.

You can also use the default Liferay theme Classic as a parent theme. You’ll start with a look and feel that’s already smooth and works well. But since so much is already done for you, there’s less flexibility when building your design. It’s a compromise between creating a theme as quickly as possible versus having full control of the result. It’s your choice, and another example of the flexibility Liferay offers.

The theme plugin project wizard in Liferay IDE/Developer Studio lets you select your project’s base theme. The Plugins SDK sets _styled as your base theme which provides only basic styling of portlets. If you open the build.xml file in your theme’s directory, you’ll see the code similar to the following code:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE project>

<project name="[theme-name]" basedir="." default="deploy">
    <import file="../build-common-theme.xml" />

    <property name="theme.parent" value="_styled" />
</project>

The theme.parent property determines the theme your theme inherits its styling from.

To specify a base theme, modify the build.xml file for your theme and change the value of the theme.parent’s value attribute to the name of any existing theme that’s installed in your portal or available in your Plugins SDK.

As you can see, setting a base theme is a piece of cake!

Related Topics

Importing Resources with Your Themes

Developing Liferay Theme Plugins with Maven

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