We often get questions about what goes into creating, modifying and upkeeping our onsite styles. Here is a bit more information about why all of the tasks can be a bit intense and generally require a bit of work. This is why we are striving to keep our style library a bit lighter with more built-in customization options, that way you still have choices and options to customize themes to your liking and we are not overly burdening our staff with upkeep. Parents and Children - Style Hierarchy and Inherited Traits Styles in the Xenforo ACP have “Parents” and “Children.” Child Styles inherit the basic aspects of their parent styles unless they are altered. Right now, we have several “Parent” styles, which contributes to the issue of maintenance. Having lots of “Parent” styles means that we are required to edit each parent any time we need to update HTML/CSS templates on the forum. Our current plan is to condense down to fewer “Parent” styles so updating takes us a lot less time on the back end. If you look at the example below, currently Darkness is the “Parent” theme for several of our Basic Themes. This means we are able to edit HTML/CSS templates on Darkness and the “Child” Styles will inherit those edits. Here is what it looks like from the Admin Control Panel: Spoiler Properties and Templates - The Bones of Forum Styles Each Style has 100s of customization options and within the Admin Control Panel, these are sectioned into two different categories: Style Properties and Style Templates Properties are a series of customizable menus where we can edit colors, transparency and other aspects of various parts of the site. By default, there are about 20 or so basic menus. Add-ons and Styles with extra features add more menus. Some of our more basic themes have about 50 menus and each menu has general 5-15 customization sections within it. Some of our more fancy themes have about 70 menus. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like from the Control Panel: Spoiler: Properties Menu Spoiler: Menu With Customization Options Templates are the HTML/CSS building blocks of each style. Each Style can have over 100 templates and each template includes code for different parts of the style. Many of the color and general options are modified in the Properties section, but sometimes we do have to dig into the HTML/CSS to modify or customize parts of the forum. Adding things like buttons or customized sidebar content requires us to edit these templates as well, which can take a bit of time. Spoiler Add-ons Add-ons are features that do not come with Xenforo by default. Some examples of the add-ons BD uses are things like extended BBCode options,Member Notes, Members Online, and Medals. Many of our add-ons have to be customized to match and work with the Styles we have on the site. Add-ons, like any software, often go through updates and maintenance by their creators (To fix glitches and bugs, generally), which sometimes means that we have to update them on the forum side and make sure their features still work with our forum’s infrastructure, current styles and other add-ons. There are also times where the creator of an add-on decides they no longer wish to maintain an add-on. Sometimes the add-on continues to function well and other times it does not. We try to watch our add-ons closely and keep them updated as best we can, so that the forum’s interfaces and features remain active and well-oiled.