How to convert Joomla 1.5 template to Joomla 2.5 template


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In this tutorial, we will show how to convert a Joomla 1.5 template to Joomla 2.5 template. We will take default Joomla 1.5 template "rhuk_milkyway" as an example and convert it to Joomla 2.5 native compatible template.


This tutorial covers only template conversion process, so it's assumed that you already have Joomla 2.5 website installed or converted from version 1.5.

There are 5 steps involved.

  1. Make a copy all Joomla 1.5 template files
  2. Edit files structure
  3. Edit file "templateDetails.xml"
  4. Edit file "index.php"
  5. Install and test converted Joomla 2.5 template

Step 1. Make a copy all Joomla 1.5 template files

The first thing to do is to copy the whole theme folder from version 1.5 to version 2.5

Copy whole Joomla template folder

Copy the whole template folder

  1. Go to theme folder in Joomla 2.5 website
  2. Create folder named "rhuk_milkyway25"
  3. Copy all files from folder "rhuk_milkyway" in Joomla 1.5 template folder to folder created in point 2.

Step 2. Edit files structure

Now, you need to edit folder structure to make it compatible with Joomla 2.5

Edit folder structure to make it compatible

Edit folder structure to make it compatible

  1. Delete file "params.ini"
  2. In version 1.5 this file used to store values of template parameters. But in version 2.5, all template parameters are stored in database. So there is no need for file "params.ini".

  3. Copy file "error.php" from default Joomla 2.5 template "atomic"
  4. Joomla 2.5 introduces new file "error.php" to contain layout of error pages. This file is simple and we can reuse the file from default theme "atomic".

  5. Create new file "template_preview.png"
  6. Joomla 2.5 introduces new file "template_preview.png" to present big preview image of the theme. You need to make a 640x480 screenshot of your theme and name it "template_preview.png".

Step 3. Edit file "templateDetails.xml"

Now, you need to edit file "templateDetails.xml" to make it compatible with version 2.5.

  1. Rename tag to

Edit file

Comparison table

  1. Change template name in tag

img src="/images/content/blog/joomla-25/how-to-convert-joomla-15-template-to-joomla-25-template/template-details-xml-02.png" alt="Change template name in tag " align="middle" width="600" height="200">

  1. Replace multiple tags with single tag
  2. This is very cool feature of Joomla 2.5. Now you don't need to declare all files in some folder, you just need to declare that folder.

Declare file folder

  1. Delete declaration for file "params.ini"

Delete declaration for file

  1. Add declaration for new files created in step 2
  2. Add 2 following tags:

    1. error.php
    2. template_preview.png

Add declaration for new files

  1. Rename tags in section

img src="/images/content/blog/joomla-25/how-to-convert-joomla-15-template-to-joomla-25-template/template-details-xml-params.png" alt="Rename tags in section " width="600" height="630">

Comparison table

Step 4. Edit file "index.php"

After editing file "templateDetails.xml", you need to continue to edit file "index.php".

  1. Add PHP code to load Mootool library
  2. Add code string "JHtml::_('behavior.framework', true);" to the location as seen on screenshot bellow.

Add PHP code to load Mootool library

  1. Replace template name text "rhuk_milkyway" with php code
  2. Joomla 2.5 allows you to get theme name directly from file "templateDetails.xml" file, so there is no need to declare theme name as plain text.

Replace template name

Comparison table

Step 5. Install and test converted Joomla 2.5 template

Now, the converted Joomla 2.5 template is presented in templates folder, but you won't see new theme in Template Manager, because it's not installed yet. Make following steps:

  1. Go to Administrator > Extensions > Extension Manager > Discover.

Choose Discover tab in Extension Manager

  1. Click button "Discover" on toolbar

Click button

  1. Select appeared item "rhuk_milkyway25" in the list and click button "Install"

Choose the Joomla 2.5 template to install

  1. Now, the Joomla 2.5 template is installed and you can go to "Template Manager" to set it as default.

Set the new Joomla 2.5 template as default

We finished Joomla template migration with template "rhuk_milkyway" for today. Do you have any other ways to convert your template from version 1.5 to version 2.5 ? Please share using comment form belows. Feel free to leave questions if you get trouble with this migration process.

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