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Professional DotNetNuke 4: Open Source Web Application Framework for ASP.NET 2.0 [Paperback]

Shaun Walker , Joe Brinkman , Bruce Hopkins , Scott McCulloch , Chris Paterra , Patrick J. Santry , Scott Willhite , Dan Caron

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Book Description

July 24 2006 Programmer to Programmer
DotNetNuke is a powerful open source framework that creates and deploys robust modules on the ASP.NET platform. Written by its core team of developers, this book will provide you with the tools and insight you'll need to install, configure, and develop your own stunning Web applications using DotNetNuke 4.

You'll first gain an inside look into the history of this project as well as the basic operations of a DotNetNuke portal. You'll then find detailed information on how the application is architected and how you can extend it by building modules and skins. With this information, you'll be able to complete projects such as commercial Web sites, corporate intranets and extranets, online publishing portals, and custom vertical applications.

What you will learn from this book

  • The latest features and functionality of DotNetNuke 4 for ASP.NET 2.0
  • The best way to install DotNetNuke on the server
  • Proven tips for managing and administering a DotNetNuke portal
  • How to dramatically enhance your Web site's user interface using skins
  • Techniques for extending the portal framework
  • Ways to create a unique look for your porta

Who this book is for

This book is for the nondeveloper or administrator who wants to dive into the exciting DotNetNuke framework. It is also for experienced ASP.NET developers who want to use DotNetNuke to build dynamic ASP.NET sites or create add-ins to DotNetNuke.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.


Product Details


Product Description

From the Back Cover

DotNetNuke is a powerful open source framework that creates and deploys robust modules on the ASP.NET platform. Written by its core team of developers, this book will provide you with the tools and insight you'll need to install, configure, and develop your own stunning Web applications using DotNetNuke 4.

You'll first gain an inside look into the history of this project as well as the basic operations of a DotNetNuke portal. You'll then find detailed information on how the application is architected and how you can extend it by building modules and skins. With this information, you'll be able to complete projects such as commercial Web sites, corporate intranets and extranets, online publishing portals, and custom vertical applications.

What you will learn from this book

  • The latest features and functionality of DotNetNuke 4 for ASP.NET 2.0
  • The best way to install DotNetNuke on the server
  • Proven tips for managing and administering a DotNetNuke portal
  • How to dramatically enhance your Web site's user interface using skins
  • Techniques for extending the portal framework
  • Ways to create a unique look for your portal

Who this book is for

This book is for the nondeveloper or administrator who wants to dive into the exciting DotNetNuke framework. It is also for experienced ASP.NET developers who want to use DotNetNuke to build dynamic ASP.NET sites or create add-ins to DotNetNuke.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

Shaun Walker, founder and president of Perpetual Motion Interactive Systems Inc., a solutions company specializing in Microsoft enterprise technologies. Shaun has 15 years professional experience in architecting and implementing large scale IT solutions for private and public organizations. Shaun is responsible for the creation and management of DotNetNuke, an open source content management system written for the Microsoft ASP.NET platform. Based on his significant community contributions he was recently recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in 2004. In addition, he was recently added as a featured speaker to the MSDN Canada Speakers Bureau which allows him to evangelize DotNetNuke to User Groups across Canada. Shaun resides in British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and two children.

Joe Brinkman, formerly the founder and President of TAG Software Inc, is the Chief Technology Officer for DataSource Inc. (www.datasourceinc.com) a J2EE development company focused on simplifying and automating development of N-Tier applications with Java. With more than 22 years of IT experience and a Computer Science degree from the United States Naval Academy, he brings a broad range of experience and expertise in a variety of software and hardware architectures. Having worked with DotNetNuke since February 2003, and being a founding Core Team member, Joe currently serves as a member of the DotNetNuke Board of Directors, a Lead Architect, and Security Specialist.

