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Free ASP.NET Goodies! : Page 4

Marketing professionals have long known the power of the word 'free.' But in this case it's all true: An article full of goodies, resources, tools, and utilities—that won't cost you a dime.

Open Source Projects
A number of ASP.NET open source projects are available to ASP.NET developers. The more popular ones are DotNetNuke, nGallery, and the Community Server :: Forums projects.

Figure 10: The popular DotNetNuke content management portal ships with over 20 modules with many more available online.
DotNetNuke is a content management portal originally based on the IBuySpy portal (Portal Starter Kit) that provides a number of very useful features, including the ability to construct Web sites from pre-built modules, create user- and group-level security permissions, modify a skinnable user interface, access a multi-tiered data access architecture, create administrative management reports, and it includes over 20 pre-built modules (see Figure 10). In addition to the modules that ship with DotNetNuke, there are a number of free and commercially available third-party modules that provide features ranging from file uploading/downloading, to image gallery management, to complete e-commerce store fronts.

DotNetNuke is written in VB .NET, although you can create your own custom modules in any .NET language. If you're considering using the Portal Starter Kit, you will be much happier going with DotNetNuke. (http://www.dotnetnuke.com)

nGallery is an image gallery project written in C#. It provides an excellent solution to store and display image galleries (see Figure 11). Features include full album management, (allowing you to take control of your photo gallery online), Web-based image uploads, (so you can upload your images from anywhere and not have to use FTP to upload images), and it is fully skinnable, (allowing you to use your own skin to design the look and feel of your nGallery site).

Figure 11: nGallery is an image gallery application.
nGallery will soon become known as CommunityServer :: Gallery and will be available here.

.Text is a blogging engine written in C# that is currently being used to host hundreds of blogs. You can use it to host an unlimited number of blogs using a single IIS application.

.Text will soon become known as CommunityServer :: Blogs and will also be available on the http://www.telligentsystems.com site.

Community Server :: Forums
If you need to add community forums capabilities to your current or next ASP.NET project, then look no further than the Community Server :: Forums project (see Figure 12). Among the many features you will find RSS syndication (RSS), file attachments, customizable permission sets, search tools, topic ratings, skins/themes, and email notification integration.

Figure 12: The Community Server forums are the forums by which others are judged.
Because it is an open-source project, you can download the entire C# source code and modify it to suit a particular need you may have. Community Server :: Forums is managed and developed primarily by Telligent Systems.

Web Controls
Next I will cover a couple of places where you can find free ASP.NET Web controls.

The MetaBuilders Web site contains over 25 free controls for the ASP.NET developer. Notable controls include:

FirstFocus. Sets the focus to a specified control after a page has loaded.

FileUpload. Provides an implementation of the uploading HTML element.

UpDown. Emulates a Windows spinner control.

Space prevents me from mentioning any more of these controls but they are definitely worth checking out.

Point your browser at the MetaBuilders Web site for live demos of their free controls.

eXcentrics World
The eXcentrics World Web site has ten Web controls available for free all in a single assembly. Controls include:

Breadcrumb Trail. Displays a history of user navigation.

Numeric Textbox A Time Picker control for selecting a particular time value.

Calendar Popup. Doesn't require a postback to the server.

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