How to create a theme (if I am a pure end user)

As I already mentioned that I am a pure end user of the forum, I don’t know much about html/CSS, I know just the basics and syntax. And I want to create a contribute a theme or layout to the discourse forum (shotcut) (on the forum I am regular at). And what coding language I need to make the theme or layout? It should be a modern and nice theme, just like twitter or Instagram’s theme looks.

I am not person who is a developer, even I learnt html/CSS while reading computer books in my school. Is there an extra program for end users, a basic and simple one, or do you have a nice tutorial on creating a similar theme to Instagram for discourse forums?


You could recategorize my topic to the correct place, because I don’t know where this topic is best to fit, maybe #ux .

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Check out Discourse Theme CLI (console app to help you build themes) and Developer’s guide to Discourse Themes. I think that’s where to start.


@Ar_D I’m in a similar situation myself (although I got started with the theme already). I’d recommend you check these topics. You might want to stick to the first three at first and once you get a better sense of what you are doing, dig into the last 2.

  1. Beginner's guide to using Discourse Themes
  2. Designer's Guide to Discourse Themes
  3. Theme Creator, create and show themes without installing Discourse!
  4. Beginners' guide to using Theme Creator and Theme CLI to start building a Discourse theme
  5. Developer’s guide to Discourse Themes

You can get very far with the default functionalities of Theme Creator. I did give Theme CLI a try (first time setting up something as complex, I’m very much a n00b) and found it extremely useful for getting super fast feedback on any design changes. Overall, my extremely limited HTML/CSS have gotten me very far.


Yes, it’s a huge boon to be able to make changes in a real editor on your computer, hit save, and see it before your eyes, but as you suggest, it definitely makes sense to make a few trivial changes in the web interface to see that you’re doing something (I usually do something like color: red so I can see that I’m having some effect) before spending the time to figure out the cli tool. But if you’re going to spend more than an hour of your life fooling with themes, it’s really worth your time figuring out the CLI tool. That time will be paid back very quickly.


You have clearly gave me step by step solution, thanks.

Thanks @pfaffman for sharing the CLI.

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I recently noticed that the CLI only works if I do WSL, but I never run any linux app, And the system I am using actually doesn’t open MS store, because of some possible bugs, and I am running the latest build so I cannot even update my windows.

So I think that CLI is no longer useful for me, I need to install linux on a vm on my potato internet.

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