Now that the preliminary items have been addressed, it's time to discuss the steps for developing a custom skin from the ground up. In the last chapter, the components of an existing skin were examined and modified to see some of the moving parts. Now you'll create one of your own.
The first prerequisite for creating a custom skin is an idea for a design. This can take the form of a large JPG file that mocks up the entire page in the browser, or something less sophisticated like a piece of paper with some scribbling. The important thing is to identify a goal for the skin to achieve with an acceptable level of risk. If your client has to approve the site before they cut the final check, you're probably less willing to accept risk in the design.
The design is the inspiration for constructing the skin and container files, as well as the CSS files used by both items. This chapter outlines a couple of approaches for constructing each element of a skin and discusses some tools useful for solving problems that are bound to spring up along the way.
The process starts with the idea for a web page. Give some thought to what the website should look like before you get knee-deep in HTML and CSS. The design isn't likely to consider every possible feature on a web page, but it is beneficial to spend some time in creative space before you get your angle bracket hammer and start pounding out some HTML.
In this chapter, you work with a custom graphic ...