As a developer
one of my greatest areas of weakness is in the area of design. Where I have
always been able to make a site functional, my designs have been merely
The author, Darren
Neese, takes you from concept to finished product. This book is aimed at
beginners, so it is perfect for me, perhaps it will fit your DotNetNuke
Skinning needs as well.
contains 10 chapters, chapter one gives an overview of DotNetNuke skinning,
including a look at the default skins that ship with DotNetNuke, the file types
that make up a skin and a high level overview of the skinning process.
takes you through creating your first skin, from choosing your editor to
placing tokens in your newly created skins. This chapter walks you through
installing Visual Web Developer 2005, I use Visual Studio 2008, installing the
starter kits (see my recommendations at the end for a little on installing
starter kits for VS 2008) and setting up your development environment. It then
walks you through creating your very first skin. In programmer speak, this
skin is the "Hello World" of skinning. You wouldn't use it in the
real world, but it gives you the very basics of the technology.
takes you through laying out your skin. It takes you through laying out a page
using tables and using CSS. It takes a look at using the best tools to make
the skin appear correctly in the most browsers. By the end of the chapter you
have a slightly prettier version of "Hello World". However, it
builds on the basics learned in Chapter 2.
Chapter four is
a basic CSS refresher. It walks you through creating a style sheet that can be
used with the "Hello World" skin, including some of the
irregularities between IE and Firefox.
begins to explore some of the real power in skinning DotNetNuke, the skin
objects. It starts out by giving a list of the objects in DotNetNuke that are
skinnable, the names used in CSS and the names of the tags that will be put in
the HTML layout. It also walks you through creating the XML file that is
needed to make the skin objects available for editing for administrators of
DotNetNuke. One of the nicest features shown in this chapter is some of the
more obscure tags that can be used in the layout, such as the [HOSTNAME],
[LINKS] and [HELP] tags.
Chapter six goes
through menu configuration. It starts out explaining the difference between
the original DotNetNuke menu and the "new" DotNetNuke menu, both
functional and performance. The rest of the chapter is about configuring the
menu, through location and adding the CSS to make it look nice within the skin,
going from the parent menu to child menus.
Chapter seven is
a large chapter, 38 pages, and it is well worth the time to go through. This
is where I fall horribly short, the actual graphical design of the site. It
takes you from choosing a graphic editor (Photoshop or GIMP are the ones they
mention) to finding pre-packaged designs. It then takes you through the design
process of creating the graphics to adding them to your HTML design.
goes through creating containers for which you will place the DotNetNuke
Modules as you start working on the site. This covers the creating of the
containers and the XML that is needed to make them available to the site.
goes through the packaging and deployment process. It explains what packaging
is and why you should or should not perform the packaging process. It then
walks through the actual process of packaging, deploying, creating thumbnails
and handling bad installs
Chapter ten, the
coup de grace, takes you through the process of skinning the control panel.
This part is short and appears to have been added as an after thought. Since
the control panel is limited in it's skinnability and it's only viewed by
people who can modify the site, I don't believe it is every anything that I
would personally use anyway.
Now, I mentioned
earlier that I would mention one of the issues that I ran into while trying to
install the starter kit on Visual Studio 2008. While this is not an issue with
this book, it is an issue with the DotNetNuke install package for the starter
kit. And I believe, that until DotNetNuke corrects the issue, that it deserves
mention in this book, to make life easier for people installing the starter
As I mentioned I
use VS 2008. My laptop is relatively new and I decided to not install VS 2005
when I got it because I can use VS 2008 to develop for the 2.0 framework.
However, the installer for the starter kit actually checks to see if VS 2005 is
installed before it will install. It doesn't check to see if it is a least
2005, it checks to see if it is 2005. For me to get the starter kit installed
I had to install Visual Web Developer 2005, install the starter kit and
uninstall the VWD. I then had the starter kit available for use in VS 2008.
As mentioned at
the beginning, this is a book for beginners. A DotNetNuke skinning expert
would not get too much out of the book. However, as a beginner I found this
book priceless and I highly recommend this book to get you over the DotNetNuke
About the Book
DotNetNuke Skinning Tutorial