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Welcome to the hub help page for Project Darwin-related changes on Wikia.

Project Darwin is a series of improvements to the Wikia skin, starting with a new CSS customization environment and a move to a fluid width layout. Visit the Darwin forum on Community Central for more background about Darwin.

Fluid width layout

Fluid layout was released to all Wikia communities on December 4, 2013.

Overall layout

The big change is that the article width expands as the browser width is increased, going from 700px up to 1270px wide. Meanwhile, the article right rail is reduced from 330px wide to 300px wide.

When the layout is under 700px wide, the right rail content moves to below the content area. The search box is an exception and moves just above the wiki's navigation.

When previewing an edit, the editor's preview dialog now includes an option to view the article at your current width, the minimum width and the maximum width - thus allowing you to see how the article will behave on different screens.

Content area

The default content font size increases from 13px to 14px to aid readability.

Skins and backgrounds

RightRail300

The right rail at 300px wide

The Theme Designer is still used to create skins and backgrounds with the Darwin fluid width update.

General color customizations created within the Theme Designer work just as they did before.

The background image is now normally be split into two halves, with a gradient-fade in the center. That 'split' grows wider as the wiki gets wider. A specific color can be defined for the middle area in Theme Designer.

  • Tiled backgrounds do not have any change in behavior.
  • Fixed backgrounds smaller than 1030px (the old static width of the Wikia skin) do not have any change in behavior. Only larger images get the 'split' behavior.
  • For background images wider than 2000px, a "no split" option is available. This will prevent the the background from being split in half on wide screens, and may be particularly helpful if your content area is transparent.

When the site scales small enough to where no background is visible, the background image stops being loaded altogether and the skin's underlay becomes the article's background color (not the HTML background color).

See also here for more tips on updating backgrounds for fluid layout.

Main pages

The existing main page column tags continue to function properly with the fluid layout, so no new solution is needed.

The left column tag becomes fluid width, while the right column on main pages reduces from 330px to 300px wide, and moves under the left column content at smaller sizes.

We recommend setting containers to be 'percentage width' within the columns, rather than setting a specific pixel width - this will ensure it scales with varying wiki width. '100% width' will give you containers that fill up the available area in the columns.

See also here for more tips on updating main pages for fluid layout.

Special:CSS

Special:CSS was released to all Wikia communities on December 4, 2013.

Editing MediaWiki:Wikia.css sends you to a new landing page, Special:CSS. This is a new editing experience for customizing your wiki's CSS - visit Help:Editing Special:CSS for an overview of the various improvements.

The New VisualEditor

The new VisualEditor is an updated option for editing content on Wikia without use of wikitext. It is currently available for admins to enable via Wiki Features and for users to enabled in their preferences.

See Help:VisualEditor for details on how to use this feature.

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