We have started preparing for the First Release. In the installation packed, we needed a Default Skin, a skin which will be used to build the pages in the default installation. We have abandoned the idea of using a Beer manufacturing company for the demo portal, as we respect cultures where alcohol is not welcome. so we decided to use the design of our own intranet, which is totally politically correct. This is the screenshot of our current intranet, similar to our website.
The HTML used to build the site is Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict. There is a slight difference in the HTML of our site and the HTML produced by the Sense/Net Portal Engine TNG portlets, because we wanted to give designers greater flexibility in changing the design with CSS only. If we use a very simple HTML, some designs can only be implemeted, if the designers make changes to the HTML itself. If we create a slightly more detailed HTML, adding some extra DIV-s, designers will be able to implement portlas without the need to change the HTML.
In the previous version of Sense/Net Portal Engine, HTML had to be produced by an XSLT stylesheet, which was cumbersome and sometimes ugly to work with. In TNG, we produce HTML which is built in such a way, that it covers almost all design scenarios, except for the most complicated. This way, about 90% of portals will not need to change the HTML, so 90% of designers will not have to use XSLT, which is good news, you know, time is money. And who wants to author XSLT-s anyway.
To implemet your own design, you take the Default Skin's CSS, and make changes to it. The HTML is so nice, it works pretty well in WYSIWYG HTML editors, such as seen on the screenshot below. You can also get a sneek preview of the source here.
Note, that the font in the blue caption of the portlet is not the same as in our website. This is because in the website, we use a technique called sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement) to change the text into a little piece of flash, which displays the same text, but withour brand font, Frutiger.