Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Skinning Tip: Parsing the Skin Package

DotNetNuke┬« skinning can easily become a time-consuming task.  During the final moments of skin development, you'll find yourself constantly testing changes on a staging DNN instance.  Oftentimes, you'll find yourself also having to make minor edits to an existing live skin, but may not want to reinstall the entire skin package.  Here is a tip that may make those two scenarios move more quickly for you.

If you are developing using ASCX skins, then this tip doesn't directly apply.

Parse the Skin Package

In either of the previous scenarios, you already have a custom skin package installed on DNN.  Just making a change to the HTML skin file (e.g., portal.htm) obviously will have no effect on the website.  For our example, we may need to just add a pane to an existing skin.  In most cases, this is as easy as adding another table cell or div element to the HTML markup, along with some edits to the CSS.

In order to test this tip, make your edits to the HTML skin file.  Then, FTP or copy the file to the existing website skin directory.  Overwrite the original HTML skin file.  The trick here is actually quite simple.

Log in to your website using the admin or host account (depending on permissions and DNN version).  Then, go into the respective Skins page where the skin was originally installed.

Skin Menu Items (Admin, Host)

Next, choose your skin in the drop down list, and wait for the page to reload.  In most cases, the reload is instantaneous. 

Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for the "Parse Skin" link.  Click it, and then scroll down to make sure that there are no errors in the resulting skin package parsing (just like during installs).

Parse Skin link

When you clicked the "Parse Skin" link, the DNN skinning engine parsed all of the skin files just as if an installation occured.  In turn, your HTML skin file was also reparsed, and the resulting ASCX file should now reflect your changes.

Refresh the affected pages to see your change.  In some cases, you may need to clear your client and server cache to see your change take effect.

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