Guide to being an awesome theme maker
Ones marked with an asterisk (*) means I highly recommend looking through them.
♚ Making your own theme
↳ w3schools* - this site has a very complete and accessible tutorials on CSS and HTML. You should at least know one-third to two-thirds of what’s on this site before making your own theme.
↳ theme doc* - this is a document written by tumblr to teach anyone who wants to make their own custom theme. You MUST have a pretty good grasp on HTML and CSS beforehand. This document is rather long because it clearly explains ALL the features that tumblr has, therefore, you MUST be prepared to be patient and read through a lengthy article.
↳ custom theme tutorials* - this tutorial is one of the better ones available. It only covers the bare essentials and is much easier to read the tumblr theme doc. But again, you MUST be good at HTML and CSS and BE PREPARED to read a lot and put some time and effort into figuring everything out.
↳ tumblr theme tutorial* - another tutorial I found that takes you through step by step to make a simple theme. It’s more brief the other tutorials and doesn’t teach you anything fancy but it does cover the basics.
↳ some small tips - short explanations on the very very VERY basics. Personally, I think this is too brief for people to grasp the full idea behind making a theme. But it does explain post blocks well.
↳ tips on the design - this doesn’t offer a tutorial on making a theme but it does offer 7 concepts essential to design
♚ Extra effects to add to your themes
↳ animated sidebar effect
↳ drop-down menu
↳ dynamic drive - contains a lot of cool scripts that you can incorporate into your theme (ex: shaking images, smooth back to the top features, click-and-drop-down menus, accordion menus etc)
↳ facebook like button for each post
↳ fade effect and transition
↳ infinite scrolling
↳ webkit scrollbar
♚ Making your own theme blog
↳ It’s nice to have pages for your themes, some tutorials, questions, FAQs, ask page and resources. But the main thing I would like to address is tutorials/resources (resources include textures, patterns, gifs, pixels, emoticons etc etc). First, tutorials… I have seen way too many theme blogs in which their tutorials are tutorials where you can find IN EVERY THEME BLOG. Does that make you special? No. So be original. Don’t post tutorials that all the major theme blogs have. It just makes you look like a wannabe.
↳ Second of all, if you want to re-write other people’s tutorial/resources or re-post other people’s tutorial/resources (etc) to make them accessible to your followers… MAKE SURE THAT YOU READ THE ORIGINAL’S TERMS OF USAGE/DISCLAIMER ARTICLE FIRST… to verify whether or not you can redistribute their tutorials/resources.
♚ Copying theme codes
↳ If you’re looking to make your own theme (perhaps, even your first theme), be prepared to spend a good amount of time tearing out hair and figuring out how everything works. NEVER JUST TAKE A CODE FROM ANOTHER THEME-MAKER AND USE THAT AS YOUR BASE CODE (ie. adjust until you get the effect as you want) AND THEN CLAIM AS YOUR OWN. THAT IS DEFINED AS ‘STEALING’.
↳ Most theme-makers allow for minor tweaking of the HTML/CSS as long as you don’t remove their credit… now that isn’t very hard is it? After all, they spent a lot of effort and time on their own themes, so respect them, and don’t take the easy (but wrong) way out. They put in that much effort, thus you should too.
♚ Copying an idea
↳ Why not just use the original then? Taking someone else’s idea is equally wrong as copying/stealing. Taking inspiration from someone does not equal copying or even “being similar”. Maybe you didn’t intend to copy, but your intentions aren’t seen from other people. What other people see, is that you’ve copied.
↳ If you have a cool idea, then talk to to the creator and suggest it to them… I’m sure they’ll be more than glad to consider it given that they have time.
♚ End Note
↳ If you follow all the things I’ve mentioned above, not only will you learn to code themes, but it will make you seem more “pro” than an amateur (like atmospherica, sleepless, smpldesign, and me :D). It was fun writing this. Maybe I’ll write a guide on how to have an awesome theme design.
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