Another name for skinning is theming. This is a terminology used to define customizations that doesn’t affect how an application works but changes the look and feel of a website. Skinning gives one the opportunity to maintain all the benefits of an application but changes the look and feel of a website to the one you desire. Skinning is a revolutionary concept in content management systems including DotNetNuke. Companies that make content management systems create an environment where their clients have the ability to manage their websites and also change the look and feel of it using a handful of tools provided. Some content management systems often provide few choices and rigid limitations when it comes to skinning, whereby you end up with much cloned types of sites that if you saw three of such sites together, it wouldn’t be hard to identify them. 

DotNetNuke software provides the art of separating the development environment from the creative environment of a site. This concept has been in existence in this development framework since April 2004. DNN is a popular choice for many developers, businesses and communities because of the rich resources it offers for skinning. The software handles the look and feel of website superbly well. 

DotNetNuke skinning engine

DNN skinning engine was first created in the year 2003. Its original goal was to make skinning accessible to both developers and designers. This brought about many changes in DNN skinning and continues to shape its future. The idea behind DNN skinning engine is that it was important that skin developers be able to use whatever tool they were comfortable with in disregard to knowledge in programming so as to create cutting edge designs. Makers of the engine also thought it was important they put as few restrictions as possible into the skinning engine to provide skinners with complete freedom in the way they make their designs.

The skinning engine supports two different kinds of skins namely HTML Skins and ASCX Skins. HTML Skins are the most basic and they allow designers to use any HTML editor they want. When installing HTML skins in DNN, they are automatically converted to ASCX skins in the background. The innerHTML of the body tag is the only part of HTML skin that is retained during conversion. All other things in the HTML header are discarded. The engine recognizes skin as having two separate entities namely skins and containers. These elements are packaged and installed as a single package or as two separate packages.

A skin is made up of one or more templates. A skin can also have a master CSS style sheet. If the style sheet is present, it is automatically added by the DotNetNuke skinning engine to a page whenever the associated skin template is assigned. For example, if you have index.html (skin template), skin.css (CSS style sheet), and index.css (template style sheet), then whenever you assign index.html to a web page, the engine automatically includes the skin.css and index.css style sheets on the page as well.