For personal reasons, I make it a habit not to take on DotNetNuke development work for others. It just complicates life for me. However... I made a special exemption in my normal rules for a very good friend of mine to convert a couple of existing sites to DotNetNuke and so I'm getting a little extra "user" oriented experience (no development, straight implementation with existing modules).
Everything is working just great. Except for one small detail... The existing sites implement what is essentially a PanelBar menu. And I've been having a heck of a time finding a cleanly packaged implementation of a PanelBar menu such that any "non-developer" might be looking for!
Asking friends, I was alerted to a couple of low cost alternatives that I was not aware of:
- http://www.dotnetnuke-modules.nl is an interesting Panelbar that Leigh Pointer is involved in creating which is not quite available just yet (I don't think).
- http://www.snapsis.com is a very lightweight vertical menu that John Mitchell uses for his own work and also sells pretty cheap.
Since the sites I am working with are more traditional and conservative... their preference (and mine, in this instance) was to want to use more traditional ASP.Net components. So I went immediately to our DotNetNuke sponsor (telerik) and another DNN friendly component vendor (Component Art):
Hmmm... frustration sets in.
Where are all the component wrappers? For all the really cool components that can be had for .Net... it just doesn't seem like anyone is wrapping them for use in DotNetNuke? I would think that navigation controls would (skin objects) would be a #1 choice? Sure... there are licensing costs involved but there are 000's of site out (even the small community oriented ones) that spend money on "glitzy" modules. If I had been able to spend a couple hundred dollars on some clean wrappers for these controls I would have done it in a heartbeat!
One rare example of a DotNetNuke module which is using advanced controls (that I am aware of) is the Web Planner from Falafel Software. And of course I now see that they have a navigation component also... *grin*... I need to ask how configurable it is!
But ultimately... it came down to me finding a friend who was willing to do the wrapper for me (I just don't have time for coding myself, despite my strong desire to be doing so). Since his experience and available development license is for the Component Art controls... that's what we're going to use.
In my brief excursion into the world of the consumer... I have discovered what feels like an extreme void. That is simply the wrapping of great simple controls for use within DotNetNuke. If I ever get through all of the other opportunities that I am chasing (and obligations I am fulfilling) it will be a personal mission to see that more of these become available... and easier to use! I'd give a few of them away (license fees apply, of course) just to see the extra leap in site visual appeal rise across the board.
But until I find the elusive 30 hour day *grin*... or grow a third arm... I'm going to just have to sit here and wonder...
...where are the component wrappers?