For the examples in this article, I am going to use Telerik's RadControls to build a site layout. When developing a template, some of
the controls that Telerik provides that make the template better are:
Rotator - Like the ASP.NET AdRotator control, this control can
rotate advertisements, but in a much better way. The typical ASP.NET AdRotator
control displays one image on every page load. Telerik's control rotates many
images at the same time. This means multiple ads can be displayed at one time
in a rotating fashion, rather than a single advertisement.
PanelBar - This control creates an outlook-like navigation bar,
which expands or collapses the panels open so that only one panel is visible at
a time. If you are familiar with the AJAX control toolkit, this is similar to
the Accordion, except much better.
Dock - The docking controls provide web part functionality to a
page, while giving you control over how the content is loaded or saved to the
database. This is nicer because the .NET framework does not make it easy to
load/save content to a custom database (you have to create a custom
personalization provider to store to your own custom data store).
Toolbar - The toolbar control renders a bar at the top of the
page, containing a combination of buttons, drop down, and split buttons to
represent the page. The toolbar is reminiscent of a windows application, a
feature that is great for rich applications.
Menu - This is another control that functions like most
windows-based applications, giving the user the ability to select a specific
menu item in a complex menu navigation structure. This menu is similar to the
ASP.NET menu control, but is better in many respects.
TreeView - The tree control from Telerik is a great control to
have, if that is the type of navigation system desired. While tree controls
are nice to have, some UI layouts need the panel bar or a menu.
Only the first three controls
will be evaluated in this article.
When designing a template, it is not just as simple as
picking the layout controls. You are still in control of the layout design
choices (is the panel bar on the left or the right side of the app?). This
often requires some playing around and repositioning accordingly. However, this
article is going to focus in the components themselves. Let us begin to examine
Note: This article assumes that you have downloaded and
installed Telerik RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX.