Review: DotNetNuke for Dummies
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Published: 16 Aug 2007
DotNetNuke is an open source application for web development. Is it easy to learn it with the latest book from Wiley. Click and find it out?
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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ASP.NET 2.0 has automated and revolutionized the tasks associated with web development, particularly content creation. Microsoft has developed starter kits such as the Beer House Starter Kit and Community Starter Kit to assist developers. These kits provide a basic layout to achieve various tasks. Many third party vendors have also developed powerful Content Management Systems with a wide range of features. DotNetNuke is one such software system which enables a user to quickly create high quality websites by using various functionalities. Even though it is not difficult to learn its usage, users, especially beginners to .NET, should understand the purpose of various concepts such as Modules and Skins with the help of a learning material such as books. DotNetNuke for Dummies is one such book which explores the different functionalities of the application in a step-by-step manner.

The book is divided into five parts. Part 1 provides a basic introduction to DNN installation procedures and a brief overview of various settings with special reference about some of the common errors which occurs during the installation of the product. Part 2 examines the creation and management of users, pages, content, files, and skins. Chapter 5 helps you to administer some of the modules such as HTML, FAQ, Links, and Announcements. The last chapter of the part examines the management of advanced modules such as Surveys, Banner Management, and Users Online.

The chapters in part 3 completely provide a comprehensive coverage of various advanced modules such as Feedback, Blogs, Forums, Repository, Cart, and Wiki. Although you will not use these modules initially, it will be of great use at a later stage when you get used to the application. The authors have done a great job in presenting the content in a lucid language with a user friendly touch.  Each section has been covered with the help of screenshots, numerous tips, and warnings at relevant places. I hope it will help a reader to understand the procedures involved more effectively.

Part 4 covers advanced aspects such as customization and some of the modules such as Account Login and Email notifications. It also contains a detailed overview of various log reports and scheduled tasks. The last chapter of the part examines HttpModules, replacement of text editors, enabling of Friendly URLs, and much more. The final part is more or less like an appendix as it provides a list of ten commercial and freely available modules including ten useful tips to enhance the productivity of DotNetNuke.

I would suggest that the publisher separate screen-texts and content as it will be easy for users to understand the matter described. It would be great if the publisher had provided a CD with some of the modules and cool skins. The book doesn't teach you the creation of custom modules and skins. If you are already well versed with DotNetNuke then this book is not for you as it doesn’t contain any new information. You can download excerpts of some of the chapters at the publisher's website and also view complete table of contents. The book will surely help beginners and those who wish to get started with one of the most powerful .NET based open source Content Management System.

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