Web Design Using The Dnn Skin Engine
Before the introduction of modern-day content management systems, numerous expert website design companies depended on handling static HTML websites for a considerable part of their profits. However, with the emergence of content management systems such as DotNetNuke, the consumer has rapidly become knowledgeable of the many benefits provided by dynamic sites.
In order to deal with this new demand, web designers need to become familiar with the opportunities presented by these innovative technological advancements. The skinning architecture in DotNetNuke allows professional web designers to create beautiful user interfaces which assimilate seamlessly with the underlying portal application to deliver a impressive, yet visually appealing client website.
The Expression “Skinning” refers to a software architecture which provides you with a Controllable way to Distinguish application logic and content from its presentation. This abstraction of “form” and “function” is sometimes referred to as a two-tiered presentation model. The advantages of skinning are that application logic and web page layout are Segregated and can be designed and modified Separately. A software developer and a web page designer can collaborate without the Possibility of interfering with each others work.
One of the good things about classic ASP – and one of the main explanations for its acceptance as a rapid web development (RAD) tool – is the fact that ASP scripts can be put into regular HTML markup to turn otherwise static HTML content into intelligent web pages. This aspect makes it possible to rapidly write ASP applications that construct web pages dynamically from a database and to generate impressive web applications.
However, this simplicity comes with a price. Many ASP websites have a mangled spaghetti of intermingled HTML markup and ASP script, making them hard to figure out and even more difficult to maintain. This difficulty frequently rears its ugly head when web designers need to alter the user interface. Since the presentation attributes are inlayed in the ASP script, modifications typically require a joint effort between a web developer and a designer to ensure the integrity of the modification. This ultimately results in much more work, more time, and greater cost.
Skinning consists of the use of “templates” which separate presentation and layout characteristics from application logic. An intelligent skinning engine is then utilized to assemble the artifacts into a final product. This two-tiered approach offers both developers and designers a good level of independence when it comes to maintaining a web site, and can significantly lessen the time and effort required in the post-release phases of a development project.
However, skinning also introduces some complexities to your web application. The process of merging multiple files into a single page can result in significant performance degradation. Not to mention, developers must be well knowledgeable to keep the presentation details of layout and appearance abstracted from their script code. Both of these items can be mitigated through the use of technology and a solid skinning architecture.
Because of this the skinning solution needs a procedure for a web designer to define a skin using the most basic base technology. HTML is the lowest common denominator when it comes to the World wide web and has the greatest support in terms of design programs. The only problem with HTML is that it is ultimately static – yet a web application has needs for dynamic components as well.
Based on the needs and challenges specified above, it would seem to be useful to enable web designers to include placeholders into their HTML markup which represent dynamic functionality. This offers the cleanest abstraction of “form” and “function”. The skin file could be altered without affecting the application logic. The application logic could be modified without impacting the user interface. The only challenge is the performance penalty added by this extra layer of separation.