Introduction to DotNetNuke
 
Published: 15 Aug 2007
Abstract
This article broadly speaks about DotNetNuke, one of the latest buzzwords in the web application technology world. The author provides a broad overview of this free, Open Source Framework that can be effectively used for creating Enterprise Web Applications.
by Rajdeep Mukherjee
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Overview

This article broadly speaks about "DotNetNuke," an open source content management solution that has become a buzzword in the web application development. It is compatible with Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 platform. The article provides a broad level overview of this free, Open Source Framework that can be effectively used for creating Enterprise Web Applications.

What is DotNetNuke?

The DotNetNuke technology has been developed with VB.NET for the ASP.NET framework and can be very easily implemented and hosted. DotNetNuke uses various database platforms for storage of contents viz, MS SQL Server, etc. The latest version of this technology framework is 4.5. The DotNetNuke community is currently supported by almost 125,000 registered users.

DotNetNuke is very flexible in easily creating new modules and linking to external resources. Although DotNetNuke is easy to work with and famed for its flexibility, many programmers are yet to adapt to it and still prefer earlier methods of programming. They cannot, however, deny the great content management part of this new web application framework.

Since its inception in 2002, DotNetNuke is a full-featured, open source web application framework that is applied for developing websites for corporate and commercial use, web based portals and intranet and extranet based applications. It is very effective as an open source content management system. In the very near past, a robust content-management system was a costly endeavor in the programming world. This was only affordable for large organizations and the usage had its limitations. DotNetNuke, being an open source application, changed all of this.

DotNetNuke does not have any licensing fees or per registered user fees associated with it. Anyone can download it and use it. Additionally, the application code is open and available to all. The user has full access to the source code to custom fit DotNetNuke to his needs. The DotNetNuke community is continually researching to develop new features and functionality as the software world adopts this system.

There are numerous content modules within DotNetNuke and these are growing every day. Typical examples are: Text, Images, Documents, Links, Events, News, Banner ads, Discussion forums, Email forms, Broadcast email, Site registration, RSS news feeds, etc. DotNetNuke can be downloaded from its official website.

The History of DotNetNuke

The DotNetNuke application was developed in December 2002 from another application called "IBuySpy Workshop" that was created by Shaun Walker (of Perpetual Motion Interactive Systems Inc) as an enhanced version of IBuySpy Portal (IBS) starter kit offered by Microsoft (January 2002) at that time. IBuySpy Portal from Microsoft was a sample application for the .NET Framework. The naming of this framework comes from the combination of two words: ".Net" (the .NET technology) and "Nuke" (derived from the then other popular frameworks like PHP-Nuke, PostNuke etc). The DotNetNuke Corporation of the US and Canada reserves the registered trademarks of "DotNetNuke" and "DNN." There were several releases since its inception and the current version is 4.5. As of today, DotNetNuke continues its stand as an open source project with a dedicated corporation patronizing its further research and enhancements. It has a global community with almost 450,000 registered users.

The DotNetNuke Principle

The DotNetNuke community works on the following principles:

·         DotNetNuke being promoted by its community as an open source application needs to see regular enhancements in terms of adding new features and also to debug the issues in the last released version, and this can be effectively done by active contributions from a team of developers working together towards the improvement of this application.    

·         Emphasis is on effective interaction with the end-users (customers) and drawing the right business logic and this should be followed with sketching the technical specifications.

·         There is immense potential for any software product to develop and get enhanced with periodic releases, but it should be well planned in terms of widely accepted new features and corresponding development.

Features and Benefits

·         Installation and hosting are simple in DotNetNuke. Most of the hosting providers provide automated installation of DotNetNuke directly from the hosting control panel.

·         DotNetNuke ensures hierarchical navigation and management.

·         DotNetNuke provides great extensibility and scalability (can be used for implementing smallest websites to large web applications).

·         Simple Licensing Policy- DotNetNuke can be adapted for personal or corporate use without any issues.

·         Multiple database support. DotNetNuke runs across various database platforms.

·         DotNetNuke uses a database to save its contents and hence, updating of website can be done at a very fast pace.

