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What is the DNN Platform (DotNetNuke)?

DNN Platform, formerly called DotNetNuke Community Edition, is a free, open source content management system.

The DNN Platform is built on the .NET framework; it is designed to be easy to use, without a need of extensive programming knowledge. Features of the DNN Platform include design skins that allow the appearance of a website to be changed easily and the ability to incorporate third-party modules to add additional functionalities. Because the CMS supports Multi-tenancy, multiple sites can be built on the same architecture.

 

Using DotNetNuke CMS For Your Needs

If you are a web developer, or a company looking for a way to streamline your web presence while giving your UX, UI and marketing efforts a nuclear injection, DotNetNuke (also known as Evoq DNN or just DNN) might just be the answer. It’s even suggested that using DNN as your CMS will support whether you are building websites for others or maintaining one for yourself. Developers, clients, users and customers tend to love this platform compared to other platforms, in terms of its flexibility and potential.

 

DotNetNuke is More Powerful than WordPress

While it was generally thought that WordPress is easier to install, that sentiment flew out the window when DNN introduced the Evoq Cloud Edition. While there are some advantages to using WP for companies who, for example, like to switch up their themes on a regular basis and install plugins, WP is still basically a blogging platform with some web extensions added. Even though there are thousands of plugins available for both platforms, DNN is easier to customise with a wide range of integrations. Another huge difference is that navigating in WP still requires a back-and-forth from the dashboard, whereas with DNN, you are making changes directly onto the page: its toolbar is integrated into the browser, so you don’t have to leave the actual page to make changes.

 

Why Choose DotNetNuke as your CMS?

While there are enough choices of decent Content Management Systems out there, DNN has some clear advantages for developers on the Microsoft ASP.NET framework. You will probably want to use DNN for:

 
1. Simple content editing and creation

First thing’s first. A great CMS needs to make content management easy, and DotNetNuke does just that. Whether your a team of one or a team of managers, editors, and writers, DNN gives its users a robust rich text editor and many options to create great content. For larger teams, content workflows can be put into place for permission setting and approval management.

 
2. Advanced features

The features of DotNetNuke, whether out of the box or with third party modules, can be extremely powerful for businesses of all sizes. User management, advertisement management, email marketing, document management, multilingual ability, blog management, and more are included to help marketing and IT teams manage their website.

 
3. Unmatched security

DotNetNuke provides extremely thorough security. Each user group is provided its own permissions, and all users can be sorted into these groups based upon what the operations require. As opposed to other CMSs that may require you to install a third party (and probably weak) application, DotNetNuke has a security model built into the CMS architecture. This makes DNN one of the most secure platforms for websites on the market.

 
4. Ultimate platform flexibility

DNN, because it is based on ASP.NET, is extremely extensible with pre-made or custom modules. It can be easily integrated with virtually any business application, especially those in the Microsoft stack of Dynamics (GP, CRM, etc.).

 
5. Website speed

DotNetNuke’s efficient code base ensures that websites run quickly to provide a great user experience for all of your site visitors.

 
6. Based in portals

The portal based architecture of DotNetNuke allows your business to run many sites on just one DNN installation. This can be beneficial if you need to run an intranet as well as your website, or multiple portals for individual departments.

 
7. Great for applications or intranets

Because of its flexible code base and architecture, DotNetNuke can be a great host for web apps or intranets. This is helpful for companies that want to manage many different IT assets on one easy platform.

 
8. Well supported

DotNetNuke Corporation offers central technical support. Also, because DNN is open source, there are many partners that support it all over the world. This makes your investment in DotNetNuke a safe one for many years to come.

 
9. Reduced cost

Based on your company needs, whatever version of DNN you choose, it will be a significant cost saving venture over other options (especially the custom ones that cost many tens of thousands of dollars to complete a project).

 
10. Proven and established

DotNetNuke has been used for 700,000 websites over many years, including for major companies and organizations such as NASA, Lockheed Martin, Verizon, USAA, WeightWatchers, Bose, NASCAR, Cornell University, Dannon, Kia, Hilton, Whirlpool, Chrysler, Motorola, and more.

 

DNN Resources

All the resources for the open source DNN Platform can be found in the following links.

 

DNN Community

The DNN Community is not as wide spread as other tech communities. And the skill set is not widely available. But there are a set of skilled professionals and MVPs in the community and a few references have been given in the following.

 

DotNetNuke Development

The DotNetNuke Framework is an open-source CMS on the Microsoft ASP.NET platform. Its versatility is unmatched among even its toughest competition, as it offers literally thousands of templates, themes, and skins from which to choose. Because it is open source, you also have the ability to integrate custom modules and plugins to suit your specific needs. There are built in modules in the DNN platform, and you can develop new modules using ASP.NET framework and install to your DNN website as well. Many custom modules have been developed by the developers and can be freely downloaded from following links.

