About skins...

By default, b2evolution blogs are displayed using a skin.

You can change the skin used by any blog by editing the blog settings in the admin interface.

You can download additional skins from the skin site. To install them, unzip them in the /blogs/skins directory, then go to General Settings > Skins in the admin interface and click on "Install new".

You can also create your own skins by duplicating, renaming and customizing any existing skin folder from the /blogs/skins directory.

To start customizing a skin, open its "index.main.php" file in an editor and read the comments in there. Note: you can also edit skins in the "Files" tab of the admin interface.

And, of course, read the manual on skins!

About widgets...

b2evolution blogs are installed with a default selection of Widgets. For example, the sidebar of this blog includes widgets like a calendar, a search field, a list of categories, a list of XML feeds, etc.

You can add, remove and reorder widgets from the Blog Settings tab in the admin interface.

Note: to be displayed widgets are placed in containers. Each container appears in a specific place on a skin. If you change the skin of your blog, the new skin may not use the same containers as the previous one. Make sure you place your widgets in containers that exist in the specific skin you are using.

Skins, Stubs, Templates & website integration...

By default, blogs are displayed using a skin. (More on skins in another post.)

This means, blogs are accessed through 'index.php', which loads default parameters from the database and then passes on the display job to a skin.

Alternatively, if you don't want to use the default DB parameters and want to, say, force a skin, a category or a specific linkblog, you can create a stub file like the provided 'a_stub.php' and call your blog through this stub instead of index.php .

Finally, if you need to do some very specific customizations to your blog, you may use plain templates instead of skins. In this case, call your blog through a full template, like the provided 'a_noskin.php'.

If you want to integrate a b2evolution blog into a complex website, you'll probably want to do it by copy/pasting code from a_noskin.php into a page of your website.

You will find more information in the stub/template files themselves. Open them in a text editor and read the comments in there.

Either way, make sure you go to the blogs admin and set the correct access method/URL for your blog. Otherwise, the permalinks will not function properly.

Apache optimization...

In the /blogs folder there is a file called [sample.htaccess]. You should try renaming it to [.htaccess].

This will optimize the way b2evolution is handled by the webserver (if you are using Apache). This file is not active by default because a few hosts would display an error right away when you try to use it. If this happens to you when you rename the file, just remove it and you'll be fine.