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XF 1.4 Understanding the mechanics behind the page

Hi all,

Xenforo is an awesome software, very excited by the possibilities. I hope someone can direct me to what I'm looking for:

I want to modify the look and feel of the forum I'm working on, mainly the home page. I spent the past 3 days studying, researching, reading, watching videos, testing and trialing. I've installed addons and tried that route, downloaded and installed a few free templates, spent time in the admin panel playing with the properties.

Today, making a copy of the index.php page, I renamed it as portal.php and started modifying it in a html/css editor. It's showing a lot of potential, maybe it's just a hack, and I'm not sure if there could be any security issues associated to that?

I realize I don't understand how things work behind the page. I know there is HTML and CSS for the layout look and feel, and then the Template Syntax (I can't find a list of these) but how are the various levels of activity (I don't even know if I'm using the right terms) inter-connected?

Is there a diagram that would show the various elements that make a page work? (something that has visuals, not just text, it gets confusing not being able to join image to text, not everyone has the ability to visualize abstractly). If you need me to rephrase some of it, let me know. Like I said it's all new and there are hundreds of terms and file names. I'm trying to "color-code" it all before my eyes.

Thanks in advance!



XenForo moderator
Staff member
You shouldn't be editing the index.php file.

Each page has an associated template.
You can edit the template HTML or CSS to achieve the look you want.

The FAQ in my signature explains how to locate the template name - search for 'forum_list'.
Ah, yes I am not editing the index.php. Like I said I'm creating a landing page using the same code. So far I was able to create a space in the middle like I wanted, hoping to be able to bring a few banners in there.


I want to learn more how it all works together so I can customize better. I would take out the forum bit at the bottom, add a banner zone under the menu, and add a few content blocks on the sidebars.

Do you know of any "chart," image, depiction, video that shows the various elements behind the page and how they interact?

You shouldn't be editing the index.php file.

Each page has an associated template.
You can edit the template HTML or CSS to achieve the look you want.

The FAQ in my signature explains how to locate the template name - search for 'forum_list'.
Thanks I'll look into that. I was under the impression it was impossible to replicate this, and that we needed to get an addon for it. I haven't been able to do this with any of the addons I purchased. Now I realize I can just create a page using an already existing page:

Is there a resource anyone knows about, which would explain the inner workings of nodes, template syntax, html, css, etc in Xenforo? Ideally with images too, screenshots. A kind of "Xenforo for dummies."

1- what do each term means and how to identify them on a Xenforo forum
2- how do they inter-connect and affect one another

I'm dreaming of a "GRID" view showing the code...

I do appreciate all the resources, and love Xenforo, yet as a new user, please understand that for every 2 (or more) hours of PURE READING and searching, not only here but all over the internet, watching videos, visiting addon developers own support forums, on top of the manual, etc. I only perform one or two actual tasks, and often it's not even "working." Because I miss other info, I don't have a global "site map" of Xenforo I can refer to in order to find my way through the maze.

This means that for every 5 or 15 minutes of work (to do only one thing), I sometimes require hours of just reading a ton of information, which I then have to try and interpret and place in the context of a new platform.

So for every function I've been trying to set for the past few days, every feature I'm trying to implement just to get the forum functional for us, I spent an inordinate amount of time (still) trying to figure what does what. I doubt I am the only one in this situation. I do the work, I do the search, I read, but if it doesn't fall into place, if I can't figure it out, it's not for lack of trying. There is a missing link for me - visual representations. Maybe it's because I'm from another generation, and learn through visual examples, mentoring, coaching, etc.

That is the main reason I was asking yesterday if anyone knows of resources that would fill this need. Visual charts, maps, etc. How did the creators of Xenforo demonstrate their new product when it came out? I wish someone could direct me to this kind of resource. (I'll have to check on Lynda.com).

I could be done so much more quickly if I understood what to do and taking the forum to the next level. It's a bit embarrassing for me to ask for this, but I'm sure others have realized they thrive better when someone is there to help with their question...

Voila! If by chance someone reads this and get what I'm looking for, and could help me get closer to it, I'd be very grateful!


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