AC7 makes use of ASP.NET themes and skins feature. Themes allow you to change the look and feel of your store the way you like. Together with AC7 Scriptlets Framework, themes offer are a powerful framework for controlling display and layout of your store.
Themes are located in the App_Themes folder in your store home. Each theme has its own folder. There are two default themes that are always present in your App_Themes folder.
- Ablecommerce: This is the default theme for your store. If no other theme is present or set this theme will be used.
- AbleCommerceAdmin: This is the default theme for merchant admin.
By convention theme folder names that end with Admin are considered to be themes for merchant admin while all other themes are considered to be themes for the retail store.
Approaches to customization
There can be two approaches to customizing the look and feel of your store.
- Starting from an existing theme and gradually modifying it to get your desired result
- Starting from a Photoshop mock up and getting it implemented on your store
No 1 is relatively straightforward but does not always produce the results to the satisfaction of 'perfectionists'.
No 2 is relatively difficult and requires greater skills in web-design. For your Photoshop design to exactly map or your store pages you may have to work with aspx controls at times. However with this approach you can achieve almost anything.
I will briefly touch No 1. Starting from an existing theme and gradually modifying it to get your desired result.
Creating a New Theme
Creating a new theme is as easy as creating a new folder in 'App_Themes'. For starters the best way to create a new theme is to copy one of the existing theme folders and rename it. Once you have done this your new theme is ready to be used in Ablecommerce except that it is yet to be customized according to your needs.
A theme may contain a number of CSS files, ASP.NET skin files, images and etc. You will most likely be editing the CSS files and/or changing the images most of the time. To be able to best customize the look and feel of your theme you need to know a bit of CSS. If you are good at it you will find that you can do almost anything with your AC7 store. Knowing a bit of graphics designing also helps a great deal in creating visually appealing sites.
In any case whether you are an expert or novice you can always do the basic tweaking of your store. If you are looking for more than basic tweaking you always have an option of getting in contact with some web designer.