Sky (skybound2) wrote in component_help,

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Newbie's Page

There was some discussion earlier on how to make this journal a little less...cluttered with common questions. I helpfully suggested a newbie's page, kunzite1 helpfully suggested that I write one ;-) Here's the result. If there is anything that you think should be added/deleted/changed etc., feel free to comment and beat me over the head with my mistake :-D

Newbie's Questions Answered!

Q: What is component?

Component is an S2 based layout that is NOT available to free users. It is charactereized by its "sidebar" of customizable boxes, aptly called, "components."

Q: What is component_help for?

The journal is for users of the component layout to find useful tutorials, post useful tutorials, ask questions not already answered, and other general help in regards to customizing their component layers.

Q: What is a layer?

A layer is essentially the foundation of your journal layout. This is where all of the coding used to customize your journal will go. That being the case, once you have created a layer you will no longer be using the basic customizations wizard. All future changes to your layout should be made within the coding you place in your layer.

If you DO decide to change something using the basic customizations wizard once you have created your "user" layer (see below for details) all coding you placed into the layer will be overridden, and subsequently, lost. For this reason it is a good idea to save a copy of your layers as a text file on your computer - just in case :-)

Two layers, the “user” layer and the “theme” layer, are used in conjunction to form what is called a “style.” More information on layers can be found in the lj FAQ under ”different S2 layer types.”

Q: How do I create layers?

To create your layers you need to head over to the advanced customization page and click on your layers to begin.

Once on the page, scroll to the bottom. Here you will see an option that says: “Create layout-specific layer” with two drop down menus. Here you will chose either “user” or “theme” for your layer (depending on which one you plan to make at the time, see below for more details), and you will select which “layout” to use, ie. Component. Then click on “create.”

After you click “create” you will be taken to a table of all your layer information. A new layer will be added at the bottom of the table and will be entitled “none.” All of your layers will be separated based on the “layout” you chose when creating them. You then click on the number assigned to the untitled layer to move over to the page where you will input all of your customization coding.

Q: What’s the difference between a “user” layer and a “theme” layer?

The “user” layer is, by lj default, the place where all of the color coding and other customizations you made back in the basic customizations wizard ends up. The “theme” layer is where you can chose to place further customizations to your page. The idea being that the “user” layer includes items that you want to remain static in your journal. The theme layer, by contrast is where you can play around and, like decorating for a holiday, make your journal have customizations that you want to be able to easily switch between. More information on this can be found at liabunny’s tutorial.

As I said before, this is how lj uses the “user” layer by default. You can, of course, choose to use the layers in the opposite manner (and this is actually what lj intends you to use the user layer for). Say, for instance, you want to have one journal setup with five different color schemes. Then you would put everything BUT the color info into the “user” layer” and make five different “theme” layers, each with their own color scheme. For more information on this check out kunzite1’s tutorial.

NOTE: you should always give your layers a name which can easily remind you as to what they contain. Such as if they code for a specific color scheme etc.

Q: You mentioned “styles,” what are those, and how do layers form them?

Styles are the final, completed, layouts you will use for your journal. Your style instructs your journal as to which combination of “user” and “theme” layers to access and display. To make a style you will click on the your styles link found at the advanced customization page.

Once here, you must name your style. Just as with the layers, make the name something that can easily tell you what the style includes, that way when you want to switch styles, you won’t need to go back and double check to see what coding is included.

This will take you to the style options page. Here you will once again chose which “layout” to use (such as Component), in the drop down menu. Then click “change.” This will produce a new set of drop down menus. Here you will choose which combination of “user” and “theme” layers to use for that “style.” If you do not assign a specific “user” or “theme” layer for the style to use, it will automatically choose the default for the layout.

Now that you have made a style you need to tell your journal that you want to use it. Go back to your styles. Look for the style that you have just made in the list, and click “use.”

For more information check out the section in lj’s FAQ on creating custom S2 styles.

Q: Okay, I get all of that. Now what do I need to know?

A lot, actually. :-) First things first: if you intend to use component and make nifty customizations to your journal, you WILL NEED to spend some time learning about the basics of coding in S2. Check out kunzite1’s helpful new user guide to get an idea of what you need to know. Also check out jamesbradley's list of common code commands. Do all this before you get started! It will help to prevent many headaches later on.

Q: Okay, so I’ve read all that and now I am ready to start my customized style. Do I have to code everything on my own, or is there a place I can go to get the codes?

Many of the codes for customizations you see around component lj’s have been posted in component_help! So, with a few rare and special exceptions, if you’ve seen it done in someone else’s journal, the information you need to be able to do it in your own is available within ONE of the many tutorial’s found at component_help.

Q: There are a lot of tutorials over there. Can’t I just post and ask someone to tell me the code I want, rather then reading through all of that?!?

A lot of time and effort has been put into these tutorials, so please take the time to look through them, read up on what you want to do in your lj, and check through the recent entries in component_help (at least two pages back!) before you post a question. It’s very obvious when someone has not taken the time to look for an answer on their own. It just comes off as disrespectful and is likely to get you ignored. We understand that you might have time restraints, but so does everyone else. Keep that in mind :-)

Q: I’ve tried everything! But still I can’t get “xyz” to work! Someone help me, please!

Once you have exhausted all the info already available, are STILL getting compiling errors, and decide it is time to post a question keep a few things in mind:

1. NEVER give out your lj password! If you need someone to look at your layer so that they can tell you what is wrong insert the following line of code into your layer:
layerinfo source_viewable = 1;
2. Make sure to post any compiling errors you have, or sections of your layer under an lj-cut. Don’t know how? Go here.
3. If you plan to post any code in your entry, you will need to use a code converter, otherwise it won’t show up! Try Simple Code or kunzite1's converter for this.
4. And most importantly, this journal is for help with problems dealing ONLY with the component layout! As mentioned multiple times before, this is an S2 based layout. S1 coding will not work here. You cannot use this layout with a free account, and coding from other layout's will not work either. So please don't ask questions here about any of those things. :-D

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