Creating Custom SmartThemes

Creating a custom SmartTheme is simple: you just create a site, under your Design Partner master account, that is exactly what you want the SmartTheme to be. Then, when you have it just how you want it, go to your master site, view the list of sites (Settings > My Sites), hover over the row for the site you want to use, and click at Create SmartTheme (compress) icon to the right.

You'll then see a form that asks for information about the SmartTheme and allows you to choose some options. Here's some notes on each of the fields:

  • Theme Name: Required, whatever you want to call this SmartTheme, so you'll remember what it is
  • Theme URI: Required. This is a string in URL format, such as It uniquely identifies each theme. It does not need to point to an actual web page, but it would be nice for your site to have a page that describes the theme at the provided URL.
  • Description: Optional, anything else you want to record to describe the theme.
  • Version: Required. Defaults to 1.0. Entirely up to you how you want to use this field.
  • Author: Optional. Could be your name or your company name.
  • Author URI: Optional. Could be the URL for your main website or personal site.
  • Theme Preview PNG: Optional, but highly recommended: a thumbnail image of your theme, typically of the home page, so it can be easily recognized. This must be a PNG-format file with dimensions no greater than 320 pixels wide and 240 pixels tall.

The settings listed above provide cataloging information for your custom SmartTheme, but they don't affect the SmartTheme itself. The last two settings do, however, and it critical that you understand what they do and use them appropriately.

Including Files in the Theme

Files that you have uploaded to the Files area of your site (which could be images, documents, JavaScript files, videos, or anything else) may or may not be required for new sites built using the SmartTheme. To keep the SmartTheme file size down, it is important to include only those files that are required.

By default, no files are included in the SmartTheme. To include them, enter the directory names, separated by commas, into the File Paths field. For example, if all of the images that are part of the theme are in a folder called "images", you'd enter "/images" in this field. If you also have some JavaScript files uploaded to a folder named "js", you'd enter "/images, /js". To include only files at the root level, enter "/".

If the directory you specify has subdirectories that you also want to include, you may include the suffix "**" at the end of the directory name to have the system automatically include all of its subdirectories. If your "/images" directory also has subdirectories of "/images/icons" and "/images/badges", you can include all of these by writing "/images**". If you want to include ALL files in the account, use "/**".

Including Database Contents

A SmartTheme includes, by default, the content of your database, as well as its structure. Often, you may want to disable this feature. For example, if you have built a business database SmartTheme, you're likely to fill the database with content to confirm that everything is working as you'd like. Then, when you create a SmartTheme, you'd like to leave all this data behind. To do so, just uncheck the box labeled "Include Database Export."

SmartTheme Limitations

SmartThemes are intended to be able to represent any Webvanta site design and data structure, along with modest amounts of data. The system currently has the following limits; if any of them are exceeded, you will not be able to create a SmartTheme:

  • The maximum total size of files that are included in a SmartTheme is limited to 50 Mbytes. If you have larger files, or many files, that you want to include, you'll need to move them into a separate directory, don't include that directory in the SmartTheme, and then upload a zip of that directory after you build a new site.
  • The maximum number of database items that can be included in a SmartTheme is currently limited to 1,000.
  • The maximum number of pages is 200. Note that, in a database-driven site, each item does not count as a page; for example, the blog system is just 4 pages, even if you have hundreds of blog posts.

For More Information

Using SmartThemes to Simplify New Site Creation provides a summary of how to use SmartThemes.

Editing SmartThemes Offline. Details on the SmartTheme file format. This information is needed only if you are editing SmartThemes offline.