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I am quiet new to magento and have a few questions about creating a custom template. The underlying magento version is 1.7.0.2.

Background: A few developers had the job to create a custom theme for a web shop. The problem is, that they have manipulated directly the default/default and base/default directories.

My job: Extract the changes and create a custom package/theme to get an updatable state.

Question: What is the best way to archive a custom theme, is my approach good?

My Approach:

  1. Download clean default and base packages from the magento version used for the web shop
  2. Create a custom package: <custom_package>
  3. Set default/default as parent of <custom_package>/default as shown here (http://alanstorm.com/magento_parent_child_themes)
  4. Copy all files from default/default to <custom_package>/default which have been manipulated
  5. Copy all files from base/default to <custom_package>/default which have been manipulated and are not already implemented in default/default or <custom_package>/default
  6. Replace base and default package by the clean downloaded ones
  7. Do the same with the skin stuff
  8. Activate <custom_package>
  9. Testing! I am working with git, so i can switch back and create another installation to check for unwanted changes

Result: clean and updatable base and default packages and a custom package.

Is this a good approach? What would you recommend? Or should i copy all files from default/default, maybe if nearly every file has been touched?

Thanks in advance!

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Essentially your approach is good, except that unfortunately you can't use infinite theme fallback as described in the blog post you link to as this was only introduced in 1.9CE and your underlying version is 1.7CE, therefore you can only use the standard theme fallback which is package/theme -> package/default -> base/default so you may instead want to put your theme under the default package so that you can fallback to default/default before base/default (if you need that).

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