This past weekend I discovered just such a product. At first, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, I normally pay $50.00 or so per theme when I put up a DotNetNuke site and here is a product that will let me create very nice themes that I can use in BOTH my ASP.NET based sites AND my WordPress based sites for just over 3 times that price.
Why you might not even know about it
I think I’ve mentioned before that I am not a .NET-only programmer. I use what works. But if you’ve been stuck in the .NET world only, you may have never come across this piece of software because they market it to the PHP world primarily. That is, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
However, the product clearly states that it ALSO works for ASP.NET applications if you purchase the standard edition.
From their web site:
Home & Academic Edition
|Free upgrades for 1 year|
|Export as XHTML+CSS|
|Export as WordPress Theme|
|Export as Joomla 1.5 Template|
|Export as Drupal 5/6 Theme|
|Export as ASP.NET Application|
|Export to CodeCharge Studio|
|Custom Value Dialogs (screenshot)|
|Library of Textures, Glares and Gradients||partial (75%)|
|Number of Color and Font Schemes||50+||70+|
|Number of Photo Objects||200+||300+|
As soon as I saw this I thought, “if it even works a little bit, I’ve got to have it!”
So? Is it any good?
All I can say is, “WOW!”
This is as close as it gets to WYSIWYG theme creation.
I was a little concerned with just how this tool would export to ASP.NET since they are obviously PHP programmers and probably aren’t familiar with ASP.NET’s preferred way of doing things. But I was happily surprised when I discovered that what they do output can easily be adjusted.
Here’s what you can expect
Once you have your theme created you will export it as an ASP.NET application into a directory. What they will export is an ASP.NET 2.0 application. However the files can be used in ASP.NET 3.5 without any issues.
All of the files will be placed in the application root directory. The CSS files, the image directory, and a couple user controls. There is a master page in the “design” folder where the CSS link elements are included.
The other thing you’ll notice is that the menus are hard coded. If you want to use the menu control, you’ll probably want to do a little tweaking of the code.
The final bit of quirkiness you’ll need to deal with is that they create a separate stylesheet for IE6 and IE7. There are several ways you might deal with this issue. The easiest is to write code that detects the browser and removes one or both of them depending on the browser that was found. Since this is a product review, I’ll leave exactly how to do that for a future post.
So, what’s the product name?
Artisteer. Click the banner below to go to their site.
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