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JCU Web Framework

The living style guide for University web applications.

Application Theming

Different applications require different approaches to making them consistent with the rest of the University’s online presence.

If you have completed the theming of an application, we’d like to feature your notes here. Get in touch or send a pull request with your changes.



CDN-hosted resources Easiest

If you’re just looking to include a release version of the JCU Web Framework in your app or pages, use our Content Distribution Network (CDN)-hosted resources and avoid needing to download anything. This approach involves placing suitable HTML tags into your page and that’s it. If you want to use resources like images and logos from the CDN, you can do that as well just by linking to appropriate resource.

Learn how to use our CDN

Static sites or editable source Easy-Medium

Your application was created in-house or you otherwise have full control over the underlying source code (such as Coldfusion apps or the Research Portfolio), then it’s a matter of customising the application to suit. The general guide is to:

  1. Include the JCU Web Framework resources in your page following one of the options on the Download page.

  2. Customise the source of your application to be Bootstrap-compatible. For instance, <button> elements become <button class="btn"> and so forth.

  3. Follow the documentation you’re currently reading until all aspects of your application are adjusted or themed accordingly.

You can also make use of any examples provided as base templates.

To update to a newer version of the JCU Web Framework, replace the framework files and follow any instructions in the Migration documentation.

If you’re working with static files and trying things locally, note that Firefox does not allow relative includes for font-face in CSS. This means that fonts and iconography is unlikely to load. See the relevant bug for details.

Use about:config to change security.fileuri.strict_origin_policy temporarily to false to relax this restriction and reload your page.

Open source Easy-Medium

If the application you’re working with is open source, then you will be able to modify its implementation to suit. Since Bootstrap is a very common web front-end framework, you will likely find that your application either has native support for Bootstrap markup or a community-developed theme or templates available. The general guide, if Bootstrap is used, is to:

  1. Locate how the application is serving its resources.

  2. Customise them to feature the JCU Web Framework instead of stock Bootstrap resources.

  3. Adjust the application’s templates and remaining code to fit the JCU web framework; leverage the example templates given.

    Follow the instructions in Editable source for more information.

Vendor-hosted Medium-Hard

If your application is hosted by a vendor, refer to your application documentation for information on what theming customisations are possible.

In general, you want to ask your vendor for:

  • Technologies being used
  • Whether modifying HTML output is possible
  • Any templating or theming documentation
  • How to serve web resources (CSS, JavaScript, images, fonts)

Once you have these details in hand, you can make a well-informed decision about the easiest way forward. If your application is hosted, but is actually open source (such as a Wordpress blog), then you may have more success than a remotely-hosted, closed source product.

Closed source Hard

Closed source applications are entirely dependent on the software developer or vendor for features and support. Consult your application and developer to determine whether it has the ability to be themed and what this extends to.

In applications where theming options are otherwise limited, you may only be able customise specific colours, logos, or so forth, rather than underlying HTML templates. In this case, use your best judgement to reach a compromise that looks as close to JCU as possible. Resources such as images can be obtained from a JCU Web Framework release package.

Another option may be to implement a middleware technology (such as XSLT or an XSLT wrapper such as Diazo) on top of your application and to transform the HTML on-the-fly.