DotNetNuke, ASP.NET, Web Development Blog

Website Audio Options with MP3 files

This page will describe options for playing and/or allowing downloading of audio from a website. Ultimately, I think the best answer is a specific combination of the options below: -use flash for streaming, provide a link for downloading, if a feed, provide a link to the rss feed (aka Podcast).


Custom Toolbars in the FCKEditor Provider for DNN

When it comes to the toolbars for Rich Text Editors for clients to use to update there own sites, it is my firm belief that less is more. By default, the toolbars seem to be cluttered with endless options that rarely get used and in the end just make it harder to find the options users do need.

The FCKEditor Provider for DotNetNuke is great overall and exposes almost everything you need to set it up just they way you want it, including setting up different custom toolbars for different types of users (determined by role). But I haven't found much clear and concise documentation for adding your own custom toolbars. Here is how I do it...


Video Streaming

Check out my new page on adding video streaming in DotNetNuke... or any page where you can use add HTML.


DotNetNuke: Getting User Profile Data through SQL

*** Updated: Added method for DNN versions 3.3 and 4.3 and greater ***
DNN 3.0 - 3.2
In DNN 3.0-3.2 and 4.0-4.1, the membership / profile stuff made heavy use of Microsoft's Membership provider module which stores most of the information in a hash table. While this is fine for getting a single user, it's a complete nightmare if you want to show a grid or list of many users or to do something with the data in SQL.

There's a good write up on how to get at this info through SQL at DNN Stuff.

DNN 3.3+ and 4.3+
The core team did a complete and much needed overhaul of the User Profile system for DNN 3.3 and 4.3. The grid on the User Accounts page is now a lot more flexible but it still won't help you if you want non-admin users to view user data or if you want to utilize profile data in SQL... Click on the Read More link to learn how to get at DNN 3.3+ profile data in SQL. This data could then be displayed using the Advanced Data Grid


Image paths and skins

Something I've learned several times and have subsequently forgotten several times is that skinpath only works when your image does not specify runat="server".

When creating a skin, you often want to include images. This can be a bit tricky as DNN's friendly URLs makes it so that your path may be very different for the same page, i.e. is the same as This means that most relative paths just won't work, i.e. /images/spacer.gif, image/spacer.gif, ... You can use more hard coded paths such as ~/Portals/0/_default/efficion/images/spacer.gif but that really limits flexibility as if you want to install the same skin as a site specific skin on a different DNN instance.

SkinPath is a great new feature where DNN will figure it out for you. Though I don't know why it won't work when runat="server is used"... Scott Wilhite has a nice write-up on this in this post.

The Trouble with Transparent GIFs

For one of my clients, I needed to take their logo, shrink it down and place it against a dark brown background... easy enough it seemed. Since their main logo was dark in color, I had them send me a light colored version. It was an Adobo Illustrator file with a transparent background and I thought, "great, I'll just shrink it down as a gif with a transparent background and voila!".

But it was not to be... no matter what I did, the logo came out jagged and the text was unreadable... I talk to a Graphic Designer friend and he mentions anti-aliasing so I do my research and all becomes clear...

In order for an image to be anti-aliased, it needs to have a background color in order to blend it together with the other colors for the smoothing effect. With transparent GIFs, that can't happen as the software doesn't have a background color to blend.

And that's why most designers don't use transparent gifs much, they just don't look as good as a properly anti-aliased image... if you know the background color for the image, it's best to set that as the background in your image editing program and resize the image with that background.

Seems like opacity should be able to help out here... still more to learn...
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