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JavaScript Libraries

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  • 4/7/2015



JavaScript Libraries

Last updated 9 years ago



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DNN 7.2 added JavaScript Libraries as a new type of extension.This allows common JavaScript libraries to exist in a single place within a DNN site, instead of every module, theme, and piece of content that wants to include them using their own. DNN ships with libraries for jQuery, jQuery UI, jQuery Migrate, Knockout, and Knockout Mapping.

In addition to these built-in libraries, new libraries can be installed into DNN, and used by various components. DNN allows multiple versions of aJavaScript library to be used, so one module can request a particular versionof a script, while another requests another. So long as they aren't on the samepage, they will get what they requested; otherwise, DNN will use the higher version.



Starting in DNN 7.3, there is a skin object called JavaScriptLibraryInclude which can be used to request a JavaScript library (including jQuery, but also any 3rd party library) from a skin. To do that, you need to register the skin object at the top of your theme:

<%@ Register TagPrefix="dnn" TagName="JavaScriptLibraryInclude" Src="~/admin/Skins/JavaScriptLibraryInclude.ascx" %>

Then, in the body of the theme, use the skin object to request the library:

<dnn:JavaScriptLibraryInclude runat="server" Name="jQuery" />

<dnn:JavaScriptLibraryInclude runat="server" Name="jQuery-UI" Version="1.10.3" />
<dnn:JavaScriptLibraryInclude runat="server" Name="jQuery-Migrate" Version="1.2.1" SpecificVersion="LatestMajor" />

HTML Themes

The skin object mentioned above can also be used from HTML themes. It would
look something like this:

<object codetype="dotnetnuke/server" codebase="JavaScriptLibraryInclude">

<param name="Name" value="jQuery" />
<param name="Version" value="1.9.1" />


There is also an API to request JavaScript Libraries from code. This is needed
in themes prior to DNN 7.3 and the introduction of the JavaScriptLibraryInclude
skin object, as well as from extension code (though extensions can also make use
of the skin object, if desired). The primary entry point for the API is the
RequestRegistration method of the JavaScript static class in the
DotNetNuke.Framework.JavaScriptLibraries namespace. There are three overloads
to RequestRegistration:

JavaScript.RequestRegistration(String libraryName)

JavaScript.RequestRegistration(String libraryName, Version version)
JavaScript.RequestRegistration(String libraryName, Version version, SpecificVersion specificity)

The overload which doesn't specify a version will request the latest version of
the library. In order to avoid your extensions breaking unexpectedly, it's
probably best to always specify a version number. The second overload, which
includes the version number will request that specific version of the library.
If that version isn't installed, it will instead display an error. The third
overload is probably the best to use for most scenarios. It allows you to pass
a value indicating how specific the version is, as a value of the
SpecificVersion enum. The possible values are Latest, LatestMajor,
LatestMinor, and Exact. Latest is the behavior of the overload with one
argument, Exact is the behavior of the overload with two arguments, while the
other two values allow you to get behavior that is in between strict and loose.

JavaScript Library Features

When requesting that a JavaScript Library is registered, DNN ensures that
both that library's JavaScript file and all of its dependencies' JavaScript
files, get included on the page. The JavaScript library itself will define the
properties that determine how the file is included on the page. Specifically,
the library will indicate its preferred location (from page head, body top, and
body bottom), and can provide a URL to the script on a
CDN (along with a JavaScript
expression to use to verify that the CDN loaded the script correctly, so that
DNN can fallback to the local version if the CDN is down). The host
administrator can configure whether to use the CDN or not (it is off by

The other main feature that JavaScript Libraries give you is de-duplication of
scripts. This means that if your module and your skin both request the
html5shiv library, it only gets
included on the page once (rather than both components including their own
version of the script). Likewise, if both components request different versions
of the script, just the higher version will be included.


The main benefits in using JavaScript Libraries are realized when they are used by many separate components within a DNN site (i.e. when there is one common set of libraries and separate, unrelated DNN themes and modules use those libraries instead of packaging scripts directly into the extension). The first place to look for common JavaScript Libraries for your extensions to rely upon is the DNN Forge. In addition, Engage Software maintains a repository of libraries along with a script to easily create new libraries from Bower. (This wiki page is largely based on the README from that repository)


There are some enhancements to DNN itself that would help this be
an even more useful tool. The main enhancement is to provide a similar mechanism
for shared CSS components. For example, many jQuery plugins are going to include
basic styles to make them work. It would be nice if there was a way to get CSS
that matched the requested JavaScript Library. Also, JavaScript libraries with
multiple JavaScript files could be handled together more cleanly, rather than as
a bunch of separate libraries. Finally, one of the big ways that would make
this more of a no-brainer is if the extension installation process automatically
found dependent packages on the DNN Forge
rather than asking clients to install the JavaScript Library package(s) before
installing your component.
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