Southern Fried DNN Blog

Southern Fried DNN User Group (Formerly Queen City DotNetNuke User Group QCDUG) blog covers DNN topics addressed by the usergroup at meetings, conventions and for the DNN community for North Carolina, South Carolina and the DNN community at large!

Creating a Powerful Custom Hotcakes Commerce Skin/Theme Object Using the Server-Side API


Please raise your hand if you've ever wanted to display some dynamic Hotcakes Commerce data in a specific spot and in a specific way within your overall website design layout? And besides that, you really didn’t want to give administrators the option of changing its placement within site?

Creating a custom module can be a daunting task for first-timers and you are still left with the fact that a custom module has to be placed within a content pane within your overall theme design.  The very nature of this type of extension allows administrators the ability to move it around on the page(s) at will.
Creating a custom viewset is a much more familiar proposition for those familiar with the Hotcakes Commerce extension points, but the fact still remains that custom views are rendered within the context of a Hotcakes Commerce module, which in turn brings you right back to the scenario above – allowing administrators the ability to move it around on the page(s) at will.
Well, there's good news:  Creating a powerful, custom Hotcakes Commerce theme object doesn't have to be that daunting. With the right starter project and understanding at your disposal, you could easily display the desired dynamic Hotcakes Commerce data within your site pages -- all without a huge budget or time investment.

Download the free theme object extension install package on GitHub, and we’ll walk through exactly how to use it in this Part 1 of the blog series.  In Part 2, we’ll go even deeper and show you how to utilize the starter Visual Studio project from GitHub or Codeplex. The project is also listed on DNN Forge.  When we're done you'll know exactly how to create a powerful custom Hotcakes Commerce theme object that leverages the server-side API to get the exact dynamic data and display it as you wish. Ready? Let's dive in. 


9 Easy Steps to Installing this Powerful Custom Hotcakes Commerce Theme Object

Before we look into the steps, please note this theme object requires DNN 7.4.1 or higher and Hotcakes Commerce 1.8.7 or higher.

Step 1

Download the theme object installation package from GitHub to a local directory of your choice.  You’ll want to download the file named “”.


Step 2

Login to your CMS instance as a SuperUser (host) and visit Host > Extensions.


Step 3

Click on “Install Extension Wizard”.


Step 4

In the popup, click “Choose File” and select the installation package downloaded in Step 1.


Step 5

Click “Next”.


Step 6

Click “Next” on the Package Information screen.


Step 7

Click “Next” on the Release Notes screen.


Step 8

Accept License and click “Next”.


Step 9

Upon installation success, click “Return”.  If you have issues with the installation, please feel free to Create an Issue on GitHub.


2 Easy Steps to Integrate this Powerful Custom Hotcakes Commerce Theme Object With Your Theme

Step 1

Within your theme file (ASCX) file, register the theme object by inserting the following code at the top of your file.  There may be other theme objects already registered.  That’s okay, just add this one to any line within the other registrations.


Step 2

Place the following code at any desired location within the same theme file.

See, nothing fancy going on here. As long as you are comfortable editing your theme files, it is all quite simple! 


In Part 2, we'll dig deeper into the code so that you'll be able to utilize these concepts to create your own powerful custom Hotcakes Commerce theme object using the server-side API.  



David Poindexter
David Poindexter

David Poindexter, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He also has a Masters Certification in Project Management from George Washington University.  For his first nine years in the corporate sector, David's eclectic career included telecommunications, project/proposal management, business analysis and software development/architecture.  Since 2007, David's primary focus has been pursuing his entrepreneurial aspirations in his role as President & CEO of nvisionative, Incnvisionative is a Creative Marketing and Web Development agency located in Mooresville, North Carolina. 


David has been an active member of the DNN community since its inception.  His early development of popular iBuySpy modules made a perfect segue into the iBuySpy Workshop and subsequent DotNetNuke world.  David's most recent efforts are focused on his commercial LMS module, DNN + Hotcakes Commerce development, serving a leading role in the Queen City DNN Users Group (QCDUG) and the DNN Training Working Group.


David is proud father of his one daughter.  And to many people’s surprise in the DNN community, he is an avid and accomplished musician, singer, songwriter and producer.  So don't hesitate to engage in a music related conversation.  Music is his true passion!

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