It’s been a month since PrestaShop announced a new Starter Theme project.

It’s an important project, both because it touches on something that’s been tricky for many years, namely being able to quickly build a quality and standard-respecting theme from scratch, and because it’s truly a project built for and with the community, with a dedicated branch, its own Gitter channel for discussions, and even its own Trello board (yes, outside of the Forge!).

Hence, the project is indeed led by a handful of PrestaShop’s Core developers, in parallel of PS 1.7’s development, but they are trying new ways to reach the Community and make us participate – like with this article, which is not written by a PrestaShop staff member but a Community member. Come participate!

Now, with that in mind, here are some news about the work in progress: what is being discussed, what has been implemented, what’s next…

Template inheritance

This is the most important change since the 1.6 Theme API: starting from version 1.7.x, PrestaShop themes need to be written using template inheritance.

Template inheritance is a common concept shared among all major template engines (among which Smarty), so it should make no difference when PrestaShop starts supporting other template engines, like Twig (see Twig’s documentation).

Rendering is now performed in a single step, and the header.tpl & footer.tpl files are no longer mandatory.

It means it is now the template rendered by the controller which chooses the layout.

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{extends "{$layout}"}

{block "content"}
Hello, world!
{/block}

In the layout file, template blocks are used to define the content areas.

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<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
{include "_partials/head.tpl"}
</head>
<body>
{block "content"}{/block}
</body>
</html>

The $layout variable will always be available, but you can always change the layout if you want.

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{extends "path/to/crazy_layout.tpl"}

{block "content"}
Hello, world!
{/block}

Relative template path

You can now include a template without using the $tpl_dir variable.

Templates will be resolved starting from the current theme root directory.

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{include "_partials/head.tpl"}

New directory structure

Templates have been reorganized into functional (and more logical) subfolders:

└── templates
    ├── _partials
    │   ├── footer.tpl
    │   ├── head.tpl
    │   ├── header.tpl
    │   └── search.tpl
    ├── catalog
    │   ├── _partials
    │   │   └── ...
    │   ├── category.tpl
    │   └── product.tpl
    ├── checkout
    │   ├── _partials
    │   │   └── ...
    │   └── cart.tpl
    ├── cms
    │   ├── _partials
    │   │   └── ...
    │   └── ...
    ├── customer
    │   ├── _partials
    │   │   └── ...
    │   └── ...
    ├── errors
    │   └── ...
    └── index.tpl

Widgetizable modules

The WidgetInterface has been introduced: any module implementing this interface can be rendered anywhere, even outside of the hooks it was designed to work with.

Right now, only a few modules implement this interface, but more and more modules will be “widgetized”.

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interface WidgetInterface {
public function renderWidget($hookName, array $configuration);
public function getWidgetVariables($hookName, array $configuration);
}

The {widget_block} block function allows to customize the HTML code even more. Really handy when you need to prototype a theme quickly without knowing anything about the hooks for a module!

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{widget_block name="blocklanguages"}
<div>
<div>{$current_language.name}</div>
{foreach $languages as $language}
{$language.name}
{/foreach}
</div>
{/widget_block}

If you want to have a further look, these two modules have been widgetized:

Custom Smarty plugins

You can now embed your own custom Smarty plugins in a theme.

Just add files following the naming conventions in the plugins folder of your theme.

For example, to have a modifier that adds stars to a string, create a file named plugins/modifier.stars.php

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function smarty_modifier_stars($string)
{
return "*{$string}*";
}

Then, you can use it in your theme:

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{"Hello, world!"|stars}

Deprecations

As expected with major releases, some features will no longer be supported or available in 1.7

Mobile theme

The Starter Theme will be considered responsive by default, so the mobile theme feature has been removed.

Live edit

As the new Starter Theme will be more frontend developer oriented, the Live Edit feature will be dropped. Plus, the PrestaShop product team is currently working on a brand new theme builder!

Scenes

Scenes will be removed in the next major version.

Some more features may be added to this list as the project evolves. Keep an eye on Build :)

And remember, it’s still time to get involved and contribute. Join the party on the Trello board and Gitter!