K5.1.1 is released (10 Jun 2018)

The Kunena team is pleased to announce Kunena 5.1.1 [K 5.1.1].
Please read the blog post for information:

Question Customisation - Best Path

2 years 11 months ago - 2 years 11 months ago #1 by WhatNoWebsite
I'm going to be installing Kunena on one of my sites soon and wondered which would be the best path to take to customise...

• Use a custom CSS file
• Write a template from the ground up

I've seen one or two really good examples of what your thoughts were...
Last edit: 2 years 11 months ago by WhatNoWebsite.

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2 years 11 months ago #2 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Customisation - Best Path
I will honestly say that there is no right or wrong answer to your question.

For the most part, if you simply want to re-style an existing Kunena template, I would recommend that you create a custom CSS file .

Designing and developing a Kunena template from the ground up is no easy task. In fact, while 99% of all "alternative" Kunena templates are derived from Blue Eagle, the "instructions" that show you how this is done are not written very well. There are no instructions to show you how to create a new template based on the HMVC Crypsis model at this time.

There are other issues as well. K 4.0 works a little differently to K 3.0. In K 3.0, most of the template-related stuff (for example, topic icons ) was located with the template. This ensured that, if you upgraded from one version of K 3.0 to another version of K 3.0, you would not lose any customisations you had made. In K 4.0 some of these features have been removed from the "template" and put into a global area. This means that, if you make customised changes (e.g. upload your own topic icons to replace those held in the "default"/common area) so that they work better with your own template, and if you upgrade to a newer version of K 4.0, your replacement files will be replaced, again, by the new version.

There is also the issue that, in the next couple of months, the developers have signalled they will be withdrawing all support for Blue Eagle and templates derived from it. While this is not a bad strategic direction in itself, the timing not good. This means that people will be forced to adjust to Crypsis within a couple of months and, with no instructions on how to develop your own templates derived from it, people will be forced into using this as the only template available today.

Crypsis has its own unusually high degree of problems; I'm not making any judgement or comment on that fact. But I think it's also fair to say that Crypsis is still evolving.

My recommendation? I guess it's a case of continue to ask questions, watch this space over the next year or so, and see how things develop. In the meantime, if your changes are relatively straightforward, I think that using a custom CSS file is probably the best way to go. Hopefully, over time, the developers will provide us with better user guides, tutorials, and information to assist us in making these choices.

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2 years 11 months ago #3 by WhatNoWebsite
Thanks for the detailed response, really helpful.

Here's what I usually do with Joomla to get around the updates issues we can come across with updates:

I create a separate custom CSS file and reference it in the template's index.php file. I then use my own CSS and where necessary use forced overrides such as "!important" to work around inline CSS where found.

I've seen some customisations of Kunena that I really like (such as Rocket Theme's) and as I've used Kunena before it was my first choice but the default layout and style is dated so we'd have to write a CSS file from the ground up, perhaps even SASS.

Like you said, needs more thought but Kunena's the way to go, it's just whether I can customise it to the level required. Will have to do a test install first I think on a dummy domain and see how deep I can change the default css without hacking core files.

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