Bruce Hopkins, Microsoft MVP (ASP.NET) holds a BSCIS from DeVry University and holds certifications as an MCSE and several flavors of Linux. Bruce is currently the IT Director for Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta GA and has held a wide variety of positions in technology throughout his career ranging from programming and web design to network administration and management. Bruce remarks that this varied experience is crucial to determining the correct tool for the task at hand. This is shown by the many technologies he uses everyday, including Windows, Unix, SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL and many different Linux-based applications that are an integral part of maintaining the college’s infrastructure. Bruce makes his home in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife and son.

Scott McCulloch is an Application Developer for the Computer Science Corporation, Australia. At 26 years of age, Scott holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in Computer Science, as well as the three major Microsoft Certifications (MCSD, MCDBA, MCSE). Scott has been part of the DotNetNuke community since the project began (late December, 2002). Today, his role within the DotNetNuke team is contributing as an Architect and Core Developer. He currently resides in Wollongong, Australia, with his fiancé, Lenise.

Scott Willhite is an accomplished business and technology professional turned family man. Semi-retired from technology as a profession, his days are spent teaming with his wife Allison as professional Realtors. (www.alkihomes.com) and supporting a variety of community endeavors. A distinguished technology pedigree includes a BS in Computer Science and MBA in Information Systems Management degrees from Baylor University. And a proven track record of achievement includes service as an architect for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), vice-president of Technology for 10x Labs, and Program Director for Safeco’s Office of the CIO. An ASP.NET moderator and member of DotNetNuke’s Board of Directors, Scott was recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in 2005 for significant contributions to the community. Ever the “Don Quixote” type, Scott’s currently tilting at the windmills of open source, brandishing a Microsoft lance. Among other things, he oversees the Projects initiatives at DotNetNuke cultivating BSD licensed (unencumbered) practical applications of Microsoft technology and programming to share with the world. His favorite mantra is the core values developed with his partners for their former startup company, 10x Labs: “Speak the truth. Share the wealth. Change the world!” Scott currently lives in West Seattle, WA with his lovely wife Allison, “crazy smart” son Kyle, a whiny German Shepherd dog, three neurotic housecats, and a cast of wonderful friends and neighbors that he wouldn’t trade for gold!

Chris Paterra is Lead Architect/Project Manager for Trend Core Group of Atlanta, which produces .NET marketing and communication tools. He also is a contributing author for DotNetNuke For Dummies. He enjoys writing magazine articles on project management and speaking at local Atlanta User Groups. A founding Core Team Member, Chris is currently serving as an Inner Core Team member in addition to being Project Lead for both the Gallery and the Forum DotNetNuke projects.

Patrick Santry, Microsoft MVP (ASP/ASP.NET) holds a MCSE, MCSA, MCP+SB, i-Net+, A+, and Certified Internet Webmaster certifications. He has authored and co-authored several books and magazine articles on Microsoft and Internet technologies. Patrick is frequent presenter on Web technologies, having presented at several events including the Exchange 2000 launch, DevDays 2004 in Pittsburgh, PA, and to area .NET SIGs on DotNetNuke module development. In addition, Patrick owns and maintains www.WWWCoder.com, a popular site for news, tutorials, and information for the Web development community. Patrick resides in Girard, PA, with his wife Karyn, and their four children, Katie, Karleigh, P.J, and Danny.

Dan Caron is a Lead Application Designer & Developer with MassMutual Financial Group, a Fortune 500 global, diversified financial services organization. With MassMutual, Dan designs technical solutions for financial web applications using Microsoft and Java technologies. For more than 10 years, Dan has been designing and developing applications with various programming technologies including Microsoft ASP.NET, XML/XSL, SQL, Java and JSP. He has been a major contributor to the DotNetNuke open-source portal project since the core team was founded in 2003. Some of Dan’s noteworthy contributions include the exception-handling framework, event-logging provider, and the scheduler. Dan continues to contribute his talent to the project as a Lead Architect, Core Developer, and member of the Board of Directors. Dan lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.


