Are we having fun yet?


[pedestrian tunnel at O'Hare Aiport in Chicago]

what are themes?

In the context of ellars.com, themes are optional presentational formats. They allow the content of a page (or even the entire web site!) to be effortlessly reformatted with only a single click (or keypress or whatever).

For the techno-savvy out there, themes are simply alternative style sheets that have been intelligently labelled for use as themes. Read on for a more detailed explanation...

how do themes work?

At the heart of themes is a technology known as Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS for short. CSS is part of the "next-generation" web technologies that are striving to separate content -- facts, figures, information, and so forth -- from presentational rules like colors, sizes, borders and layout. One of the most powerful features of this technology is the ability to link each page of a web site to the same ("external") style sheet, thereby allowing authors to completely change the look and feel of a web site simply by editing the linked style sheet file!

Web page authors can also define more than one CSS file for each page. They can even define that a particular style sheet only applies to one or more medium, such as screen (for monitors) or print (for printers). (For example, an author might choose to create one style sheet that applies for all media types, but also create a second style sheet that only applies to printing; using this method allows authors to skip the effort of creating separate "printer-friendly" pages and concentrate on creating attractive web sites filled with useful content!)

But the power of CSS does not end there! Many "modern" web browsers, including Mozilla but (sadly) not Internet Explorer, allow the user to select different CSS files that the author of a web page may have defined. This ability can be duplicated through scripting so that even browsers that don't support the feature natively can still select and retain one of these "alternative" style sheets. Once an author correctly labels these alternative style sheets, they can be used as themes.

what themes are available?


[screenshot of lightness theme]

This is the default theme for ellars.com.


[screenshot of darkness theme]

The first alternate style sheet theme, it is a color scheme variant of lightness.


[screenshot of blueness theme]

The second alternate style sheet theme, also a color scheme variant of lightness.

how do I switch themes?

Switching themes at ellars.com is as simple as selecting the desired theme from the theme list. On most "modern" graphical browsers, this list should appear below the site navigation links and just before the terms of service and copyright notices.

is that all?

For now, yes. Try clicking (or selecting) one of the "themes" links to see if anything happens.

themes?: [lightness] [darkness] [blueness]

© 1995-2013 [terms of service] [dreamhost] [xhtml 1.1]