I blogged earlier today on a new piece of software that I ran across on the DotNetNuke® DNN web site. It is called the "Basic Skin Creator", and its intent is to make the job of creating skins easier.
Well, all I can say is that the fact that this is a first generation product probably sums it all up... I really shouldn't sugar coat it. Although I absolutely praise the idea and the purpose that this piece of software is suppose to facilitate, this first version absolutely sucks. Sorry...
My perception of this is that the whole idea of creating a product like this is to aid those who don't know how to create skins for DotNetNuke. When i began using it, I was turned off from the experience nearly immediately.
The interface would not at all be intuitive for a novice skin designer, and forget about showing this to someone who hasn't created a skin before. A typical designer is used to using a tool like Dreamweaver, or Page Maker. Those interfaces are very intuitive to the process and work flow that they are intended for.
Right now, the multitude of skin designers out there are already using tools like the ones I have already mentioned. They are not the audience that this product appears to be focused on, given its limitations. I should mention that as a skin designer, and having trained quite a few individuals and organizations on how to create skins, the source found in the tabs was confusing and appeared out of place.
Had this product include all of the typical WYSIWYG goodies that tools like Dreamweaver offer, my review would likely be drastically different. However, it seems that the only thing that this product offers that sets it apart (not mention its only apparent feature), is organization of the skin package components.
Should this product concentrate its efforts on making the skinning process intuitive and effortless to the beginning skin designer, this product would certainly hit its mark and capture the audience that desperately needs it.
I can't wait to see how this project progresses!