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Theming has always been important at Vanilla and has always been at the core of our product offerings. Creating adaptable and flexible software that can be easily customized to match our customers’ brand is something that we’ve done from the start. This is something that we will always work to improve and perfect so that our customers can continue to deliver their members the best experience possible. With that being said, I'd like to introduce you to the new theming system that we launched on April 13, 2020.

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9 min

Todd Burry
Sarah Robinson-Yu

New Vanilla Theming, 2020

3 minute read

April 20, 2020

New Vanilla Theming, 2020

Theming has always been important at Vanilla and has always been at the core of our product offerings. Creating adaptable and flexible software that can be easily customized to match our customers’ brand is something that we’ve done from the start. This is something that we will always work to improve and perfect so that our customers can continue to deliver their members the best experience possible. With that being said, I'd like to introduce you to the new theming system that we launched on April 13, 2020.

This new system is designed to make it easier for customers to get their communities up and running much more quickly. In all, these theming updates are intended to not only make branding more simple, but to also ensure that all custom designs are responsive across all devices.

Additionally, it's important for us to have a theming system that not only enables continuous product improvement, but also allows for new features to be launched without customers having to worry about their site not blending in with those new features.

Here's a quick overview of what you can expect from this new update.

New In-Application Theme Editor

As you know, today’s evolving web has a lot of requirements, and we wanted to make sure that our products are leveraging the newest web technologies while still supporting Vanilla’s best in class theming capabilities. And so, we worked to ingrain things like responsive design, accessibility, and localization into the DNA of our product; while these features are often “under the hood” and are usually unseen, they're very important. 

One of the best things about the new theming system is the in-application theme editor, as seen in the image below. 

in-application theme editor

With this new editor, fonts and colors can be changed easily to suit any brand, and are able to flow seamlessly throughout the chosen theme. Additionally, individual values can be tweaked at any time to accommodate a specific design aesthetic—being able to tweak the theme after the fact will empower our customers to maintain their site as their brand evolves. 

Further, with the new in-application theme editor, customers will have full control over their header and footer HTML/CSS—this will allow for pixel perfect matching of the rest of their sites “above the fold”.

header and footer HTML/CSS

And last but certainly not least, the new editor provides a designated spot for JavaScript, enabling customers to add all necessary tracking scripts, ads, or whatever else they may need.

Other Key Features

In addition to the in-application theme editor, this update also provides customers with a range of other features that will make customization a lot easier. 

For one, the theme’s homepage has a big search banner to welcome visitors to your community. Use this slot seen in the image below to upload any image you want to highlight your brand. 

homepage has a big search banner

This banner can also be blended into the title bar using the new and elegant full bleed feature. And while it used to take some thought to handle the banner scrolling transition on different devices, it's now super easy; the transition is now seamless when the page is scrolled. 

full bleed feature

Another feature worth mentioning is that the menu system now nicely snaps into a hamburger menu on mobile, and menu options from different parts of the page are all accommodated properly. This gives customers the ability to truly have a large site with complex navigation without having to worry about navigation clashes on different devices.

easy navigation across all devices
Conclusion

We know that this update will give our customers even more tools to make their community and knowledge base dreams a reality, while continuing to meet the expectations of their customers. If you have any questions about these new updates, be sure to take a look at our Success Community, where you can learn more about these features.

Product News

Todd Burry

Written by Todd Burry

Todd co-founded Vanilla. He is responsible for the product roadmap and software architecture.

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