The Fossil web interface comes with a pre-configured look and feel. The default look and feel works fine in many situations. However, you may want to change the look and feel (the "skin") of Fossil to better suite your own individual tastes. This document provides background information to aid you in that task.
Fossil comes with multiple built-in skins. If the default skin does not suite your tastes, perhaps one of the other built-in skins will work better. If nothing else, the built-in skins can serve as examples or baselines that you can use to develop your own custom skin.
The sources to these built-ins can be found in the Fossil source tree under the skins/ folder. The skins/ folder contains a separate subfolder for each built-in skin, with each subfolders holding at least these five files:
The skin of a repository is not part of the versioned state and does not "push" or "pull" like checked-in files. The skin is local to the repository. However, skins can be shared between repositories using the fossil config command. The "fossil config push skin" command will send the local skin to a remote repository and the "fossil config pull skin" command will import a skin from a remote repository. The "fossil config export skin FILENAME" will export the skin for a repository into a file FILENAME. This file can then be imported into a different repository using the "fossil config import FILENAME" command. Unlike "push" and "pull", the "export" and "import" commands are able to move skins between repositories for different projects. So, for example, if you have a group of related repositories, you can develop a skin for one of them, then get a consistent look across all the repositories by exporting the skin from the first repository and importing into all the others.
The file generated by "fossil config export" could be checked into one of your repositories and versioned, if desired. This will not automatically change the skin when looking backwards in time, but it will provide an historical record of what the skin used to be and allow the historical look of the repositories to be recreated if necessary.
When cloning a repository, the skin of the new repository is initialized to the skin of the repository from which it was cloned.
Structure Of A Fossil Web Page
Every HTML page generated by Fossil has the same basic structure:
Fossil-Generated HTML Header Content Header Fossil-Generated Content Content Footer Fossil-Generated HTML Footer
The green parts are usually generated by Fossil. The blue parts are things that you, the administrator, get to modify in order to customize the skin.
Fossil usually (but not always - see below) generates the initial HTML Header section of a page. The generated HTML Header will look something like this:
<html> <head> <base href="..." /> <meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy" content="...." /> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"> <title>....</title> <link rel="stylesheet" href="..." type="text/css" /> </head> <body>
In most cases, it is best to leave the Fossil-generated HTML Header alone. (One exception is when the administrator needs to include links to additional CSS files.) The configurable part of the skin begins with the Content Header section which should follow this template:
<div class="header"> ... top banner and menu bar ... </div>
<div class="header"> and
</div> tags must be included in
the Content Header text of the skin. In other words, you, the
administrator, need to supply that text as part of your skin
The Fossil-generated Content section immediately follows the Content Header. The Content section will looks like this:
<div class="content"> ... Fossil-generated content here ... </div>
After the Content is the custom Content Footer section which should follow this template:
<div class="footer"> ... skin-specific stuff here ... </div> <script nonce="$nonce"> <th1>styleScript</th1> </script>
As with the Content Header, the template elements of the Content Footer should appear exactly as they are shown.
Finally, Fossil always adds its own footer (unless overridden) to close out the generated HTML:
Notice that the
<head>, and opening
elements at the beginning of the document,
and the closing
</html> elements at the end are automatically
generated by Fossil. This is recommended.
However, for maximum design flexibility, Fossil allows those elements to be
supplied as part of the configurable Content Header and Content Footer.
If the Content Header contains the text "
<body", then Fossil assumes that
the Content Header and Content Footer will handle all of the
<body> text itself, and the Fossil-generated header and
footer will be blank.
When overriding the HTML Header in this way, you will probably want to use some
of the TH1 variables documented below such as
to avoid hand-writing code that Fossil can generate for you.
Designing, Debugging, and Installing A Custom Skin
It is possible to develop a new skin from scratch. But a better and easier approach is to use one of the existing built-in skins as a baseline and make incremental modifications, testing after each step, to obtain the desired result.
The skin is controlled by five files:
The css.txt file is the text of the CSS for Fossil. Fossil might add additional CSS elements after the the css.txt file, if it sees that the css.txt omits some CSS components that Fossil needs. But for the most part, the content of the css.txt is the CSS for the page.
The details.txt file is short list of settings that control the look and feel, mostly of the timeline. The default details.txt file looks like this:timeline-arrowheads: 1 timeline-circle-nodes: 1 timeline-color-graph-lines: 1 white-foreground: 0
The first three setings in details.txt control the appearance of certain aspects of the timeline graph. The number on the right is a boolean - "1" to activate the feature and "0" to disable it. The "white-foreground:" setting should be set to "1" if the page color has light-color text on a darker background, and "0" if the page has dark text on a light-colored background.
- footer.txt and header.txt
The footer.txt and header.txt files contain the Content Footer and Content Header respectively. Of these, the Content Header is the most important, as it contains the markup used to generate the banner and menu bar for each page.
Both the footer.txt and header.txt file are processed using TH1 prior to being output as part of the overall web page.
Developing a new skin is simply a matter of creating appropriate versions of these five control files.
Skin Development Using The Web Interface
Users with admin privileges can use the Admin/Skin configuration page on the web interface to develop a new skin. The development of a new skin occurs without disrupting the existing skin. So you can work on a new skin for a Fossil instance while the existing skin is still in active use.
The new skin is a "draft" skin. You initialize one of 9 draft skins to either the current skin or to one of the built-in skins. Then use forms to edit the 5 control files described above. The new skin can be tested after each edit. Finally, once the new skin is working as desired, the draft skin is "published" and becomes the new live skin that most users see.
