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Build 'Radioactive' Web Sites with DotNetNuke 2.0 : Page 3

Save hours of valuable development time when building corporate or departmental Web portals with DotNetNuke 2.0, the latest version of the free, ASP.NET-based, open source, extensible, content management portal.




Building the Right Environment to Support AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning

Support for skins is one of the most-anticipated new features in DNN 2.0. So what is a skin? An official sounding definition for skins goes something like this: Skinning is a software architecture that provides a technique to separate application logic and content from its presentation. In clearer terms, it is a design that splits the three segments of an application into distinct pieces. The first piece, the application logic, determines how the site works. For example, this is what happens when a user clicks a specific button. The second piece, the site content, determines the information the site displays. This is the text displayed in a text box for example. The third piece, the presentation, determines how the site looks. For example, you might want to display a logo in the upper left corner. The separation of the three segments makes it easy to quickly change the look and feel of the site. Changing the look and feel of a site is as simple as uploading and applying a new skin.

Figure 6. Admin Site Settings: The Admin Site Settings dialog box lets you choose which skin to apply to a site.
I have found an analogy to explain skins that helps when I teach a DNN 2.0 training class. Imagine a person as a Web site. The actions they know how to perform, jumping up and down for example, represents the application logic. The things they say, reciting the Gettysburg address for example, represents the site content. The clothes they wear, a formal gown for example, represents the presentation. A quick change of clothes into blue jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap would present a very different look for the person but would have zero impact on them reciting the Gettysburg address or knowing how to jump up and down. Skins are all about how a site looks. DNN 2.0 provides a free-form skinning solution that provides full control over the user interface, and DNN 2.0 supports skinning at the host, portal, and tab levels. You can also skin your module containers. What all this boils down to is that DNN 2.0 provides you with the ability to apply different skins quickly and easily, therefore giving you the ability to mildly or radically change the look and feel of a site with just a few clicks of the mouse. Changing the look and feel of a site is as simple as uploading the new skin and selecting the skin to apply on the Site Settings tab (see Figure 6).

You can find free DNN 2.0 skins available from a number of places on the Web. I downloaded a couple of skins from www.dnnskins.com. Installation is as simple as uploading a zip file from the Host File Manager. DNN automatically unzips the file during the installation process. I downloaded the ClearCell...Multiskins skin and then uploaded it to my site. I then selected Site Settings from the Admin menu, I selected ClearCell - DarkBlue, and clicked Update. The results (see Figure 7) are pretty amazing wouldn't you say? I also downloaded the Subzero Solutions - Reach4It skin, installed in on my site, and specified it as the skin I wanted to use (see Figure 8).

Figure 7. Applying a Skin: The figure shows the DNN 2.0 default page with the ClearCell - DarkBlue skin applied.
Figure 8. A Different Skin: Here's the DNN 2.0 default page with the SubZero Solutions - Reach4It skin applied.
As you can see, just likes snakes and lizards can shed their skin, so can your Web site, revealing a totally new look and feel. Additional information on DNN's implementation of skins is available in the DotNetNuke Skinning Whitepaper found on the official DotNetNuke Web site. Stay tuned to CoDe Magazine for one of my next articles detailing the steps involved in creating your own skins.

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