Using SmartThemes to Simplify New Site Creation

When you create a new Webvanta site, you choose from an assortment of SmartThemes that determines the initial state of the site: all of it's templates, CSS, JavaScript, pages, images, database item types, configuration settings, and so on. This gives you a great starting point for building out your site. We continue to work on broadening our range of SmartThemes, with the goal of providing you with an excellent, modern code foundation; common features, such as blogs and photo galleries, pre-built; and simple visual designs that can be modified to match your desires.

Webvanta Design Partners can also create their own SmartThemes. (If you aren't a member of our Design Partner program, this feature will not be available to you; we welcome you to join the program. See the Design Partner Program page for more information, or call us at 888.670.6793 ext. 2.)

Custom SmartThemes, which are now in beta testing, enable you to build sites that begin from the exact starting point you want, with just a single click. They're a tremendously powerful tool if you are building many sites with a similar structure. Even if each of your sites is a custom design, you may find it helpful to automatically start out with all of your custom code frameworks and structures already in place.

Creating and Using Custom SmartThemes

The process of creating and using a SmartTheme is as follows:

  1. Build a site that is the starting point you want the SmartTheme to provide. If you are providing websites for attorney's, for example, build a generic attorney site, including all the features you may want in any particular site and a design that is easy to customize.
  2. Create a SmartTheme from the site. This is a quick, automated process. See Creating Custom SmartThemes for details. You can choose what files to include, and whether or not to include database contents.
  3. Create a new site using the SmartTheme. When you've created your own SmartThemes, they will appear on the list of available themes when you create a new site starting from your Design Partner master account (Settings > Create New Site). Just choose the desired SmartTheme, and your new site will be created.
  4. Modify the new site as needed for the particular customer. In some cases, this can be as simple as adding a logo and customizing the text.

You can create as many SmartThemes as you need, so you can have as many derivatives as you'd like, to provide a highly efficient starting point for whatever site your are building.

Your custom SmartThemes are private to your Design Partner account and are not availble to anyone else. In the future, we plan to add a SmartTheme marketplace, so you can share or sell your SmartThemes.

Downloading SmartThemes and Editing Offline

On your Design Partner master site, you'll find a SmartThemes menu item on the Structure menu. (This will not appear on non-master sites.) Choose this item to manage your private SmartThemes.

On the SmartTheme management page, you can delete any SmartTheme, and you can edit the information that you entered in the form when you created the SmartTheme.

You can also download the entire SmartTheme as a zip file. Hover over the row with the SmartTheme you want to download, and click the download icon. The system will then download to your computer a zip file that provides all the information for the SmartTheme.

All the files in the SmartTheme zip package are plain text files. You can edit them offline to modify your SmartTheme, and then re-zip and upload the modified theme via the SmartTheme management page.

This is a very powerful capability, but it must be done with some care. If you deviate in any way from the required structure and syntax, the SmartTheme may not be uploadable, or it might not behave correctly.

For details on the SmartTheme file structure, see Editing SmartThemes Offline.