Theme Contest!

Hello fellow Serendipity Users!

The time for releasing Serendipity 1.0 is coming close. What we are now in desperate need of, is a pretty and nice looking new default theme to make Serendipity more distinct and pretty, to visually underline the flexibility and large featureset of the Serendipity Blog. This theme shall replace the current "Serendipity v2.3" Theme that is shipped with Serendipity.

Because of this, we want to have a Serendipity Theme Contest. Designers can submit their designs to us, and we will display them to the public for voting on them. Since Serendipity is an Open Source project without any funding, we cannot offer commercial benefits. But we will of course fully credit your work for display within the Theme, and publically announce the winning theme properly.

We want to schedule the release of Serendipity 1.0 for February 15th. Designers will have time until February 7th, and then the voting starts until February 14th. Once the theme is chosen without dispute, we will include it for the release. If there are any technical problems with the winning design, the release date might get rescheduled, though. Our primary goal is to have a stable and nice Serendipity, so we will bend any scheduling to adjust to that.

Having said this, these are the the "rules":

  1. The new theme must be unique. It may not be a 1:1 port of existing themes. It must be BSD licensed.
  2. The new theme should create a visual distinction of Serendipity, but preserve the template association with Serendipity. People who see that theme should not confuse it with themes that are distinct for other blog applications.
  3. You are free to choose whatever colors are fit. Beware though, that the somewhat etablished colors of Serendipity are blue-greyish.
  4. The new theme should consist of a Frontend and Backend visual style (or play well with the current default Backend style). Frontend customizations can be done using any technique you like (Smarty, JavaScript, CSS). Backend customizations can only be done via CSS styling (themes/default/admin/style.css).
  5. Creating a new logo for Serendipity is not yet part of the deal. We are looking for a default theme to be distributed with Serendipity, so it should be a style that people can use on their own blog without giving the impression that it is the official Serendipity Blog.
  6. The new theme shall pay attention to be accessible and not require JavaScript for important operations. It shall be cross-browser compatible (MSIE, Firefox, Opera, Safari) and validate as XHTML (Transitional at least). The main CSS should also validate; any additional and browser specific CSS codes are not required to be validatable.
  7. Many Themes depend on the default theme, so it needs to be considered that important HTML selectors (.serendipity_entry, .serendipity_entry_date) etc. are only changed in a way that is backwards compatible. You are allowed to change the Smarty .tpl files any way you see fit.
  8. Plugins that output HTML (like: Categories, Syndication, Calendar, Static Pages...) should still work fine in the new default theme.
  9. Standard HTML styles such as code, acronym, bold etc should be supported in the stylesheet if the browser default isn't acceptable (in particular the code tag is often reduced in size to become unreadable)
  10. All images including media manager images, emoticons, xml buttons and just plain images inserted into posts or the sidebar should work as expected - the danger is in assuming the browser will adequately deal with images but often margins and paddings change and if this isn't tested weird results can show up after the theme is released.

We know this are certainly many rules listed, but when reading through them you will find most of them very clear. The Serendipity Project has always well cared about backwards compatibility, integration and valid markup - and so it shall continue in the future.

The future goal of the new default template is to create a unique variation that will be used for the official Serendipity Blog, and to apply a similar theme to the Serendipity Wiki.

But for now: Let the fun begin! Questions will be answered here. Send your final designs in ZIP or TGZ format to Garvin: serendipity{@}supergarv{.}de. It would be nice that if you intend to submit a theme, that you tell me via mail about that, so that we can see how many people are working on it and if the deadline is sufficiently set.

Technical help about theming can be found on our Forums or in the Technical Documentation.

Update #1 - Rule #7 has been bent a little. It was formerly suggested to only make minor modifications to the Smarty files.


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Carl Galloway on at :

I'm in, I'll be starting development of my entry soon.

For anyone else developing themes for serendipity, have a look at how the theme designers checklist is progressing I'll be adding to this over the coming days and making the sql dump available for download, but you really need to bookmark this if you're going to develop a theme.


Sander on at :

Rule #1 is actually 2 rules. It should be unique. It should be BSD licensed. Two rules :)

MySchizoBuddy on at :

I posted this on

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