UPDATE: I have started a thread on the official PrestaShop Forums for discussing the PrestaShop Theme Boilerplate. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please post them there.
Not too long ago, PrestaShop had spoken about a Skeleton PrestaShop Theme, a theme made for developers as a starting point or blueprint to begin developing their PrestaShop Themes, and not starting with the default theme.
A starter theme for PrestaShop is long overdue and would speed up PrestaShop Theme development time dramatically while encourage developers to follow many best practices.
Unfortunately, the Skeleton Theme was recently asked about in the PrestaShop forums about its development and expected release, but it won't be ready for a while.
PrestaShop core developer, Raphaël Malié stated:
"Skeleton theme won't be included in the 1.5, this will be something we will develop for the next major release."
With the PrestaShop 1.5 release being postponed for 2 months or more, it looks like the Skeleton Theme will not available for some time.
Developing a PrestaShop Theme Boilerplate
It's for this reason that I intend to put into action my PrestaShop Theme Boilerplate project.
Boilerplate? What does that mean? Wikipedia describes boilerplate code as..
"In computer programming, boilerplate is the term used to describe sections of code that have to be included in many places with little or no alteration."
The idea is to offer a solid starting point for PrestaShop Theme developers, making no assumptions about the theme, very little if any sort of CSS styling and give a solid framework of best practices.
I wrote about this on my personal blog a few months ago, there were some parts of the Skeleton Theme that I did not agree with, such as using the 960 grid system by default.
- 100% semantic and valid HTML5 markup
- Encourage 'best practices'.
- Focus on speed/performance.
- Complete documentation.
Supporting which version?
I had been originally holding out on this project until PrestaShop 1.5 was available, but seeing as 1.5 will not be available for sometime I will be using PrestaShop 1.4 as a starting point.
I may well support earlier versions of PrestaShop in the future, but with PrestaShop 1.5 on its way this year, and therefore PrestaShop 1.4 becoming a legacy version, making this unlikely.
Get involved with the PrestaShop Theme Boilerplate
I have set up a PrestaShop Theme Boilerplate GitHub repo, and I urge everyone to get involved to make this happen. Please fork the repo
If you have little/no knowledge of GitHub, then simply download the latest version of the boilerplate, try it out and offer your suggestions about how we can improve it.
Similarly, if you are a PrestaShop Theme developer, I'd love to hear your ideas on things that you'd like implemented that are currently lacking from using the default theme in your development process. What areas of the theme do you have to change every time? Is there something you feel is missing that you add to every theme you create?
Please get in touch either via GitHub, or through the comments below.