Making DNN skinning work with Das Blog
Das Blog has its own skinning solution which consists of “themes” defined in web.config, corresponding to theme sub-folders that contain templates. The templates are basically HTML fragments with tokens that indicate where content will reside. I have been tinkering with the templates quite a bit to make sure I understand all their capabilities as I progress in making Das Blog work with DNN.
One thing that already caught my eye is that the Das Blog skinning solution is not very granular, so skinning flexibility is limited. For instance, you can specify where a blog entry will appear in one template and in another, you can specify the layout for the item. However, there is no mechanism to control what appears between individual items or if you would like a different appearance for alternating items. Having this capability does not have much appeal in general, but there are some specific situations where I think it would be useful — displaying ads in-line, automatically displaying related items using the Technorati API etc. Now the latter is clearly not something that belongs in the skinning department, however, even if implemented in the BL, there is no mechanism to skin it differently from the blog item.
One really neat thing about DasBlog is that most of the user-facing aspx pages are just shells for user controls. This is promising because it makes the process of conversion to DNN modules that much easier. I think I should be done with my skinning analysis in another 3–4 days, at which time I will continue the code conversion.