Apply an Administration Theme in Textpattern

I previously talked about the theming aspects of Textpattern CMS and how you can change the look-and-feel of both the administration panel and front-end interface. Textpattern comes with 3 administration themes out of the box: Classic, Hive and Remora. My personal favorite of the three is Classic because that’s what I’m used to. The Hive theme is designed to be responsive, intuitive and mobile-friendly, and it’s likely that one day I’ll start to use that instead. What I’m going to show you in this post is how to add another theme to the administration interface if none of the three are right for you.

It’s important to know the differences between admin-side and front-end themes: they differ in both application and structure. For the purposes of this article, I will be applying the Din theme by Craig Erskine, available for free download from Textgarden. To work with this admin theme, you will need an FTP client to upload some code and image files, all of which are included in the Din theme download. Let’s go!

First, download the theme .zip file from the Din theme page at Textgarden. Unzip it to your computer. With your preferred FTP client, open a connection to your Arvixe web server. Navigate to the textpattern directory, then to the theme subdirectory. Each installed theme has a directory, and the Din theme needs one, too. Create a directory called din and upload all the unzipped files to this new directory. Note that if your admin theme .zip file has unzipped into subdirectories, you don’t need these wrappers: unless the documentation explicitly states otherwise, all the files go into the same directory. Your din directory should now look like this:

Next, we’ll be logging in to Textpattern and enabling the new theme. In the Textpattern administration panel, go to Administration -> Preferences -> Advanced. In this menu, you’ll see an option for ‘Admin-side theme’ in your localised language. From the drop down menu, choose din. Click Save. Click any tab to reload the theme and Din will appear:

As you’re learning Textpattern, this is the route I recommend for enabling admin-side themes. Frankly, the included themes are very capable and I have yet to find a third-party admin theme that has replaced Classic as my preferred choice, though I appreciate you might not be as fond of yellow as I am. As you become more versed in the admin-side workings, you can also edit themes using the smd_admin_themes plugin. This provides much more control over the admin-side theme aspect of Textpattern with the caveat that with great power comes great responsibility – so don’t break anything.

Next time, I’ll show you how front-end themes are applied. It’s a different approach to the route explained above, and in some cases doesn’t require an FTP client. I hope you’ll join me.

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Author Spotlight

Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper has been using Textpattern since 2005. Textpattern is his preferred CMS weapon of choice. Its logical and flexible approach to content management makes Pete happy, as does its lightweight core and helpful user community. Pete's website - - runs on top of Textpattern and chronicles his day-to-day experiences from his home near the Atlantic in north Cornwall, United Kingdom.

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