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Bootstrap3 Theme

Bootstrap 3 is a popular HTML, CSS and JavaScript framework for developing responsive, mobile-first web applications. Due its popularity, many developers are familiar with the HTML, CSS and JavaScript techniques used in the framework.

The Bootstrap3 theme is a community effort to provide a base theme built on these techniques. It implements an OJS journal theme using core bootstrap HTML markup, and provides a number of third-party styles for Bootstrap 3 out-of-the-box.

The community Bootstrap3 theme is designed to be a base, not a final product. To ensure widespread compatibility with Bootstrap 3 resources, and to ease the introduction for developers accustomed to working with Bootstrap 3, this theme only provides markup using core components from the Bootstrap 3 framework.

This means that, in most cases, you will need to do a little bit more work with a Child Theme in order to polish off your site.

These OJS sites demonstrate existing Bootstrap child themes:

Install Boostrap3 #

The simplest way to get the Bootstrap3 theme is to download the latest release from the development repository. Unpack the .zip file and move the bootstrap3 directory to your OJS installation at /plugins/themes/bootstrap3.

The quickest way to get the Bootstrap3 theme is to use git from the command line.

git submodule add https://github.com/pkp/bootstrap3.git plugins/themes/bootstrap3

Once installed, you must go to the Settings > Website > Plugins page in your OJS admin area and enable the Bootstrap3 theme. You can then browse to Settings > Website > Appearance to choose one of the bundled theme swatches.

Bundled Theme “Swatches” #

Several Bootstrap 3 “swatches” are bundled with the theme. These swatches provide a custom pack of variables and styles which tailor the theme’s colors, typography and more.

Each of the swatches that are provided are released under a GPL-compatible license. There are thousands more Bootstrap 3 swatches (often called themes) that can be purchased from commercial websites.

Exploring Bootstrap #

Since the Bootstrap theme is just a base, it will need a bit of work to fully implement a great looking theme. It is recommended that if you’re working with these files that you be familiar with elements of both Bootstrap 3 and LESS.

To start, explore the base Bootstrap variables file:

Every color, font, etc., is declared here and each of the different bundled themes essentially just overrides these variables. For instance, here’s the Flatly theme’s variables file:

And then it includes just a little bit of additional LESS code to tweak a few more things:

Child Theming the Bootstrap3 Theme #

Each of the bundled theme swatches work the same way. They override the core Bootstrap 3 files with their own values. You will probably want to make more customizations with your own theme.

To do this, you’ll want to create a Child Theme. If you’re not familiar with this process, go back and follow that guide to build your own Child Theme and set the parent to bootstrapthreethemeplugin.

You can then use the modifyStyle() method from the Theme API to inject your own variables.

     * Load the custom styles for our theme
     * @return null
    public function init() {
        $this->modifyStyle('bootstrap', array('addLess' => array('styles/variables.less')));

Now your child theme will load an additional LESS file, styles/variables.less, from your theme’s file directory. You can override the Bootstrap 3 variables in that file.

Find the Bootstrap 3 variables file. Copy the contents of that file into your own theme at styles/variables.less. Then modify them however you’d like.

Here is an example of a modified set of colors in my new styles/variables.less.

@gray-base:              #012434;
@gray-darker:            lighten(@gray-base, 13.5%);
@gray-dark:              lighten(@gray-base, 20%);
@gray:                   lighten(@gray-base, 33.5%);
@gray-light:             lighten(@gray-base, 46.7%);
@gray-lighter:           lighten(@gray-base, 93.5%);

@brand-primary:         darken(#6f72ed, 6.5%);
@brand-success:         #5cb85c;
@brand-info:            #5bc0de;
@brand-warning:         #f0ad4e;
@brand-danger:          #d9534f;

If you would like to base your Child Theme off of one of the bundled theme swatches, copy that swatch’s variables.less file instead.

Contributing a Community Swatch #

If you’ve created a great new theme swatch that you think should be bundled with the Bootstrap3 theme, you can contribute it by opening a pull request on the development repository.

To add a new swatch to the Bootstrap3 theme, you need to set up all of the necessary files for your new swatch (e.g. myswatch).

This example will demonstrate how to use the flatly swatch as a basis for your new swatch.

  1. Copy the folder at plugins/themes/bootstrap3/bootstrap-themes/flatly to plugins/themes/bootstrap3/bootstrap-themes/myswatch
  2. Delete the existing LICENSE file and replace it with your preferred GPL-compatible license.
  3. Delete the contents from the following so that the following are empty files:
  4. Rename bootswatch.less to myswatch.less

  5. Copy the file plugins/themes/bootstrap3/styles/flatly.less to plugins/themes/bootstrap3/styles/myswatch.less
  6. Edit plugins/themes/bootstrap3/styles/myswatch.less: Modify the existing references to files in the flatly theme with references to your new myswatch.
    @import "bootstrap.less";
    @import "../bootstrap-themes/myswatch/variables.less";
    @import "../bootstrap-themes/myswatch/myswatch.less";
  7. Edit plugins/themes/bootstrap3/BootstrapThreeThemePlugin.inc.php and add a new option entry for your child theme, e.g. 'mytheme' => 'plugins.themes.bootstrap3.options.bootstrapTheme.myswatch',
  8. Edit plugins/themes/bootstrap3/locale/en_US/locale.xml and add a new locale entry for your new theme. For example: ```
My Swatch

You may wish to alter the copyright and licensing information to your own specifications in the LESS file as well. For example:


  • @file plugins/themes/bootstrap3/myswatch.less *
  • Copyright (c) 2014-2016 Simon Fraser University Library
  • Copyright (c) 2003-2016 John Willinsky
  • Distributed under the GNU GPL v2. For full terms see the file docs/COPYING. *
  • @brief Stylesheet for the My Theme Bootstrap theme. */ ```