This is the documentation for concrete5 version 5.6 and earlier. View Current Documentation

Creating a new page type

Let’s say one of these page types-- Left Sidebar, for instance-- is almost perfect for our site, but just needs a few modifications. A good way to approach this would be to copy the left_sidebar.php file, giving it a new name-- let’s call it custom_sidebar.php.

So now we’ve got it copied and renamed. Good! But there’s one last thing we need to do: install the page type on our site.

Go back to your Dashboard and select Pages & Themes > Page Types. Click the button labeled “Add a Page Type.” In the Name field, let’s enter Custom Sidebar. In the handle field, give it the same name as your actual page type-- in this case custom_sidebar.

Click “Add Page Type” and you’re all set.

At first glance you may notice that there is no template engine or theme compiler in concrete5. Logic responsible for displaying block content is handled behind-the-scenes, giving designers and developers only a few things to learn before becoming proficient at creating their own site designs.

In this section we'll dissect all the components of a concrete5 theme and tell you about their roles in rendering a page.

Theme Locations

Themes can be found in a number of different locations on your concrete5 site.

Default themes
concrete5 ships with a number of default themes, all of which are located in your_site_root/concrete/themes. (You’ll also notice a directory named core/ in there; this is the concrete5 Dashboard theme itself. We can ignore that one for now.)

Custom themes you've created
One-off themes should be placed in the override directory at your_site_root/themes/theme_name

Themes downloaded from the Marketplace
Anything you purchase from the Marketplace will arrive in a packaged format. Packaged themes from the concrete5 Marketplace will install into their respective directories under your_site_root/packages/package_name/themes/theme_name

A rule of thumb: if you’d like to modify an existing theme, copy it into your_site_root/themes before making modifications. This ensures you won’t lose any work if you upgrade your concrete5 core (and its default theme) or a packaged Marketplace theme.

Theme Anatomy

Page Types

A page type defines each of the various options our theme provides for page's overall appearance. You can switch Page Types by clicking “Design” while a page is in edit mode. Names like Right Sidebar, Full Width, Blog Entry, etc might sound very familiar to you. Taking a look at Greek Yogurt, we'll see that these correspond to individual files in your theme’s root folder:


Open any of these in a text editor. Inside each, we see a mix of HTML and PHP-- there’s no special logic, syntax or menagerie of short codes to learn.


Page types are where we create concrete5’s editable Areas. You may recall this snippet of code from earlier in our discussion of collections and areas:

$a = new Area('Sidebar');

Every time this code runs on a page, it renders an area. By simply replacing static HTML content-- text, images, anything you want to replace with concrete5 blocks-- with this code, you’ve made it editable.

Each area must have a unique name-- so if we wanted to create a second area on this page, we’ll need to come up with a title other than Sidebar. Something like ‘Another Sidebar’ would do the trick-- just as long as it’s unique to the Page Type we’re trying to render.

Theme Elements

Most sites will be at least somewhat similar from one page to the next. Because of this, re-using portions of the page code is often a good idea. The most common example of this would be a header or footer that is displayed sitewide. In concrete5, themes, we call these elements.

A typical theme design would would load the header and footer elements from a subdirectory in the theme root, called elements/. While this is the most widely used standard, a different path can be used if you wish, as long as it’s somewhere in your theme’s folder.

Now let’s take a look at a concrete5 include in action. In a text editor, open any of the page types in our Greek Yogurt theme. All begin with a call to include the header element:


Similarly, all end by calling the theme’s footer element:


Now we’ve learned how to refer to other elements in a theme. You can use this to pull in whatever elements you've created, such as a sidebar or anything else.

Special page types

Each theme in concrete5 is required to have both of the following files present. Without them, a theme won’t install. If you’re developing a theme from scratch, neglecting to include either of these files will likely cause trouble down the road-- though it won’t be terribly difficult to fix.


Because concrete5 themes are allowed to define their own page types, it’s entirely possible that the next theme you activate might not include all the page types your last theme did. When this happens, concrete5 renders default.php as a fallback.


The concept of single pages in concrete5 might not be one that you’re very familiar with. For the moment, all you need to know is that single pages are one-off pages that occupy a static path in your site, and often exist to display results or render special components of your site.  Nevertheless, view.php is an integral part of any theme and is required for a theme to install and work properly.

view.php also has the distinction of containing its own special snippet of php, not found in regular page types. Between the usual  page type header / footer includes and whatever HTML is needed to produce a basic page on your site, view.php includes this:

print $innerContent;

This line prints out the special single page content.

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