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NetTalk WebServer - Themes


NetTalk 6 introduces the concept of Themes. Themes are related to Styles in the sense that both are made up of CSS files. Themes however can be changed at runtime, whereas Styles are fixed at compile time. Themes make it easier for you to manage the visual look of your application, as well as experiment with different looks at runtime.

NEW: In NetTalk 5 you needed to copy your web folder with each NetTalk update. In NetTalk 6 this happens automatically, the first time you generate your app after updating NetTalk. So the default themes will appear in your web folder as soon as you compile your application. This reinforces the directive though to NOT edit any of the shipping files but rather to add additional files of your own.


The desktop themes in NetTalk are based on the themes provided by jQueryUI. These themes ultimately consist of a jQueryUI theme file, a NetTalk theme file, and optionally one or more of your own theme files as well.  themes are created, and maintained, using ThemeRoller.

Mobile themes are based on themes provided by jQueryMobile. Mobile themes are quite different to desktop themes though, and use a different tool, called ThemeRoller Mobile.

File Layout

Themes are stored in the \web\themes\themename folder.

CSS Order

As you may know, the order of styles in the page is important. Multiple styles can be applied to a single HTML element, and where those styles clash with each other the simple rule "last man wins" applies. So styles declared later get preference over styles created earlier.
Since style files can originate in the themes folder, and the styles folder, and consist of both NetTalk and custom files, it's occasionally useful to know the order in which the files are applied. This order applies to both the split mode, and the files created by GZipall.

  1. \themes\themename\jQuery-ui.css (or
  2. \styles\shipping NetTalk CSS files
  3. \themes\themename\Nettalk-ui.css (or nettalk-mobile.css)
  4. \styles\your custom CSS files ("included in ALL.CSS" - For All Browsers)
  5. \themes\themename\your custom CSS files
  6. \styles\your custom CSS files ("not included in ALL.CSS" - For All Browsers)
  7. \styles\shipping NetTalk CSS files (Browser Specific)
  8. \styles\your custom CSS files (Browser Specific)
From the above list you can see that your custom theme files override (where applicable) your custom style files.


In NetTalk 5 a supplied GzipAll Batch file is used to join, and compress the all.css file. If you added style files to your application, or wanted to change the theme, then you would need to manually alter the GZipAll batch file yourself.

In NetTalk 6 this step would be a lot more complicated because in addition to the all.css file, you also need to take care of the allmobile.css file, and each of the theme folders as well. Since the theme folders can grow, by you adding more possible themes, the maintenance of this file is a problem.

In NetTalk 6 the GzipBat file is created, and re-generated for you, based on the files you've added to the WebServer procedure, and also based on the themes you've added to the \web\themes folder. In some cases (if the web folder is out of date, or if a new theme is detected) then the batch file will be run automatically for you. However if you change a theme, add files to themes, or edit one of the css files in a theme, then you should run the Gzipall batch file manually after the change.

The goal of the GzipAll batch file is to create combined, minified and compressed versions of the .js and .css files. Combining the files means fewer round-trips between the browser and server, minifying removes any unnecessary white-space from the files (making them smaller) and compressing them makes them even smaller (for those browsers that can accept gzipped-compressed files).

The Gzip.Bat file creates the following files for each Theme;

  1. Theme.Css - a Minified, combined, css file for the theme, for the desktop
  2. MobileTheme.Css - the same as (1) , but for mobile browsers
  3. Theme.Fat.Css - The same as 1, but not minified. (This file is never used, it's supplied for debugging purposes)
  4. MobileTheme.Fat.Css - The same as (2) but not minified. (This file is not used, it's supplied for debugging purposes)
  5. Theme.Css.Gz - Same as (1) but Compressed with Gzip
  6. MobileTheme.Css.Gz - Same as (2) but compressed with Gzip

Add a Theme Using Themeroller

This section is for creating desktop themes. For creating mobile themes see the section, Add a Mobile Theme using Mobile ThemeRoller.  If you wish to continue editing an existing theme see the section, Edit a ThemeRoller Theme.
  1. Themeroller is an online tool that allows you to download standard jQueryUI themes, or to download a theme you have created.

