The last three weeks I have found myself extremely busy with the Skinning Contest. First, I built a module for the voting portion of the contest (with the help of Joe, thanks Joe!). When originally deployed, we found some problems with allowing everyone to vote so I apologize to those who initially couldn't vote (we have corrected this as of last week), so I spent a bit more time investigating that. Next I started preparing a skin object for public release (also for the skinning contest). Finally, I spent a good portion of this week re-packaging the 25 submissions for public consumption (this requires proper licensing, structure, naming, etc.).
Spending all this time on the skin submissions provided me lots of insight into how skin designers today are packaging their skins for distribution. For the most part, it seems skin designers are using the built in packaging that DotNetNuke provides for skins and containers. Having not packaged a skin myself for distribution since the 3.x days, and the desire to showcase best practices, I also spent a bit of time researching the .dnn manifest options available to skin designers (this changed drastically in 5.0). Because of this, when time permits, I am going to create a series of blogs on skin, container, skin object and widget packaging with the goal of educating designers on single package distribution (and all items as properly registered extensions). More to come on this later.
Outside of the packaging, which is no fault of the designer since they are using the built in packaging and we lack documentation otherwise, I think the submissions look pretty darn good. I understand the amount of time it takes to create a skin and container package from scratch and all the thought/effort/creativity that goes into it, so a big thanks to all of those who participated.
If you haven't voted yet (or seen the skins), hop on over to the contest voting page (for those who already have, thank you!). Don't forget, when you vote you'll be automatically entered in a random drawing for a daily book giveaway from our friends at Packt Publishing and APress. Hurry up, the voting ends soon!