Get started with Theme Creator and the Theme CLI

This topic will walk you through how to use the Theme CLI with our Theme Creator site to develop a theme and preview your changes on a live Discourse site.

  1. Sign up for an account here on Meta if you haven’t already

  2. Log in to Theme Creator

  3. Install the Theme CLI via the instructions here

  4. Create a new theme on Theme Creator by:

  5. Click advanced, then edit locally, and retrieve API key.

    Copy the API key that is generated.

  6. Go back to your command line and type discourse_theme download example-folder, where example-folder is where your theme will be stored locally. Follow the prompts.

    • Enter as the root URL of your Discourse site.

    • Enter your API key from the previous step when prompted.

    • Continue following the prompts and select the theme you created in step 4.

    • Enter yes when asked if you’d like to start watching your theme.


  7. Now your local theme folder is being watched for changes, which will be automatically uploaded to Theme Creator. You can open a preview of your theme by clicking preview in your theme’s settings on Theme Creator.

  8. To stop watching for changes, hit ctrl + c in your command line window. To start watching for changes again type discourse_theme watch example-theme.

:tada: You now have a local theme directory you can edit and see your changes live!

For an in-depth look at how themes are structured and what you can do, check out our Beginner's guide to developing Discourse Themes


Hi. I’m trying to follow these instructions but I keep hitting a wall. After adding the API key I see the following:

/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/3.2.0/gems/discourse_theme-0.7.3/lib/discourse_theme/cli.rb:100:in `run': undefined method `exists?' for Dir:Class (NoMethodError)

        FileUtils.mkdir_p dir unless Dir.exists?(dir)
Did you mean?  exist?
	from /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/3.2.0/gems/discourse_theme-0.7.3/bin/discourse_theme:6:in `<top (required)>'
	from /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/3.2.0/bin/discourse_theme:25:in `load'
	from /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/3.2.0/bin/discourse_theme:25:in `<main>'

Any idea why?

1 Like

This tool does not support Ruby 3.2 yet because of changes in the language. We have a fix in the works, but Ruby 3.1.x works in the meantime.


Ah, that’ll be why then.
Thanks :slight_smile:

1 Like

This is now fixed - discourse_theme should work under Ruby 3.2.x from gem version 0.7.4 and up :slight_smile:


Wow, that was quick :open_mouth:
Thank you. I did manage to get it working with the help of my line manager who suggested:

rbenv install 3.1.3
rbenv shell 3.1.3
gem install discourse_theme

Which didn’t actually work until I closed the terminal tab and re-opened it again.