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Getting Started Guide

Looking to create a CleanSlate theme? The "Getting Started Guide" is a great way to learn the process of creating a theme. Follow the steps below to get up and running quickly. It is required that all newly developed themes follow the web standards and guidelines for creating your site.

Make a Request

Step 1: Fill out the " Theme Developer - CleanSlate Request Form"to request a:

  • new user account for CleanSlate and Bitbucket
  • new site in CleanSlate
  • new theme repository in Bitbucket

CleanSlate Request Form 

Step 2: Wait for a response from University Relations - Web. Generally we will respond to your request within 1-2 days with a notification that your request has been completed.

Step 3: Log in with your WVU Login credentials to check your request. Once you receive your notification from University Relations - Web, you need to double check CleanSlate and Bitbucket to make sure it has been properly setup.

Please notify University Relations - Web if you are having problems with your accounts.


Step 1: Use Git. CleanSlate uses Git to version control our themes. If you're not familiar with Git, visit: 
If you're already familiar with using Git, then skip to the next section.

Local Setup

Step 1: Clone the theme repository in the ~/Sites/cleanslate_themes directory on your local computer. You may need to make a Sites folder and a cleanslate_themes folder as well. If you need a refresher on how to use Git, refer to the Requirements section above.

Step 2: If you are using a Mac you will need to adjust your computer settings to view the hidden files in your theme. Visit this site to learn how to view hidden files on your Mac.

    Create Your Theme

    Step 1: Use Supertheme or Brand Patterns as your theme. Before you start writing code, we strongly recommend you download and use Supertheme or Brand Patterns as a starting point for your CleanSlate theme. These templates are approved, accessible, and branded. 

    Step 2: Structure your site the right way. Every site in CleanSlate needs to have the correct site structure. Without the correct structure, your theme will not work in CleanSlate. Visit  Theme Creation Rules to learn more about the setting up a new CleanSlate theme. You should also check out the CleanSlate Toolkit boilerplate for a working example of a theme's structure.

    Theme Creation Rules

    Step 3: Make your template D.R.Y. Learn how to use  layouts and the r:yield tag to make your template more flexible.

    Layouts and r:yield

    Step 4: Make use of your tags. See Convert a Theme to CleanSlate or use the Tag Index to reference all of the available radius tags for CleanSlate theme development.

    Convert a Theme to CleanSlate

    Tag Index

    Working Locally

    Step 1: Start developing your CleanSlate theme locally.  Hammer Virtual Machine is a virtualized theme development tool for the CleanSlate CMS template rendering engine. Hammer was created to help you iterate quickly on themes and template markup on your local computer.  

    Add Your Theme to CleanSlate

    Step 1: Git add, commit, push and then sync. To make your changes live you will need to push your local theme changes using Git and then sync your theme in CleanSlate. 

    Make Your Changes Live

    Step 2: Start adding content to your site. Visit the content publishing section of this site to learn more about managing your content.  

    Content Publishing

    Launching the Site

    Step 1: You must submit your designs via ConceptBoard. Give us at least 5 business days to review your design upon submitting your original concept. You can submit images or a link to a *.sandbox site. We will provide feedback in the board comments and give you the go-ahead to build the site (if you haven't already done so). Once you think you are ready to go live, submit the website for formal approval. You must submit your final * URL at least one week prior to your intended launch date. Please include Adam Glenn, Adam Johnson, and Mike Esposito on the approval request, and ONLY these approvers. Mike and Adam G. will sign off on your design and AJ will sign off on accessibility.

    Step 2: Fill out the Website Host Name Request Form. Before you launch your site you will need to put in a request for your host name. Fill out the form to request a:

    • new host name
    • replace a current host name
    • DNS change
    Please allow 2-3 business days for all host name / DNS requests to be processed.

    Last updated on May 23, 2019.

    We welcome all questions, feedback and bug reports. If you're having an issue, we usually need the following information:

    • A brief description of the issue
    • A link to the page where you saw the issue
    • Screenshots that illustrate the problem - How do I take a screenshot?

    Kindly email for help or use the form on the request help page.