This sections contains a lot of information intended for developers using the Kartris software. While it is possible for users who are relatively tech savvy (familiar with HTML and CSS) to skin their own site, the majority of end users will benefit from hiring a web developer to do this for them.

A developer should not necessarily require either specialist Kartris or ASP.NET knowledge to develop a skin for Kartris, though use of, or access to a Windows computer with Kartris installed and running is essential in order to test the skin with Kartris.

Every site will want to customize the appearance to some degree, even if just to change default colours and add an appropriate logo. Kartris groups elements that control appearance across the site into 'skins', which can be found in the /Skins folder within Kartris.

Every Kartris must have at least two skins - one called 'Kartris' which is the default front end skin. And another called 'Admin' which is used by the back end admin area. You can also add new skins to change the appearance of the front end.

If you wish to support browsers below IE8, and have a modern responsive skin on your site, you can also add a non-responsive skin for older browsers. Please see 15.3.3. Old IE support.

To choose a skin for your site, go to 'Regional Setup > Lang & Email Setup' and choose which language you want to set the skin for. In the form that opens, you can the skin from the 'theme' menu. If there are multiple masterpages in the skin, you can choose one of those too.

theme and template selection

If you leave either selection blank, Kartris will use the defaults (which are the skin 'Kartris' and the 'Template.master' template file).

This menu automatically picks up any new folders added to the /Skins folder within a Kartris site. So all you have to do to import or create a new skin is to place the new folder there and then select it from this menu.

A typical skin folder will contain a selection of files and folders. The exact number of files and folders can vary, but the default skin in Kartris will look something like this:

skin contents

The Template.master is the key template file; this contains the HTML structure of the site layout, and contains links to the various stylesheet and image files. Every skin must have a Template.master page.

HomePage.master is an optional file. If present in a skin, the home page of the site (Default.aspx) will use this template instead of the main Template.master file. It is quite common for sites to have a different layout on the home page to that used throughout the rest of the site, hence this feature. It is however possible to use different templates for various other parts of the site too. More details later in this section.

The .css files are cascading-stylesheet files. These control the styling of the various page elements that make up a Kartris page, such as fonts, colours, the position of the various layout columns, the width of the page and so on. CSS is a web standard way of formatting web pages, it isn't proprietary to Kartris. There is a vast amount of information on the web about using CSS. In our skins, we tend to divide the CSS up into several files:

  •  template.css - controls the position of various page elements within the Template.master page

  • general.css - sets the appearance of fonts, form controls and various other elements used throughout Kartris

  • sections.css - controls the appearance and layout of various elements used in particular parts of Kartris, such as the layout of products and the checkout

  • menus.css - controls the appearance of menu systems such as the dropdown navigation menu and the categories menu.

The Images folder holds images used within the CSS (background images) as well as the site logo and any other images embedded within your .master templates.

Some payment systems allow you to serve back HTML in response to a callback. For some, the HTML served back should be nothing more than a simple message, which they will insert into the confirmation page they show to users. For others, the callback page should serve back the full HTML of a page that they will relay to customers.

In order to handle this, HTML templates can be added here. Kartris will look for these automatically in the live skin, based on the following naming criteria:


Where [name] is the name of the payment system's folder in the /Plugins folder of Kartris. Not all payment systems can return HTML from the callback to the customer, so this feature only works where the payment system supports it.

A simple callback template will look as follows:

	<title>Order Confirmation</title>

The [orderdetails] tag is where the text summary of the order contents will appear. If no template is present in the skin, the order details will appear on their own, without any skinning.

For certain web sites, you may want particular categories or products to use a different skin to that of the main site. This allows you to create a completely separate look and feel for a part of your site selling a particular brand, for example. Or you may want to brand the site for a particular customer, so major customers have their own customized version of the site.

This can be done through a Skins.config file added into the /Skins folder. It looks something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
		<Customer ID="123" SkinName="DifferentSkin"/>
		<CustomerGroup ID="456" SkinName="AnotherSkin"/>
		<Product ID="789" SkinName="SkinNumber3"/>
		<Category ID="100" SkinName="BlackAndOrange"/>
		<Script Name="Basket.aspx" SkinName="BasketSkin"/>

You can add multiple tags into each section.

Note: The tags in the Skins.config are case sensitive. If settings are not working as expected, check the case of tags carefully to ensure tag names and values match those above.

Pages within Kartris have a default masterpage set in the block right at the top, for example the Product.aspx page which displays a product has this at the top:

<%@ Page Language="VB" AutoEventWireup="true" MasterPageFile="~/Skins/Kartris/Template.master"
    CodeFile="Product.aspx.vb" Inherits="Product" %>

If this is unchanged, then Kartris will enforce the various skin rules to determine which skin to use. This means looking at the Skin.config file (if present) and the choice of skin set in the Kartris back end. However, if this code is changed to point to another .master file, Kartris will use that instead and not run the various rules. So if you want to set all products to use a different .master page, you can edit this code at the top of Product.aspx to achieve this.

There are three different types of product category menus that Kartris comes as standard with. The most commonly used is the default CSS fold out type that our demo uses. It is also possible to use an accordion type menu, or a select/dropdown menu. Our demo zip includes a skin which uses an accordion control. It is possible to change the control reference within this skin's .master file to use the select/dropdown menu too. The following shows the different code for each:

<user:CategoryMenu ID="UC_CategoryMenuCSSFoldout"
  runat="server" EnableViewState="False"
  Visible="True" />
<user:CategoryMenuAccordion ID="UC_CategoryMenuAccordion"
  runat="server" EnableViewState="False"
  Visible="True" />
<user:CategoryMenuDropDownSelect ID="UC_CategoryMenuDropDownSelect"
  runat="server" EnableViewState="False"
  Visible="True" />

At default, the category menu will build up from the root of your category structure, including all categories. In some cases, you may want to have two or more category menus on your page, with each using a specific category as a root. For example, if you have two top level categories 'Shop by Brand' and 'Shop by Type', you may prefer to have these as two distinct menus in different locations on the page. To achieve this, you can set the root category for a category control, like this:

<user:CategoryMenu ID="UC_CategoryMenuCSSFoldout"
  runat="server" EnableViewState="False"
  RootCategoryID="1" Visible="True" />
<user:CategoryMenu ID="UC_CategoryMenuCSSFoldout2"
  runat="server" EnableViewState="False"
  RootCategoryID="2" Visible="True" />

The RootCategoryID is set to either 1 or 2 (in order to use the Categories with IDs 1 and 2 as the base for each menu. Also note that both controls have different IDs; these are largely arbitrary, but must be different. You will generate an error if you try to have two controls with the same ID on a page.

For controlling the content of the general navigation menu, please see 8.4. Site menus.

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