Concrete5 Theme Installation Issues

March 1, 2011

Our original review of Concrete5 has gotten quite a response from the Concrete5 community, and I felt it was time for a closer look.

Some quick observations:

There are some really nice themes in the Concrete5 Marketplace

Installing themes could be made clearer. Here are some problems I had while trying to install a theme downloaded from the marketplace:

  • Currently, you supposedly (according to many posts on the Concrete5 forums) have to unzip a theme’s zip file and FTP the resulting folder to the /themes directory. Trouble is, if you download a theme from the marketplace using Add to Cart, many of them are actually “packages” containing some other stuff as well as a theme – in a sub-folder. If you follow the normal instructions, you would end up FTPing it to /themes rather than /packages, and then when you go to the theme admin area in Concrete5, you won’t be able to install your new themes.
  • I was trying to install a theme called Innovation, which I downloaded from the Marketplace. Unzipped, it creates a folder called ‘cannonf700_innovation’ which itself contains a folder called /themes/innovation. The contents of /cannonf700_innovation/themes/innovation should ACTUALLY go in /themes/innovation, which begs the question: where should the controller.php file in /root/themes/cannonf700_innovation/ go? The root directory? If that’s the case, each time you install a new theme, controller.php gets overwritten.
  • Zip files should be standardized so when unzipped, no additional work is needed beyond simply FTPing to /themes; perhaps with non-marketplace themes this works fine. Ideally, you’d be able to install via a web interface with no FTP at all.

As it turns out, the themes you download from the Marketplace are in fact zipped up as packages, so you must upload them to the /root/packages/ directory, then login to your site, go to your dashboard and go to Add Functionality. Then you can install your newly available themes. It’s easy, but you have to know it. I had looked in various places on the Concrete5 including in the forums before I stumbled upon this explanation. I really like the idea of packages, but wonder why there is a separate way of installing themes at Pages and Themes. For the Concrete5 neophyte, this seems contradictory. There should be just one place to do that.

Nice Features:

  • When creating a new page, the page alias is created on the spot. In Joomla, you have to click save the article first.
  • If you don’t want to enter text in your new page just yet, Concrete5 won’t force you, whereas Joomla does.

Concrete5 is very user-friendly for editors and site owners, and with a bit clearer documentation in the How-to’s area of the Concrete5 site, it will see even faster adoption by those of us using Joomla and Drupal. I really wish Joomla had the kind of user-friendliness Concrete5 has. There are in fact some Joomla “alpha” projects that seek to do much of what Concrete5 already does, and does very well. I don’t believe Drupal has any aspirations to emulate Concrete5’s editing interface, either, though they should.