DotNetNuke 7 – The Modern CMS for Windows Arrives

16 November, 2012 Content ManagementDotNetNukeEventHostingSoftwareTechnologyWindows

The Rise of DotNetNuke

– Jeffrey J. Hardy 

The DNN Community is eagerly anticipating the arrival of DotNetNuke 7 in just a few days … with good reason. There is a ton of newness and new-oldness (if that makes any sense) to talk about, so let’s dive right in.

What’s Old is New Again – Drag and Drop

OK, I get it. For a hard-core CSS-schooled Code Monkey, drag and drop is a cop out. It is to website development what Milli Vanilli is to music. But to content owners and creators without a CIS degree living in a real business world it is a god-send.  The world of content owners is populated with marketing interns and attention-deficit-disordered MBAs who believe that they have been placed on the Earth to change anything and everything. In this reality, the ability to make format changes by clicking and dragging module elements around the page without violating the basic design structure set up by the engineering-types saves time and avoids major screw-ups.

DotNetNuke had this back in the day, mysteriously removed the feature in DNN 6, and is now adding it back again in version 7. Whew!

Milli Vanilli Greatest Hits

Milli Who?

I am not certain what ethereal dictate of code conflict or executive order took this element away from us, but I am certainly glad that it is back. This definitely goes in the “win” column. Add to this the ability to install a module once and utilize it across pages is heart-warming to say the least. Address your letters of fond appreciation to the DotNetNuke development team in Vancouver.

Admin Interface Improvements – Sexy is as Sexy Does

The new layout has been streamlined and simplified. It “feels” right. More like you are editing a real web page. DotNetNuke 7 also has a new, lightweight developer skin that has been optimized for performance and the administrator’s experience. The task bars are now greatly improved, the new layout overall appears more modern, the entire control panel has been redesigned (which makes managing your site far more intuitive), and the menu can now be personalized.

Auto-save, how do I love thee, let me count the ways …

OK, quoting Elizabeth Barrett Browning is going a little overboard. The truth is that if you are working live on the box, save failures are pretty rare. But … and there is always a “but” … if you are working on a site remotely or are an inexperienced user, auto-save can be a big deal indeed. The best part of auto-save is, again, a “feeling” thing. It is reassuring and, although that might seem trivial, I am personally “all about” the interface and delighting the users. If you are building a website that will be used by others, they will notice. And, importantly, it will stand up well against other CMS products that those users might have seen and used.

Are you Experienced?

All the talk about user experience brings up a good point (and the gratuitous Jimi Hendrix reference). The new interface changes just “feel” modern and right. In my opinion, DotNetNuke 7 is taking a big leap into the present-tense. Perfect? No … nothing is. But I would now confidently stack the “experience” of using DotNetNuke up against any other business-centered CMS product.

Jimi Hendrix

The “DotNetNuke Experience” is better

This cannot, in my opinion, be over-stated. If the lessons of Apple, Cloud Computing, and mobility have taught us anything at all, they have taught us that it matters what systems and software “do” technically, but it matters perhaps more how they “feel” to the person doing it. People will use what feels right to them, even at the cost of a wiz-bang feature or two. That’s just the way we humans are. If you are a developer/coder/techno-ninja, that may not apply to you personally, but I guarantee that it applies to your customers and the people who add and manage the content on websites every day.

SharePoint and Active Directory

It is also worth noting that both SharePoint and Active Directory have greater integration in this new version of DotNetNuke.  The team at DotNetNuke is striking a careful balance here.  They are dedicated to their open-source brethren who provide a broad base of sites and users, and they need to dedicate resources to building to the needs of the businesses and enterprises whose paid licenses make everything possible.  The SharePoint and AD efforts are obviously an important part of that strategy.  It can be a tough thing to bridge those two worlds, but DotNetNuke is doing a good job of it, continuing to build added value into the community edition and the paid professional and enterprise varieties.


Speaking of developer/coder/techno-ninjas, let’s throw in some specs and details to keep them happy.

Computer Technician

Making the Tech Guys Happy

With all of the technological innovation this year, DotNetNuke Corp has raised the minimum requirements to Windows Server 2008, IIS 7.0, ASP.NET 4.0, Visual Studio 2010, and SQL Server 2008. But DotNetNuke 7 supports all the way up to the latest technology:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8
  • ASP.NET 4.5
  • Visual Studio 2012
  • SQL Server 2012
  • Internet Explorer 9-10, Firefox 5+, Chrome 13+, and Safari 5

I have been in and around the technology game for a while and I know that if your hosting company is languishing on ASP .NET 3.x or hosting your site on a hyped-up desktop-server-conversion box running with a pirated copy of Server 2003, this can pose a problem. A problem to which my answer is, you get what you pay for. Time to upgrade.

We all understand … it can be hard to motivate people to do work when things are not actively broken. If you want to get on the latest quickly and cannot drag your current hosting provider out of the last Bush administration, give us a call and we can help you migrate. You will be more safe, secure, and stable … and you will be able to get all the benefit of version 7 as soon as possible (we can help you upgrade too).

Stuff Only a Serious Geek Will Care About – But Still Important

For DotNetNuke 7 the Default.css has been completely overhauled, taking out the unnecessary bulk and adding new, advanced UI features. DotNetNuke 7 will now run much faster, bringing the improved performance that PowerDNN has been talking about. The Default.css will also provide a more reliable foundation when you are creating skins and modules, giving a consistent user experience.

DotNetNuke has had the same Data Access Layer since DotNetNuke 1.1, but the developers at DotNetNuke weren’t satisfied with it. DAL2 supports the modern unit of work and repository patterns. It has built in caching, paging, transaction support, and more. DAL2 simplifies modular development. You no longer have to depend on programs like SqlHelper, but DAL2 also has complete support for those who prefer close-to-the-metal data access.

PowerDNN and DotNetNuke 7

PowerDNN has worked with DotNetNuke since version 1.0. Our DotNetNuke experts know DotNetNuke inside and out. We can help you get the training you need to utilize this new version and maximize its potential.

DotNetNuke 7 is all about performance, and performance has always been PowerDNN’s number one objective. PowerDNN’s servers (based in the US, UK, and in Australia) are optimized for DotNetNuke. In addition to our impeccable 24/7/365 support, our custom tools automate the upgrade and installation process entirely. And if you want a little help with the upgrade, our DotNetNuke experts can ensure your website upgrades successfully to DotNetNuke 7 by helping you through the process all the way.

PowerDNN is the right place to host your DotNetNuke 7 site. Start now for free with one of our 15 day free trials in any of our global datacenters and see for yourself how PowerDNN does DotNetNuke right.

(Even before the release of DNN7, DotNetNuke was named “Best CMS for SMB” by CMS Critic.)

Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation [MSFT].
DotNetNuke and DNN are trademarks of DotNetNuke Corporation [DNN].