Having a design survive a theme change


I apologize for being a bit slow in understanding, but by reading all the other answers on similar issues I’ve yet to make a clear idea on how it works.

I’ve been using RW for years for various web sites, in some cases of a moderate size and complexity. What I would like to do, now, is something similar to an online magazine, more focused on content than on style.

What I need are sidebar and footer elements (and maybe something under the banner) with a content repeating site-wide. RW doesn’t allow a global aside/sidebar element, or I’ve not been able to find a way to have it. Only page sidebars seem to be allowed.

Global footer can be approximated with a Body customization, but I had to discover that this doesn’t allow much control on positioning. At least, some experiments with Ad Units from Google made them fly all over the page, instead of always sitting at the bottom of the page.

I’m experimenting with Stacks. Sidebar hidden in the Theme, and a two-column, 67%/33% layout with Stacks. Partials to create content to be changed at once for the whole site.

It works, but if I then have to modify my Theme, I fear I will have to edit all the pages of my project. Is it really an issue? Or, keeping the Stacks layout simple (a content block, then the sidebar, header and footer elements) I can hope that even applying different Themes, the basic design will continue to work great?

This is a rough idea of how my template page layout should be:

And this is the resulting page (that may change soon, since I’m experimenting):


What would you do? Go on with replicating the Stacks page and the Partial stacks for all the pages of my site, without worrying for future Theme changes?


If you’re not going to use any other plugins(page types) other than stacks, that’s the best way to go. It gives you much more flexibility and control and would make “global” changes easy to apply with partials.
As for future theme changes, I’m not sure what the worry would be about.

Thank you very much, Doug. What I am worried about, for the future, is if I decide to go, for example, with a theme moving the content of the right sidebar to the left, or below the content. But I guess that once I’ve found a satisfactory layout, I should stick with it (nearly) forever.


Something I’m thinking to do is to create the full page layout with a single Partial, containing Partials for the content, header, footer and sidebar. The content Partial and some other variable boxes are unpinned, so that I can freely change them in any page.

Does this look like a clever move, or something very dangerous (“oh, I inadvertently checked that pin, and now all the variable content has disappeared from all the pages!”)?

This is an example of how it could work, if working fine:


This would be the page layout, a series of Partials inside Partials:

The (maybe safer?) alternative would be a set of Partials and ordinary boxes freely laid out on the page:



I found an older discussion trying to approach an issue that looks similar to mine. After some tests, it seems the original poster decided that too much nesting could have been causing problems. Therefore, having separate parts unrelated in the page could have been a safer solution.

On the contrary, someone invited him to continue thinking to nested stacks as a full page layout.


I think your example of partials inside of a “master” partial would be limiting.
What if you wanted to place another stack in the “main content area”? The “pinned” area doesn’t allow you to drag and drop another stack, it would only allow you to change the text in your example.

I wouldn’t call it “safer” but much more flexible. You could setup up a “master” page layout page, and mark it to not publish and then just duplicate the master to add a new page. You then would drag the page to where you want it, rename it and change it to publish.

Doug, yes, the template pages with various boxes ready (some ordinary, some Partials) would allow much more flexibility.

I would not be able to make deep global changes, but I have already all I need in my current template: a Partial header, footer and sidebar that will remain mostly coherent through the pages, and a free “main content” area that can change in any page, if needed.


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