    Start by going to the Themeroller web page -

  2. Click on the Gallery tab to see a list of the pre-built themes that jQueryUI offers. Four of these themes have already been downloaded for you, and are automatically part of your web folder. They are UI Lightness, Smoothness, Redmond and Sunny. Feel free to pick one of the other themes, and click on the download link just below it.

  3. Clicking on the download link takes you to a page entitled Build Your Download. You can leave all the settings on this page as they are, and click on the big Download button.

  4. After clicking on the Download button, your browser will typically ask you if you want to Save or Open the file. For now choose Save.

  5. Once the ZIP file has been downloaded, open it. (Usually just double clicking on the file will open it). The Zip file contains a number of folders, but it's only the CSS folder we're interested in at the moment.

  6. Inside the css folder is the name of the theme that you downloaded. Right-click on the name and choose the COPY command.

  7. Go to your application's web folder, into the new themes folder, right-click and choose paste. Your new theme should be visible there in the list of themes.

  8. Double click this new folder name, to go inside the new folder. Notice that the name of the CSS file contains the jQuery UI version number.

  9. Right-click on this name and rename the file to jquery-ui.css

  10. At this point open your application in Clarion and click on the  Generate or Compile button. This will copy an additional file into the themes folder for you (called nettalk-ui.css), and will also add your new theme to the Gzipall.Bat file.

In Summary, the steps to add a theme are;

  1. Download (from Themeroller)
  2. Copy (into the Web\themes folder)
  3. Rename (to remove the version number part)
  4. Regenerate your application

Edit a ThemeRoller Theme

If you have created a theme in ThemeRoller, you may want to go back at some point and edit that theme further. At first glace it appears that you can't do this - ThemeRoller starts with one of the pre-defined themes.

However ThemeRoller does have a mechanism so that you can "start" an editing session with your current theme. If you look inside the css file you will find a comment containing the words To view and modify this theme, followed by a really long URL. By copying this URL to your browser, you will pass all the current settings to ThemeRoller, and you'll be able to continue editing the theme.

Add a Mobile Theme using Themeroller Mobile

This section describes the steps for creating, and using, a mobile theme using ThemeRoller Mobile. If you want to create a desktop theme, check out the section Add a Theme using ThemeRoller.
  1. Themeroller Mobile is an online tool that allows you to download standard jQuery mobile themes, or to download a theme you have created.

    Start by going to the Mobile Themeroller web page -
  2. Edit the theme to create the look you are after.
  3. Once you have completed the theme to your satisfaction, click on the Download button.
  4. The download dialog will appear, prompting you for a theme name, and once that is entered you can click on the Download Zip button.
  5. Once the Zip file has been downloaded, open it with Windows Explorer and navigate inside it into the Themes folder. Inside this file you will find 2 css files, yourtheme.css and yourtheme.min.css. You can use either one, the min one is harder to edit by hand, but is smaller (so is recommended.)
  6. Copy this css file into your theme folder (\themes\whatever) as
  7. Manually run the Gzipall.Bat file which is in your application folder.

Adding Your Own CSS Files to a Theme

As you probably know by now, it's not a good idea to directly edit files that ship as part of NetTalk. So a mechanism exists to allow you to add your own CSS files to the themes. To add a file, open your application, go to the WebServer procedure to the NetTalk extension.

You will find the Theme settings on the Settings / Styles / Files tab.

On this tab you can set the name of your default theme, and you can add additional css files to the list. these additional files (ie your files) are placed in the folder, with the two standard files, for each theme. It's important that the file is copied into all the theme folders that you support. It's likely that you will tweak the file somewhat between themes, so be sure to have a suitable backup process in place.

Items added on this tab are automatically added into the GzipAll file when your application next re-generates. However the Gzipall.Bat file is not run automatically on each build, so remember to run it manually after compiling your application (if you have changed anything on this list.)

When to use Themes, When to use Styles?

To a large extent you can add CSS files to either the Styles folder, or the themes\themename folder, and the page will still work. However there is a difference between the two types of files.

You should use the themes folder when you want to support multiple themes, and the styles you are adding may change if the theme changes. For example, say you were adding CSS to give the browse a different color of highlight bar. Chances are this color will change if the theme changes. So in this case you'd use the Theme folder. On the other hand you may be adding some CSS related to a specific widget, say a tooltip. In this case you want the tip to appear the same, regardless of the theme, so you can place it in the Styles folder.

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