I have a love-hate relationship with DNN.
There's a pain related with the skins…
DNN, like virtually all content management systems, relies of “skins” to determine the fonts, colors and layout of a website. The cool thing about skins in DNN is that if you set things up in a standard manner you can effortlessly change skins and transform the look of your site. But in a world of increasingly sophisticated web sites and full-fledged web apps, that turns out to be a big “if.”
Once you are in non-standard territory, you either have to find a skin that is doing almost exactly what you want to do, do an extreme customization on an existing skin or (more efficiently, perhaps) build it from scratch. Very quickly, the awesome thing is gone and the wonderful content management advantages of DNN begin to seem questionable.
Building a DNN skin entirely from scratch, to a person who knows what they are doing, may make technical sense. By starting clean you can minimize the amount of code that the skin uses and the conflicts that can arise with other people’s code. On the other hand, if you are the person paying for that developer’s time and having to budget for every feature you want included, the process can quickly become time-consuming and expensive. I think that’s exactly the opposite of what people choose DNN.
Several times I’ve tried to find a DNN skin that does most of what I need and customize the rest. I was hoping to preserve all of the design and interaction goodness in my chosen skin. But in actual practices the demos of skin and what they look like as a raw install was strikingly different. There is a huge disjunction between the demos of the popular premium (i.e. paid) skins and what your initial install might look like.
Unfortunately I don’t have the time needed to do something as simple as recreate the demo, working with shortcodes and so on.
It would be great to exist an easy way to customize the skins.