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Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exactly What You Don't Need To Use DotNetNuke 4.x March 25 2007
By JT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is NOT for you if you need to seriously use DotNetNuke or if you are going to embark on custom module development.

This book is definitely for you if you want to know why Shaun Walker and the other core folks made certain decisions from 1.x through 4.x. This is only useful if you have to write a review or report on DotNetNuke for a magazine or blog.

I've been using DotNetNuke seriously since before it was DotNetNuke and I have read all the books written about DotNetNuke through version 4.x. Frustratingly, none of the books gets my recommendation and this particular book is at the bottom. This book is full of general explanations that do you no good if you need to use DotNetNuke.

This book is a shining example of the Achilles heel of DotNetNuke: it's a framework by architects, for architects.

If you want to see what DotNetNuke ought to be more like, get the XMod module (it's a third-party product and I'm not affiliated with it in anyway and I'm not going to give you a link to it, just search for XMod).

XMod is doing what DotNetNuke should be doing because XMod is a user's product. If you don't really want to make your own module or find that the documentation on customizing DNN just does not cut it -- get something like XMod. You'll still be using DotNetNuke but something like XMod is well documented and provides many duplicate features of DNN that accomplish functions similar to DNN but in a much, much more robust and usable way.

In the case of both DNN and XMod the "user" refers to a developer.

Don't let anyone fool you, DNN is a developer's product and you need to know a lot about all the web applicaiton technologies involved and ought to be able to use Visual Studio and SQL at a minimum.

But the nutty thing about this book is that it spends half its time speaking above the developer talking about architectural decisions and other esoterica that will not tell you enough to mimic the architecture or use the code unless you are already a DNN expert developer.

This book will drive you mad if you are a developer who is not afraid to compile a VS project and you are looking for an answer such as, "How do I just add a couple of columns to the Survey module table, a bit of extra business logic and a few cosmetic changes I need?" This book will only reiterate that DNN modules are scattered all over the place in this provider and that or this App_Code folder or that. And that DNN achieves an oh-so-wonderful but madingly obfuscatory 'separation of Church and State' architecture.

The rest of the time this book talks below the developer and gives worthless "For Dummies" information about how to use the various modules like Announcements and Links. For goodness sake Wrox, how in the world did you pass off such a disjoint amalgam of chapters?

DotNetNuke is a very good application framework. Today (Spring 2007) DotNetNuke 4.5 is the best starting point for your web application regardless of size or deployment. DNN blows the LAMP alternatives out of the water.

It remains to be seen if DNN will continue to be needed. My prediciton is "No". DNN is already being absorbed into .NET & Visual Studio and will continue to be absorbed. The only wildcard is the need for Microsoft to present the illusion of "Open Source". It is an illusion because in truth, Microsoft directly funds and virtually controls DotNetNuke. (Sorry, Shaun, it's a fact even you admit in this book. But it's okay with me and most DNN users.)

Even though this book spends and inordinate amount of time explaining "For Dummies" details, it does not provide enough to be useful! For instance, it tells yous about the editor and the discussion module and then promptly dismisses both as inferior to modules you ought to go download. So, you are left on your own to use a module that is not documented.

Trying to develop a custom module in any version of DotNetNuke is not for the uninitiated and chances are you bought this book because you are endeavoring to create a custom module. You would think this book would excel at providing assistance to the custom module developer. But alas it does not.

It is full of "we did this in version 3 because people wanted that in version 2, etc." rather than getting down and dirty into custom module development. Also the examples are incomplete snippets and only in VB.

I will conclude this epistle with a plea to Shaun and the Core: Stop writing books! Instead, provide thorough, updated online documentation, tutorials and private forums. I'd pay way more than the price of this book for a library of sample projects (And please in C#!) with tutorials and explicit instructions. For instance, take Michael Washington's tutorials. I'd pay for access to that type of resource if it were fleshed out a bit more, presented in a more organized fashion and included in-depth documentation and access to private forums to ask questions and get help when deadlines need to be met (on a pay-per-use basis if necessary).

