EPiServer CMS – Intergen Style

December 14, 2007

Played around some with a theme for the EPiServer Edit UI. Unfortunately it’s not really as themable as you would like it to be. A lot of stuff would have to be done differently in the UI to enable easy theming. More skinned controls, no inline styles to start with. A good approach when trying to create an easily themable interface is to have two themes running in parallell from the start even if you just intend to use one of them. But then you can at least make sure that you got easy access to most of the stuff.
But I guess EPiServer had their priorities elsewhere when working to release CMS 5 (with good reason!).

In the end I just ended up changing some CSS, and adding a couple of images.

EPiServer CMS - Intergen Style

Also had some more changes going. Especially one that I really liked that slimmed down the top header to half the size. The top header is really just taking up screen real estate!! But you can’t (?) do that without a small change to their Edit.Master and I really wanted to keep everything in the theme.

The other sad part is that you cannot, ASFAIK, inherit other themes in ASP.NET, so you pretty much need to copy the original one and do changes to that, so it’s going to a little bit mean when doing upgrades. When using a different themes you often end up using a lot of common resources and a simple fallback (read: cascade) structure would solve this! sometimes wonder why MS didn’t look more of how CSS works. Because a lot of the concepts there is created from the demands that designers have.

2 Responses to “EPiServer CMS – Intergen Style”

  1. Hi!

    As you might have guessed we originally planned to have two skins that shipped with the R1 release of EPiServer CMS 5. Although we started to work on two skins we had to drop this due to the fact that the release was already after schedule which is of course sad as we didn’t pinpoint the main difficulties with creating additional skins.

    We have also come to the conslusion that the theme functionality in asp.NET 2.0 does not have quite enough features to be able to create a more complex theming scenario with, for instance theme inheritance. Other things that we miss is the ability to have translation support for our skinned controls which would reduce the amount of duplicated code in the aspx/ascx files.

    As you have mentioned, we still have a bit to go with the EPiServer UI before everything is themable in practice, both with inline styles and with theming inheritance. I hope that we can spend some time in investigating what we can do to make it possible for the developers and designers to implement custom themes with a reasonable effort.

    Linus Ekström
    Team Leader
    EPiServer Frontend Team

  2. hn Says:

    It’s great to hear that you thought about it, but dropped it. The theme feature of asp.net isn’t as good as you would want it, and I really think that you did the right thing and put your time where it was needed more, i.e. not in getting the theming perfect… :)

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