 

Getting Started with DNN

DNN is a free open source .NET content management system (CMS). Like any CMS, users can easily manage site content and users, as well as develop and install custom themes and extensions (similar to WordPress “plugins”).

The system requirements for DNN are as follows:

Operating Systems

  • Windows 8, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2

.NET Framework

  • 4.5.1+

Web Server

  • Microsoft IIS 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 10

Database Server

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, 2008 Express R2, 2012, 2012 Express, 2014, 2014 Express, 2016 (for DNN 8.0.4+)
  • Microsoft Azure SQL Database

In this tutorial, I am using Windows 10, Microsoft IIS 10, Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Express and DNN Platform 9, and I am assuming you already have your database server set up. If your system is different (e.g. Microsoft Azure SQL Database), the installation process below is still the same.

 

1. Download the Install package

Download the Install.zip package for the latest release from github.

You can also download the latest install package directly from DNN’s website – be sure to scroll down and select the Install Package download option.

 

2. Extract the files

Go to your Downloads folder and find the zip file. Right click the zip file, select Properties, then check Unblock and click Apply. This marks the file as trusted and ensures all the content is extracted and accessible.

Next, create the directory for the website. I am using D:\Tutorials\DnnTutorial. Now copy and paste all the extracted files and folders from the zip file into your new website directory.

 

3. Configure IIS

To install IIS (or to confirm you have the appropriate settings configured), select Turn Windows Features on/off in the Control Panel, and turn on the following options below Internet Information Services:

  • Web Management Tools
    • IIS 6 Management Compatibility
      • IIS 6 Management Console
      • IIS Metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatibility
    • IIS Management Console
  • World Wide Web Services
    • Application Development Features
      • .NET Extensibility 3.5
      • .NET Extensibility 4.6
      • ASP.NET 3.5
      • ASP.NET 4.6
      • ISAPI Extensions
      • ISAPI Filters
      • WebSocket Protocol
    • Common HTTP Features
      • Default Content
      • Static Content
  • Health and Diagnostics
    • Custom Logging
  • Performance Features
    • Dynamic Content Compression
    • Static Content Compression
  • Security
    • Basic Authentication
    • Request Filtering
    • Windows Authentication

Once IIS is configured, you need to create the site. Open IIS, right click Sites and select Add Website.

Use dnndev.me for the Site and Host names. Enter or select the website directory you created in step 2 for the Physical Path. Click OK.

 

Kasun Blog Jan 2021 DNN Image 1

 

4. Grant File Permissions

You may or may not have noticed that an Application Pool was automatically created with the same name as the website we just created. We need to grant this Application Pool access to our website directory.

1. In File Explorer go to your website directory, right click the folder, select Properties, select the Security tab, then click Edit.

2. Click Add

3. Now we need to enter the name of the Application Pool – in our case, we need to enter iis apppool\dnndev.me. Please note that there are three p’s in that name.

4. Click Check Name to ensure it resolves to our Application Pool dnndev.me, then click OK. (If you are on a domain, you may need to change the Location field from the domain to your computer).

5. After that, select dnndev.me from the Groups and Users list, check Modify permissions, and click Apply. Close out of the remaining windows.

 

5. Setup the Database

Now we are going to create a new database and login credentials. Open up your database server, right click on Databases and select New Database. Enter your Database Name and Owner, then click OK. You will need the Database Name later in this step and step 6.

After creating the database, expand Security, right click on Logins and select New Login. On the General page, enter a new Login Name (I like to use straightforward login names so it is clear which system or application is using it), select SQL Authentication, and enter a Password. Please note, you will need to remember the Login Name and Password for step 6.

Then select the User Mapping page on the left – check the name of the database we just created and set the Default Schema to dbo, then check db_owner and public options for Database role memberships. Click OK.

 

6. Run DNN Installation Wizard

We’re almost done! Now open a browser and go to your site (http://dnndev.me). You should be redirected automatically to the Installation Wizard.

Enter the desired settings in the Administrative and Website Information sections. In the Database Information section, use the following values:

  • Database Setup: Custom
  • Database Type: SQL Server/SQL Server Express Database
  • Server Name: .\SQLExpress (if you are using a professional version of SQL Server or Azure, enter the appropriate server name instead)
  • Database Name: DnnTutorial (the Database Name created in step 5)
  • Security: User Defined
  • Database Username: web_dnntutorial (The Login name created in step 5)
  • Database Password: (The login password created in step 5)
  • Run Database As: Database Owner (make sure this is checked)

Now click Continue to run the Installation Wizard.

Once the Installation Wizard is complete, click Visit Website – you should be redirected and automatically logged in (using the admin credentials you specified earlier in step 6).

Hope you learned something new with this blog post! 



25 / January / 2021 DNN, DotNetNuke Kasun Chathuranga Perera

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