Elin Waring Blog
I admit I was dubious about Bootstrap-ification of the Joomla front end, but if Protostar is the future of basic Joomla templates I have to say: wow. isis, the backend template, has gotten most of the attention, but I think for new users Protostar is going to be a game changer.
I've been working with Protostar most of the summer, and it just constantly got better right up to the final touches Kyle Ledbetter managed to sneak in just before Mark Dexter locked down the codebase. Here are four things I love about it:
- Colors Users can use template parameters (and color picker fields) to select a background color and a color for links and other highlights. I discovered you could actually paste code for a gradient in the background field and it works perfectly! I have no idea if this was intentional, but it's awesome. Really by themselves the two color options mean infinite variations are possible just with the default template.
- Google Fonts Like a lot of people I like using Google Fonts for free and easy escape from web safe fonts. Protostar gives you a parameter to select a font for your h1-h6 tags and site title. The default is Open Sans but with 532 fonts currently available, Google gives you lots of options. Plus the parameter comes with an on/off toggle for people who don't want to use Google Fonts at all, who have low bandwidth or who live in places that cannot receive Google data. Beware though that with windows users the Bootstrap fallback to Helvetica Neue can be a problem. if you want to use more complex font combinations of course you still have to do that but for beginners sticking to one header font is probably good advice.
- No logo I like the Joomla logo as much as the next person, but what is the first thing someone with a new Joomla install wants to do? That's right, get rid of the giant Joomla logo. Protostar puts the site title from your meta data at the top of your site instead and gives you the option to replace that with your own text or a logo you can upload in the style interface. In truth Beez 2 had these parameters too (and Beez3 still does), but it still started with the Joomla logo as a default. That the site comes out of installation already somewhat personalized is just great. My only suggestion would be a small powered by Joomla at the bottom of the page along with the copyright.
- Nav styles This is really Bootstrap not Protostar but nav-pills, nav-tabs, nav-stacked ...really just great menu styles for easily changing your navigation.
Kyle also worked with Dianne Henning to provide some great images to give the sample data sites a splash of color and that anyone can use. In the sample data we're using them in position-3 right under the navigation.
It's also great that the template comes with the variables.less. Even if you don't understand less yet, that file makes it easy to see all of the places that a given color is used and also what the colors are, just as one example. Compared to what Jenny went through to make the color charts for modifying Beez from 1.5, this is just child's play.
There is lots more to like in Joomla! 3 especially in how it makes working with front end styles and module chrome easier. More about that in another post.