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Different view theme depending on institution

steve P's profile picture
Posts: 122

28 May 2010, 12:44 AM

I've been asked to investigate how our dual sector institution could have views that are branded according to Mahara institution. So, our Training and Further Education students (our TAFE 'institution' in Mahara) would have view footers/headers that are branded differently to those in our 'Higher Ed' institution.

The site-logo-small.png file is located in the raw directory, suggesting this type of control isn't built-in.

How would I go about making this possible (with new code, if necessary)?


Craig Eves's profile picture
Posts: 104

30 May 2010, 6:16 PM

Hi Steve

Mahara supports multiple institutions and each institution can have a theme associated with it

Site Adminsitration > Manage Institutions > Institutions > Edit and select the theme.

Information on creating the theme template is available at




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anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 808

31 May 2010, 11:57 PM


In the next version of Mahara, views will be able to have an associated theme.  View owners will be able to choose a theme for their view from those available on the site, and then others viewing the view will see the chosen theme.

Themes will be able to specify (in their configuration file) a list of institutions whose users are allowed to use that theme for their views.  For example the TAFE theme could have only the TAFE institution in this list, and that would stop Higher Ed or No Institution users from setting the TAFE theme on their views.

So I think we're almost there, but there's one more thing I'll be doing, before the next release, for a multi-institution site that we look after:

Currently when creating a view, we default to setting no theme for the view at all, which means the theme of the viewing user is used rather than the theme of the owner (like existing Mahara 1.2 behaviour).  I think if we add an extra setting to set a new view's theme explicitly to the user's default (institution) theme, then we'll get something close to the behaviour you want.


steve P's profile picture
Posts: 122

15 June 2010, 8:13 PM

Thanks for your reply, Richard. That's exactly what we need: the ability to control the view's template (header/footer) based on the view owner's institution, not the viewer's institution.

Paul Taylor's profile picture
Posts: 29

16 June 2010, 1:40 PM

Hi Richard:

Somewhat related to this, and apologies if it is elsewhere but it didn't come up with a Google search.  I am creating a site for my daughter's Brownie troop, but also for all the Girl Guides.  I have a main institution for the Guides, but a different theme if they log in as a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide, Ranger, or Leader.  However, I have created a view for each institution and made it available for all members of the institution, but the view never appears.  I have tried everytrhing, but when each user logs in, they get the default page, but no view.  A view would be more useful for each institution to deliver information specific to them.

What am I missing?

Happy to provide a demo login if it is not clear.


anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 808

16 June 2010, 5:21 PM

Hi Paul,

Institutions can set a theme for their users to see, but unfortunately there is no way yet to set the content of the home page depending on the user's institution.  The content that appears on the home page is not a view, it's just html that can be edited in the admin site page area, and the same content is used for everyone.

All I can suggest at the moment is that you put links to all the institutional views in the logged-in home page content.

The next version of Mahara may be a bit more helpful -- every user will have a view called the dashboard appearing on the home page, but we are planning to make that view customisable by the user rather than fixed by the institution.

The current purpose of institution views is as templates for user views. On the edit access screen for an institution view you can set it up so that new users get a copy of the view (on their own personal my views page) when they become members of the institution.


Paul Taylor's profile picture
Posts: 29

17 June 2010, 2:22 AM

That all makes sense.  I was a bit confused with the view for each institution.  I'll see what I can come up with.  Thanks for the clarity.

steve P's profile picture
Posts: 122

08 September 2010, 1:38 AM

Hi Richard,

The ability to choose themes for views, and to brand views belonging to an institution is an excellent addition to 1.3.

One thing I've noticed in the RC, however, is that when a user moves from institution A to institution B, and both of those institutions have their own 'branded' themes assigned to all views, all of the user's views retain the theme from institution A with no way of reassigning institution B's theme to them. I'm not sure if this is intentional fuctionality, but I was expecting those views to take on the theme of their new host institution.

Can you please clarify?

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 214

08 September 2010, 3:41 AM

Hi Steve,

When you say 'move' between the institutions, what do you mean? There's no real concept of this in Mahara. A user always has one institution which is preferred over any other they belong to - the one to which they authenticate against. One of the strong points of the Mahara Pedagogy is that learning is user-centric and not institution-centric.

To prevent a theme being chosen from one of the user's institution themes would be chosen at random, the theme is based upon the auth instance. If a user uses an external authentication mechanism, or if a user's authentication instance is based upon a specific theme, then that theme will be used.

I'll try and make this clearer on the wiki.

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