Trying to follow an example in this book will drive you mad because it always leaves out all the REALLY IMPORTANT details like paths, settings, options, creating and configuring IIS for webhost sites versus localhost sites etc. Constantly the book says things like, "If your site is hosted, you'll have to do this part differently." REALLY!? Just HOW is it done differently!? THAT'S WHAT I BOUGHT THE BOOK FOR!

P.S. It is quite evident that few of the Core Team actually use DotNetNuke. The Core really needs to add some serious users to its ranks. Right now it is just a bunch of (very good) system programmers. System programmers we all know are topnotch in their areas of expertise but usually suck at knowing what makes an application a winner with the end users. The upshot is that we who do know the latter end up spending the bulk of our DNN time tweaking under, over and around the ugliness and clumsiness of DNN. This ugly clumsiness can be seen architecturally where too many times, when you need another of something you have to create a new modules and there is no way you (the developer) are going to let end users add modules to pages. So you end up not being able to use a module only because you cannot get "another" one without adding a new module to a page.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Refer to DNNs online Docs March 1 2007
By Planecrash - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There isn't much more in this book than is already available for free, to registered users, on the DotNetNuke website. I develop web based applications daily in DNN and barely, if ever, refer to this book. Register for a free account at the DotNetNuke website and consult the free documentation, of which this book is a regurgitation of, along with the forums.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the developer (or nondeveloper) ... March 24 2007
By John Vandenbrook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My expectations appear to be in sync with other developers looking for a book that really goes under the hood to explain how to develop modules for the DotNetNuke portal framework. Much of what is written here you can find in their other book geared toward DNN 3. For example, page 58 in the DotNetNuke Portals book is page 88 in this one. I also agree with others that much of the information in this book has already been covered in the DNN documentation, the online help, and more thoroughly in Lorraine Young's DNN Guide (I understand that she is authoring a DotNetNuke for Dummies book, also not geared towards the developer, and which I have a hunch will also be a re-hash of her DNN Guide - which is rather good for its intended audience).

I hate to be so harsh here but I hope that the message gets across that developers are really looking for a solid technical book with practical examples on how to program for this framework, and tips and tricks for leveraging the DNN framework as well. Daniel Egan's first book covering DNN 3 was a very good attempt (his second was yet another re-hash, though). Traincert.net has a video which describes a creative way to setup your development environment to develop DNN modules for DNN4/VS 2k5, but that's about all...

I hope that Shaun and the other's who are responsible for putting together such a terrific open source application see an opportunity here.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Your Money and Time March 12 2007
By B. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Without a doubt the worst technical documentation that I actually had to pay for. This book is one long self-indulgent testament to the developers and the community that has evolved around this product. Good for them, but as a technical manual it fails to deliver in any category: as a User Maunal, Administrative Guide, Programmer's Maunal or even just a Technical Reference. Worse, it hopelessly mixes this different kind of information together at the lowest levels.

Some of the other reviews allude to the high amount of "filler". The truth is though that this book is almost entirely filler; real content is scarce indeed. A staggering 54 pages are devoted to DotNetNuke and Shuan Walker's history when 2 pages would have covered it. Every tech-writer filler trick is used to get the books enormous page count(481). The pages are filled with enormous unannotated screen shots, long tables of program constants with little or no context to properly apply them and that staple of all modern bad programming documentation: extensive unannotated listings of the program's source code.

Save your money and your time on this one.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Re-Hash Jan. 10 2007
By ASPNET Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Don't waste your money. All the information in the book is available for free download at the DotNetNuke site. Just download the 4.4.0 Docs package from the site and you will have then same information thats contained in the book. The only exception is that the infomation downloaded from the site is current. The docs download information is more comprehensive than the book. It goes into greater detail and gives better examples.

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