Skin Development Using A Local Text Editor
An alternative approach is to copy the five control files for your baseline skin into a temporary working directory (here called "./newskin") and then launch the fossil ui command with the "--skin ./newskin" option. If the argument to the --skin option contains a "/" character, then the five control files are read out of the directory named. You can then edit the control files in the ./newskin folder using you favorite text editor, and press "Reload" on your browser to see the effects.
footer.txt control files of a skin are the HTML text
of the Contnet Header and Content Footer, except that before being inserted
into the output stream, the text is run through a
TH1 interpreter that might adjust the text as follows:
All text within <th1>...</th1> is omitted from the output and is instead run as a TH1 script. That TH1 script has the opportunity to insert new text in place of itself, or to inhibit or enable the output of subsequent text.
Text of the form "$NAME" or "$<NAME>" is replaced with the value of the TH1 variable NAME.
For example, first few lines of a typical Content Header will look like this:
<div class="header"> <div class="title"><h1>$<project_name></h1>$<title>/div>
After variables are substituted by TH1, that will look more like this:
<div class="header"> <div class="title"><h1>Project Name</h1>Page Title</div>
As you can see, two TH1 variable substitutions were done.
The same TH1 interpreter is used for both the header and the footer and for all scripts contained within them both. Hence, any global TH1 variables that are set by the header are available to the footer.
The ≡ button for the hamburger menu is added to the menu bar by the following TH1 command in the default skin header.txt, right before the menu bar links:
html "<a id='hbbtn' href='#'>☰</a>"
The following empty element at the bottom of the default skin header.txt serves as the panel to hold the drop-down menu elements:
Out of the box, the contents of the panel is populated with the Site
Map, but only if the panel does not already contain any HTML
elements (that is, not just comments, plain text or non-presentational white
space). So the hamburger menu can be customized by replacing the empty
id='hbdrop'></div> element with a menu structure knitted according to the
<div id="hbdrop" data-anim-ms="400"> <ul class="columns" style="column-width: 20em; column-count: auto"> <!-- NEW GROUP WITH HEADING LINK --> <li> <a href="$home$index_page">Link: Home</a> <ul> <li><a href="$home/timeline">Link: Timeline</a></li> <li><a href="$home/dir?ci=tip">Link: File List</a></li> </ul> </li> <!-- NEW GROUP WITH HEADING TEXT --> <li> Heading Text <ul> <li><a href="$home/doc/trunk/www/customskin.md">Link: Theming</a></li> <li><a href="$home/doc/trunk/www/th1.md">Link: TH1 Scripts</a></li> </ul> </li> <!-- NEXT GROUP GOES HERE --> </ul> </div>
data-anim-ms attribute can be added to the panel element to direct
A faster animation duration of 80-200 ms may be preferred for smaller menus. The
animation is disabled by setting the attribute to
Before expanding the TH1 within the header and footer, Fossil first initializes a number of TH1 variables to values that depend on repository settings and the specific page being generated.
project_name - The project_name variable is filled with the name of the project as configured under the Admin/Configuration menu.
project_description - The project_description variable is filled with the description of the project as configured under the Admin/Configuration menu.
title - The title variable holds the title of the page being generated.
The title variable is special in that it is deleted after the header script runs and before the footer script. This is necessary to avoid a conflict with a variable by the same name used in my ticket-screen scripts.
baseurl - The root of the URL namespace for this server.
secureurl - The same as $baseurl except that if the scheme is "http:" it is changed to "https:"
home - The $baseurl without the scheme and hostname. For example, if the $baseurl is "http://projectX.com/cgi-bin/fossil" then the $home will be just "/cgi-bin/fossil".
index_page - The landing page URI as specified by the Admin/Configuration setup page.
current_page - The name of the page currently being processed, without the leading "/" and without query parameters. Examples: "timeline", "doc/trunk/README.txt", "wiki".
csrf_token - A token used to prevent cross-site request forgery.
nonce - The value of the cryptographic nonce for the request being processed.
release_version - The release version of Fossil. Ex: "1.31"
manifest_version - A prefix on the check-in hash of the specific version of fossil that is running. Ex: "[47bb6432a1]"
manifest_date - The date of the source-code check-in for the version of fossil that is running.
compiler_name - The name and version of the compiler used to build the fossil executable.
login - This variable only exists if the user has logged in. The value is the username of the user.
stylesheet_url - A URL for the internal style-sheet maintained by Fossil.
log_image_url - A URL for the logo image for this project, as configured on the Admin/Logo page.
background_image_url - A URL for a background image for this project, as configured on the Admin/Logo page.
All of the above are variables in the sense that either the header or the footer is free to change or erase them. But they should probably be treated as constants. New predefined values are likely to be added in future releases of Fossil.
Developers are free, of course, to develop new skins using any method they want, but the following is a technique that has worked well in the past and can serve as a starting point for future work:
Select a built-in skin that is closest to the desired look. Make copies of the css, footer, and header into files name "css.txt", "details.txt", "footer.txt", and "header.txt" in some temporary directory.
If the Fossil source code is available, then these three files can be copied directly out of one of the subdirectories under skins. If sources are not easily at hand, then a copy/paste out of the CSS, footer, and header editing screens under the Admin menu will work just as well. The important point is that the three files be named exactly "css.txt", "footer.txt", and "header.txt" and that they all be in the same directory.
Run the fossil ui command with an extra option "--skin SKINDIR" where SKINDIR is the name of the directory in which the three txt files were stored in step 1. This will bring up the Fossil website using the tree files in SKINDIR.
Edit the four txt files in SKINDIR. After making each small change, press Reload on the web browser to see the effect of that change. Iterate until the desired look is achieved.
Copy/paste the resulting css.txt, details.txt, header.txt, and footer.txt files into the CSS, details, header, and footer configuration screens under the Admin/Skins menu.