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01 October 2006

Skinning a ZWiki

Coding at home for the "nautica" ZWiki project

This weekend I wasn't content with relaxing and enjoying going out with friends for coffee and with the HelMUG guys for... eh... coffee too. I worked on a little coding project with ZWiki. Hacking in my spare time today was fun. Even though I did nearly the same stuff I do at work, I feel relaxed. It seems that because I did something new, was on a "discovery" tour, there was something playful to it, like playing a game. Now, what was it all about, this ZWiki and Skins thing?...

Screenshot nautica05 design on ZWiki

You know, I have had this idea that a ZWiki (or any Wiki for that matter) is really a simple little Content Management System, in fact I wrote once about the easiest CMS on Zope. But to make good use of a CMS, the result has to look good and people don't want to spend weeks to restyle the basic ZWiki look. That's what templates are for. At, lot's of free and good looking web templates are available. My little project was to pick one of those and make it "dynamic" with a ZWiki.

I'm not going into the details here, that will have to wait for a How-To somewhere on But basically the work consisted of dropping the HTML files, images, and CSS files into the ZWiki folder. Then adapting some of the ZWiki templates to produce HTML that "fits" with the openwebdesign template. Even allowing for some time where I had to orientate myself in the ZWiki code base and template system, it took just a couple of hours. There are still some rough corners and some things not yet done. But the intermediary result at is pretty nice (if I may say so myself, and I didn't do the design anyway :-). Motivation enough to write out the procedure in more detail soon.

Posted by betabug at 21:00 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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Re: Skinning a ZWiki

Quite nice except that it takes up far too much of the screen. A Wiki is something you're working with often and only need to be impressed with the design once if you see what I mean.

I for example, did a much bigger header banner image on the homepage of but then on all other pages it uses a little one. That's a nice approach I think.

Otherwise, this nautica one looks really good!

Posted by: Peter Bengtsson at October 07,2006 17:52
Re: Skinning a ZWiki

Peter, yes, the design takes up a lot of screen real estate. But it's not so much meant as a wiki. My idea is to use a site like this for a simple company, club, or personal site. The wiki will just do the content management duty in the background.

Apart from that, the nautica site could be a showcase for restyling a wiki in general. As you said, for something that is used purely as a wiki, one would choose something more economic. The principle of adapting an open source template would be the same, that's where the howto comes in.

Posted by: betabug at October 07,2006 18:49
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