Sunday, April 23, 2006

The DotNetNuke experiment. . .

It’s been an interesting day.

I got notification this morning that the new Hosting Account was ready so I went ahead and got started with the DotNetNuke (DNN) installation. If you want to have a look at the type of skins and modules that are already available, you should check out SnowCovered they seem to be the spot to go for that stuff.

I took advantage of the Hosting Company’s “Auto Install” feature, which worked very, very smoothly (automatic you could say!), for this initial testing phase. It was as easy as clicking some items on their menus and watching the install roll by. It was sort of reminiscent, of our old Accounting enhancement installs, a ton of messaging by to let you know it’s running, and a very comforting ‘Installation Successful” message when it was complete.

One nice feature, or at least I thought it was, is that the default page that launches when the site comes up for the first time has all of the default username and password combos right there for you. No fumbling through the documentation trying to find them, and, with them displayed on the home page, you pretty much either have to clear the home page or change them!

The basic config work took only minutes… and I spent the rest of the day, off and on, between running a couple of batch jobs for work, tearing apart a toilet and talking to some friends on the phone…. building, and destroying the same 5 page website, at least 5 times.

This tool is indeed pretty slick.

Doing that in any other web development tool would have taken much, much, longer, for me anyway.

The basic package has all sorts of ‘built in’ pieces in the core. Modules like account login, User registration, Banners, contacts, User accounts, discussions, documents, FAQ’s, Events, Announcements… and more.

There’s even a RSS feed module that you can install on a page and link to a news feed for topical stories, events and so on. You can even place two or three different feeds into separate modules, on the same page. They can be set to be ‘open’ or ‘closed’ when the page is rendered, as well as hidden until the user logs in.

The real proof to me though was that my wife also found it intuitive, while she’s not really had much web development experience, she found the interface clear, and fairly straightforward.

This thing has a ton of options; most of our time today was spent searching out ‘where’ to turn on, or off, the feature in question.

Yes, we did, ‘blow it up’ a couple of times, but that might have had more to do with both of us making changes to the same site, at the same time…. SQL can be funny about that sometimes…

All in all… it was a day well spent.

The tech support folks at the new hosting company continue to be outstanding, helpful as well as knowledgeable!

I’ll keep you posted, but I fully expect that by this time next Sunday I’ll have two sites in pretty good shape and being ‘served up’ from this one web application. This is pretty slick stuff indeed. Right now, my biggest concern is the hassle of moving the domains to a new provider!

Well that… and graphics!!

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6 comments:

Jada's Gigi said...

I think I'm in deep DNN water....glub, glub...lol
Just stopping by to say hi, haven't been by in a while.

Firehawk said...

Bill,

It's always refreshing when the "automagical" parts of programs really work as advertised. Better that wrestling endlessly with automatic features that hang up the system or make you wrestle them to get every step from the "beaten path".

Hope your good experiences continue. Keep us up on the progress.

Firehawk said...

*--that=than

Bill said...

Cheryl - Always glad to see you, thanks for stopping by!

Firehawk - Given the amount of the 'auto' stuff that is far from it, this was pretty cool.

The few issues there have been, have gotten resolved quickly, and all without incident.

You know I'll keep you posted!

Jay said...

I'm glad you had fun with your new toy, Bill :)

Bill said...

Jay - What is it about 'frustration' that we programmer types like so much anyway?

Thanks Jay... I'm sure when I get this package figured out, it'll be worth the effort!