1. bentlegen

    A Look Inside the Disqus Theme Editor

    Posted on March 3, 2011 by bentlegen

    NOTE: The features mentioned in this blog post are no longer available in the current version of Disqus.

    A few months ago, we launched Disqus Add-ons, a set of paid plans that enhance your Disqus community with advanced features. Some of those features include our Analytics dashboard, Single Sign-on capabilities, partner API access, and of course our new Theme Editor.

    Today I’m going to talk in depth about the Disqus Theme Editor, and what it means for users that are taking advantage of our add-ons packages.

    image

    How does it work?

    The Disqus commenting embed is split up into templates, just like your WordPress blog or favourite CMS software. The theme editor lets you select individual templates, make your modifications, and then publish the changes. The actual code editor is powered by Ace, which gives us syntax highlighting, automatic indentation, and other goodies you might find in your standby text editor.
     image

    Why not just CSS?

    Since the Disqus commenting embed is rendered as HTML on your page, it can be styled according to CSS rules you specify on your web page. You can go a long way just modifying Disqus’ CSS - and our new Houdini theme is even more amenable to styling than ever.
     
    At the same time, we recognize there are websites that have demanding style requirements that need to go beyond just CSS. They need access to the underlying HTML structure that makes up our commenting embed. That’s where the Theme Editor comes in.

    Sharing themes

    Of course, many of our users host more than one website or blog. Themes you create through the editor are selectable by any forum under your ownership. We’ve even designed a new theme switcher to help expedite the process. image

    Still a long way to go

    Unfortunately, we’re not yet able to make this widely available for all users. Unlike commonly theme-able software like blogging and CMS applications, Disqus is full of complex JavaScript interactions and modifying a theme has a high probability of introducing bugs. Still, we’re working hard to improve our theming API so that we can increasingly open up the theme editor to a larger set of users.
     
    If you’d like to use the theme editor today with a bit of hand-holding from our support team, you can check it out as a Disqus Add-on.

    Lastly, we’re also interested in talking with designers who would like to create themes for our official gallery. Let us know at themes@disqus.com or leave a comment below.

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