Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Types of Blogger template / theme

This article is about the types of templates / themes that Blogger has, and how you can work out what type of template you have on your own blog. 

What types of template / theme does Blogger have

Blogger uses templates to know how to structure your blog:  They are the "framework" that Blogger uses to let us customise the look and feel of our blogs, while still providing the features that a blogging platform provides.

Currently, each blog made with Blogger has:
  • One post template:
    There is only one type of post template.   The only way to edit it is by using the tools in the Layout > Blog Posts screen:  it  cannot be customized apart from this
  • One design template - which from 2017 is called a theme 
    This may be one of four different types:  Dynamic, Designer, Layout and Custom.    
    (Yes, it is confusing that Designer is just one of the types of design-template ... )
  • Also, each blog may have a mobile template, which is used when someone views it using a mobile device (eg smartphone).   A blog only has a mobile template if this has been enabled for it (on the Theme screen).

When you have looked at a few blogger options, you will begin to recognise the different types of themes from the way blogs made with them look on screen.    The following sections describe the types of themes, and show you how to tell if your blog is using them.

There is also a very quick way to find out the name of your theme - often knowing the name will let a Blogger Helper understand what the problem is, and so make suggestions about how to fix it.

The Custom template / theme

The first design template that Blogger had was a custom template - and there are possibly still some blogs with these today, although it isn't possible to make a new blog with one.

With a custom template, the only way to change the layout of your blog is to edit the HTML;  there are no widgets, and no drag-and-drop editor for positioning things.

How to work out if you have a Custom theme

If you go into the Theme tab, and the first thing you see is "Give your blog a whole new look!", and at the bottom of the screen there is an area called "Edit Template HTML", then your blog is using a Custom template.

Layout theme (template)

The Layout template (thteme) was the next to be introduced.   It includes the Page Elements editor and the idea of Gadgets (previously called Widgets and Page Items).  This was a great improvement because it let blogger users move items around their design by drag-and-drop, instead of by editing HTML.

These templates (Minima, Rounders, ....) were a great step forward in the early 21st century, but web-technology has moved on.      There are very likely still some blogs with these today, although it isn't possible to make a new blog with one.

How to work out if you have a Layout theme / template

Go to the Themes tab, and choose Customize.   If there is no template name given underneath "Live on Blog", and no template selected in the area to the right, then you have a Layout template.

I don't have a blog with one of these to test with, but I suspect that you are likely told to choose a new theme rather than staying with the Layout one.

Designer Templates - Themes

Designer templates were introduced in early 2010, when the Template Designer was first available in Blogger in Draft.    They provided a far wider range of basic designs, and far more options for choosing the number of columns, column width, background images,footer structure, colour scheme, etc.

How to work out if you have a Designer theme

Go to the Templates tab, and choose Customize.   If:
  • There is a template name under "Live on Blog", and 
  • It is not from the names under Dynamic Views on the right hand side

then you have a designer template.

Dynamic Themes

Dynamic view templates were first introduced in April 2011.  They are quite different from the other theme  types, because they rely on your RSS feed as the content source, and have a number of different viewing options, and actions like adding a gadget are quite different from other themes.  Some dynamic themes use each post's thumbnail picture as the main navigation tool.

How to work out if you have a Dynamic Template:

Go to the Themes tab, and choose Customize.   If there is a template name under "Live on Blog", and it is from the names under Dynamic Views on the right, then you have a designer template.

Related Articles

Editing your Blog's Template:  Advantanges and Disadvantages

Seven Simple Steps to a Snazzy new-look Blog (moving to a designer template).

Finding out the name of your blog's template

What is RSS?

Post.thumbnail - an image to summarise each post

Adding a gadget to a dynamic-view template

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