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My Top 10 Cool Features Found in 3.2/4.0

Now that DotNetNuke 3.2/4.0 have been released, I thought I'd write a blog on my Top 10 cool features now available in this release. 

10) DNNTextSuggest WebControl

Ever wish to give your users a suggestion on what you think they are searching for?  The DNNTextSuggest control does just this by utilizing a client callback after the user enter a minimal set of characters.

Note:  The DNNTextSuggest included in 3.2/4.0 should be considered a beta, for we ran out of time.  

9) Expand / Collapse Animation

The visibility skin object has been enhanced to allow the expanding and collapsing of the modules to utilize an animation.

Note:  The speed of the animation can be tweaked through the AnimationFrames property.

8) Navigation Provider - StartTabId

The navigation controls now allow a specific tabid to be specified as the root of the navigation structure.  Simply specify the StartTabId attribute in your navigation markup.

7) DNNTree Keyboard Access

The DNNTree now is accessible through the keyboard, allowing you to navigate its hierarchy utilizing the Arrow keys. 

Note:  The current position within the hierarchy is denoted by the hover class.  By default the DNN install does not supply this class so in order to figure out where you are you will want to specify a css class for the CSSNodeHover property within your skin.

6) DNNMenu

One of the criticisms of DNN in the Open Source world is that it relies on 3rd party controls.  The introduction of the navigation provider and a new Menu control should help to quell some of these arguments. 

Note:  The menu included in 3.2/4.0 should be considered a beta, for we ran out of time.  

5) Navigation Provider - ProviderName

The new navgation provider allows for easy substitution of both the DNN Main Page navigation control and the Module Actions menus.  While this could be done before by coding a new skin object and adding some custom code to the skin object, it is now as easy as specifying a ProviderName in the skin object.

4) Navigation Skinning Property Reorganization

One aspect of skinning that had a steep learning curve was piecing together what attribute is used to accomplish a given visual effect.  In 3.2/4.0 we have introduced a new set of properties containing a common set of prefixes to help make it easier to find the setting you are looking for.  Here is a brief summary:

CSS – CSS classname to assign
Style – Style attribute to assign
Path – Path/Directory to locate images and script
Mouse – Settings to handle Mouse specific events
Node – Properties like custom HTML to apply to specific nodes
Separator – Properties like custom HTML to apply to separators
Effects – Effects to apply to the menu

3) Client Callbacks

The ClientAPI now supports client callbacks in a similar fashion as ASP.NET 2.0.  Developers can now easily add advanced AJAX functionality to their modules that will support both ASP.NET 1.x and 2.0

2) DNNLabelEdit Module Titles

When in admin mode you can now edit the module titles without going to the module settings page!  This is accomplished with the new DNNLabelEdit control by utilizing a Client Callback (AJAX) to persist your changes.  The new control will even support RichTextEditing. 

Note:  To enable this feature you need to set the EditEnabled="true" on the Title skin object.

1) Navigation Provider - Populate On Demand

The ability to make your navigation control support Populate On Demand is now as easy as specifying an ExpandDepth in your skin object.  Specify the number of levels to fetch with this attribute. 

Note:  This setting has no effect on controls (Providers) that do not support it.  Currently the DNNTree and DNNMenu Navigation providers support Populate On Demand (POD).

You may have noticed a little bias in the features I mention here :)


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