·         DotNetNuke is highly customizable in terms of modifying the basic style-sheet elements and at all levels. The content can be managed well even with the change of skin and module containers.

·         DotNetNuke enables developing web pages with search engine friendly URL's for any type of content based web site, using its built in modules.

·         DotNetNuke supports localization and allows users across the globe to use it effectively through its localization features. Almost 50 installable language packs are currently available.

·         The user interface in DotNetNuke is very simple and easy-to-use; it helps users to manage their projects with user-friendly icons, wizards, etc.

·         DotNetNuke has appropriate security in place in terms of encryption, defect tracking and validations, etc.

·         DotNetNuke applications provide built in logging and error reporting features that are very manageable and reliable.

·         DotNetNuke provides excellent file uploading feature to its administrators by virtue of which they can upload any file directly from their desktop to the site.

·         Administrative activities and management are segregated between host and individual portal levels in DotNetNuke.

·         DotNetNuke supports multiple portals from single installation. Managing several different sites from an administrative perspective is pretty easy with DotNetNuke via a single hosting account.

·         DNN site administrators can login to the site and can manage the settings (add, modify or delete) for their own portal. However, they will not have any access to login to other portals that belong to the same host.

·         DNN site host login allows users to administer settings of site hosting and e-commerce. The host can access all the hosted portals with all the individual information, and also can perform edit, modify and delete operations for any particular portal.

·         DotNetNuke administrators have the ability to grant special privileges to User Groups. They can define the rights and privileges of the users for the entire portal or for any particular page. Assigning groups to the users is also possible by the DNN administrator and a single user can also be a member of many user groups. Accordingly, access and editing rights can be granted to these users for accessing various secured locations in the site.  

·         DotNetNuke clearly segregates the graphics portion (skin) of any web page with the text part (content). This helps in modifying the graphics part of the web page without affecting the text and vice versa.

·         DotNetNuke uses “modules” to add any content to a website. There are many modules that come free with DotNetNuke. Modules are also available for purchase from the web.

·         When a module is inserted in a web page, specific graphics (containers) can be selected that should be displayed around the module. The skins normally come with a selection of containers which suit the design of the skin. This exhibits immense flexibility and allows the user to define the look of the content.

·         DotNetNuke modules can be written as web services and made exposed to the consumers on the web.

·         DotNetNuke is well supported by its core group of programmers, its users, its dedicated community and several organizations who are practicing this development, assuring readily available support to its followers.

Suggested Readings

Conclusion

DotNetNuke by now has recognized itself as being the choice of millions from the programming world. If you have missed out on this phenomenal portal framework, you have really missed out on a great product that is open-source, readily available, stable and facilitate you to start creating great web applications in minutes. We need to take a pause now until we explore this happening technology and its individual features in more detail in some of my forthcoming articles.



User Comments

Title: OLD   
Name: DNN USER
Date: 2007-08-16 1:32:16 PM
Comment:
Nothing is new in this article. Please stop wasting time on old softwares that most of us already know. Not sure why Rajna and Ravi are impressed with this article.
Title: Very Informative   
Name: Rajna P Doran
Date: 2007-08-16 6:14:42 AM
Comment:
The article is very informative, contains summarized information about DotNetnuke and can be a good treat for beginners to this new technology. This article should not be confused as a promotional article for Dotnetnuke as commented by some other readers, neither it is meant for
developers already knowing the basic concepts of this technology, and can only be treated as a bag of useful, introductory information on this new technology, ideal in providing an overview of its concepts and features. Looking forward to similar articles on latest technologies.
Title: Ravi   
Name: Ravi
Date: 2007-08-16 5:45:36 AM
Comment:
Excellent article, well organized. Keep it up!
Title: open source joke - links all go to pay for places   
Name: dnnster
Date: 2007-08-15 11:47:43 PM
Comment:
So much for open source - this information looks old and every link you have to pay for things. Some of these words look copied from sites. why is nothing sent to the free resources that are around to help promote dotnetnuke. this article looks like a 'pay for comment' article. thumbs down here
Title: Installation   
Name: TheDoctorGp
Date: 2007-08-14 8:02:11 AM
Comment:
All speake about but no one tell how install.

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