Creating A DMS Theme

DMS was designed from the beginning to be a 'better way' to build themes. The reason for this is that while most themes are static code, DMS is dynamic and fluid. This allows designers to build websites and then seamlessly convert them to themes with a few clicks.

We think this is a revolutionary concept.

Once a theme is created you can then sell it on the PageLines Store or simply give it away to your site visitors as a freebie.

Theming Overview and Structure

At a high-level, creating a DMS theme is as simple as simply building an awesome website (using a child theme) and adding a configuration file.

Although it is simple, lets go through the specifics. The basic diagram of a DMS theme is below.

As you can see, DMS themes are just a combinations of a few files that are designed to recreate a site that you've built with a child theme.

DMS themes are treated very similar to WordPress child themes, only with a few extras to accomodate DMS features, templates and drag+drop configations.

In practice the file structure of a DMS theme looks something like this:

Theme Configuration Files

DMS uses a unique configuration file system to make it simple and easy to recreate your theme vision on user installs.

How it works: Since DMS design is primarily database driven, this allows to create a site configuration file that adds your templates and options values when imported.

Since config files are so nifty, we've built a special tool that allows you to publish your site config (templates, global and type settings) to a file in your child theme with one click.

You'll find this button under 'global options' > 'import/export'. Make sure to check the 'publish to child theme' option and the file will be generated and added to your child theme on click.

Sections and Section API

Next, a large component in DMS themes is creating customized sections.

Sections are the modular components you create that have specific styles and can be dragged and dropped by users.

In themes, sections are simply added to the [theme root]/sections/ folder and use the standard options API.

Read up on creating sections.

Adding Styles with Style.less

DMS has an extremely robust LESS/CSS customization system for themes.

DMS themes supports LESS via a single 'global' style.less file and also individual style.less docs for each custom section.
As a bonus all LESS files in core DMS can be overridden or removed easily.

Child style.less

All LESS styles that are meant to be applied globally in the theme should be added to style.less. These rules will be applied on every page of a site.

Good examples of items that belong in this document would be button styling for a button that will be used in several sections, or for common/standard css formats, like a media list or similar.

A note on modularity We recommend you add styles directed at specific sections to that section's style.less document. This helps keep your LESS modular and organized.

Overriding LESS Files

It is also possible to override core LESS files. To do this, simply add a folder named 'less' to your child theme. Inside it, add a file with the exact name of the less file you'd like to override.

For example, [child root]/less/modals.less, would override the core stylesheet directed at modals.

Adding PHP and Hooks To Your Theme

As an interface to customize the PHP workings of core DMS, PageLines uses hooks/filters methodology. If you're unfamiliar with how to use hooks and filters, we recommend you read this article.

All PHP related customizations belong in the functions.php file (or one that is imported into it)..

As an example, this code is added to [child root]/functions.php on

// This hook adds some javascript that tracks the amount of times users hit a particular 404 in a day
add_action('pagelines_not_found_actions', 'pagelines_404_event');
function pagelines_404_event(){ 

    echo '<script type="text/javascript">';
    echo google_track_event('errors', 'NotFound', get_page_url());
    echo '</script>';


Adding Global Theme Options

Adding options to themes uses the same option API you'll find elsewhere in DMS.

It consists of the option engine, some tab configuration information and a special function: pl_add_theme_tab().

Here is an example:

$my_theme_settings = array();
$my_theme_settings['my_theme_key'] = array(
    'pos'   => 50,                  // Tab position (lower means higher)
    'name'  => 'My Theme Name',     // Tab name
    'icon'  => 'icon-pagelines',    // See 'font awesome'
    'opts'  => array(               // Option Engine Format...
            'type'          => 'text',
            'title'         => 'Enter Something...',
            'key'           => 'my_theme_option1',
            'label'         => 'Some Label',


pl_add_theme_tab( $my_theme_settings );

// The values of these settings should then be accessible via pl_setting()
$val = pl_setting('my_theme_option1');

Controlling Page On Theme Activation

When a theme is initially activated, it's always nice to control where the user is redirected for experience. In a theme you may want to add a 'Welcome to [Theme Name]!' panel and redirect them there.

Luckily we've added a filter for this that makes it easy..

// NOTE: This filter must come early in the loading of your child theme, preferably at the top of your functions.php file

add_filter('pl_activate_url', 'my_theme_activation_url');
function my_theme_activation_url( $url ){ 

    // Change the redirect to the theme tab, and a panel with ID of 'welcome'
    $url = home_url() . '?tablink=theme&tabsublink=welcome';

    return $url;