Posts in Category: News

The IBuySpy Skin

Well the site skinning is essentially complete. From the Admin page you can select from available skins. This is the IBuySpy skin. I plan to make some new skins soon but it tickles me that I was able to make all the changes I made without losing the original look. I really can't think of any limits on the design possibilities with the new skinning. The skmMenu fits right in nicely and has its own skinning that integrates easily. I also created a MetaContent control and setup the abilility to specify default meta content at the site level and over-ride it at the page level if desired. Now its easy to move the menu around and change it from horizontal to vertical within the skin template. I still need to implement the page hierarchy for sub menu items. I also got about 80% of the culture localization support completed. The goal is for no hard coded labels in the site. All labels get their content from a Culture.config file. I'm providing a CultureUSA.config file and hoping that as others convert to their own cultures they will contribute additional Culture.config files that I can provide with the downloads.

Progress on Skinning

After several hours of tedious find and replace chores to rename some entities in the project I decided to work on the skinning features. In my thinking it breaks down into selectable layout templates, selectable style sheets, and selectable image sets. I think you also have to make the site header control skinnable under its own settings and make it configurable so that you can turn off the top menu if you plan to use a vertical menu on the left side.
So far today I have the page layouts on some of the pages including this one implemented using Paul Wilson's MasterPages. Now that I've figured out how to integrate it, its just mechanical work to do the other pages. The template is not selectable yet but I plan to implement that soon. Amazing how much work I did this weekend and the site doesn't look any different!

Exciting New Era

As I recall, the IBuySpy Portal reference architecture was released while Visual Studio.NET was in beta and was the first good sample code to help Classic ASP developers make the leap to this new .NET thing. It was later updated for the release and has been used as a starting point in countless private projects and at least 2 notable open source projects, RainbowPortal and DotNetNuke

A lot has happened since then. The .NET Community has blossomed into a wealth of sites with articles, code samples, forums, blogs, and open source projects. Now we have the approaching release of ASP.NET 2.0 and the first release of The Mono Project, a port of the .NET framework that runs on Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X. These are exciting times! The vision of cross platform applications is within reach!

But its not a slam dunk. Chances are the ASP.NET code you've already written will need some massaging to make it work in the case sensitive file and url world of GNU/Linux/Apache. You will also have to add some new skills to your repetoire to learn web server administration in the apache world. My plan with this project is to use what I've learned over the past several years of ASP.NET development and create an improved reference architecture that teaches Object Oriented implementation by example while at the same time fleshing out a truly cross platform, feature rich web site framework that can be used by others as a starting point for their projects as well as my own. When I complete my vision, there won't be much resemblence to the original IBuySpy architecture, but even today it makes a good starting point in terms of functionality.