A few observations on Joomla's templating system. …
Templates are installed just like an extension. In Joomla 1.5, this is done at Extensions – Install/Uninstall – Install; in 1.6 and later, Extensions – Extension Manager – Install. Site templates are installed in templates/, and admin templates are installed in administrator/templates/. Notice that both locations contain a template named system.
TODO: Document what the system templates do. Do they provide default CSS for frontend and backend? Perhaps the site system template is for the offline and error pages? What, if anything, should be done with them, given that any Joomla upgrade may overwrite changes made to these files?
Where you go to uninstall a template depends on the version of Joomla being used:
- Joomla 1.5: Extensions – Install/Uninstall – Templates.
- Joomla 1.6+: Extensions – Exension Manager – Manage. In the "Select Type" drop-down control, choose "Template". Select the template to remove, then press "uninstall".
After creating or modifying a template, review file permissions to insure that nothing has been inadvertently changed. As with the rest of Joomla, files should be 644 and directories should be 755.
If you have a local template you wish to upload to a remote server, for Joomla 1.5 it is not necessary to make a compressed file and install it. All you need to do is copy it to the appropriate location as described above with FTP or SCP. If you want to make a compressed file, the only valid format is zip.
Beginning with Joomla 1.6, it is necessary to create a template file and install it. Valid formats are tar.gz and zip.
TODO: Discuss template styles, introduced in Joomla 1.6.