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Themes and skins

A theme is a collection of property settings that allow you to define the look of pages and controls, and then apply the look consistently across pages in a Web application, across an entire Web application, or across all Web applications on a server. Themes are made up of a set of elements: skins, cascading style sheets (CSS), images, and other resources. A skin file has the file name extension .skin and contains property settings for individual controls such as Button, Label, TextBox, or Calendar controls. Control skin settings are like the control markup itself, but contain only the properties you want to set as part of the theme.
Several global themes are available to developers for use within the Web application. One theme from this library will be added to the application via the page element in the Web.config. The theme contains skins and style sheets that will be used to control the appearance of ASP.NET controls, text, layout, and standard HTML tags. The theme will not affect the overall design of the page: that is the job of the master page. The following guidelines will determine which theme should be used.
  • Theme: UCS
    • Web applications that do not fall into the overall design of the department requesting the project.
    • Used in conjunction with the Standard, FixedWidth, Benny, and Dash master pages.
  • Theme: BSU
    • Web applications that fall under the design of the department requesting the project.
    • Used in conjunction with the CMS master page.
For information on how to add the page element to the Web.config, visit the Application Configuration section of this site.
For viewing pages on your local web server, you need to download and add the global themes to your development environment:
  1. Right click on Themes folder (compressed zipped folder) and choose Save Target As...
  2. Save to your Desktop
  3. Open My Computer and navigate to the Desktop
  4. Right click on the Themes folder and choose Extract All...
  5. The Extraction Wizard will start
  6. Click Next >
  7. On the Select Destination step, click the Browse... button
  8. Navigate to My Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Inetpub > wwwroot > aspnet_client > system_web > 2_0_50727
    If the 2_0_50727 directory does not exist, click on Make New Folder and create it
  9. Select OK
  10. Click Next >
  11. The files will extract to the Themes folder
  12. Click Finish
For viewing pages when you click the Play button within Visual Studio 2005, you need to download and add the global themes to a secondary location on your computer:
  1. Open My Computer and navigate to the Desktop
  2. Right click on the Themes folder and choose Extract All...
  3. The Extraction Wizard will start
  4. Click Next >
  5. On the Select Destination step, click the Browse... button
  6. Navigate to My Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Windows > Microsoft.NET > Framework > v2.0.50727 > ASP.NETClientFiles
    If the ASP.NETClientFiles directory does not exist, click on Make New Folder and create it
  7. Select OK
  8. Click Next >
  9. The files will extract to the Themes folder
  10. Click Finish
The following example illustrates what should appear in the Web.config for the UCS global theme:
<!-- Include the global UCS or BSU (more to be available at a later time) theme -->
<pages theme="UCS"></pages>
Additional information can be found in the Web.config section of the Application Configuration.
All skin files will be part of the themes mentioned above. Due to the "one theme per application" limitation, no skin files will exist within the scope of your application. Instead, when a skin is needed, it will be added to the global themes and a SkinId will be provided that will differentiate it from other controls.
In addition, the App_Themes folder will be ignored when a global theme is used in an application. If your Web application will utilize additional design elements such as images, style sheets, or master pages, use the following folder naming conventions in the root of the application:
  • Images
  • Styles
  • MasterPages
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