Jul 4 2007
Setting up a new theme in Adenium Systems DFS can be quite a chore. It involves creating a new virtual folder in IIS, copying an existing theme to this folder for editing, and running a SQL script to add the theme to the appropriate tables in the SQL Server database. Before you do this, you’ll need to edit the script for your new theme.
Why would you want to create a new theme? The default theme that is available in DFS lacks the eye candy which many web users demand these days. This theme only allows you to change the portal header image and colour layout. The problem here is with the portal header. You can create a stunning 24-bit colour image in Photoshop and it will get downsampled to 8-bit colour when imported into DFS. This is an issue with the graphics library that Adenium is using and will hopefully be fixed in the near future. Your also limited to the portal header being 954 x 68 pixels in size which doesn’t give you much room to work with.
A custom theme will allow you to place anything you want on the page. The header can be any size and also a 24-bit colour image. The colours, typeface, and layout of the page can be controlled with your own CSS files. You can also include menus and any other custom feature you think of.
If you create plug-ins for DFS, its better to use them in a custom theme in case something goes wrong with it. You wouldn’t want a bad plug-in affecting all of the planrooms on your server.
To automate the process of theme creation, Alex Bevilacqua of Astley-Gilbert wrote DFS Theme Manager. This application will allow you to create and delete DFS themes. You’ll still have to manually create the virtual folders in IIS and copy an existing theme to these folders as a base for creating the new theme. One feature which would be valuable in future versions would be the ability to edit an existing theme.
DFS Theme Manager succeeds in saving time in the theme creation process. It eliminates the need for running SQL scripts in SQL Server which could be a hazardous thing to do for novice users.
The program is freely available by request from Alex through firstname.lastname@example.org.