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Professional DotNetNuke Module Programming [Paperback]

Mitchel Sellers , Shaun Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 6 2009 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
This book was written to provide insight into the development techniques needed (and the options available) to work within the DotNetNuke framework. Emphasis is placed on the available methods to extend the framework, as well as the situations and rules governing when each respective extension model should be used. Along with this emphasis on selecting the right extension method, the book stresses the importance of leveraging the framework in as many areas as possible, and ultimately using the framework to the advantage of the developer, rather than merely working with it.

One current weakness of the DotNetNuke framework is developer documentation. The framework provides developers with numerous amazing methods to extend the framework and build truly robust applications, but as of this writing, minimal API documentation exists, and overall development topics are scattered all over the Internet. Many community members have helped to supplement this lack of developer content by writing blog articles and technical tutorials to help teach the individual concepts, but because there is no central repository, it can be tedious and difficult to find just what you need.

This book helps truly identify and document some excellent new features that are supported starting with DotNetNuke 5.0. The inclusion of jQuery exposes developers to a great JavaScript library that will enable interactive and animated interfaces to be created easily. The new Module Packaging system (discussed in detail in Appendix D) provides module developers and skin designers with many much-needed options when it comes to deploying applications. This book was written to expose this information, and to function as a key resource for the development community.

This book assumes that the reader has a working knowledge of standard ASP.NET development techniques and terminologies. Samples in the book are provided in both C# and Visual Basic (VB) to enable readers with diverse backgrounds to fully understand the concepts presented. Users do not need to have a comprehensive understanding of DotNetNuke prior to using this book because the early chapters discuss the configuration of both DotNetNuke and the development environment, and careful consideration has been taken to ensure that DotNetNuke-specific terminology is explained as the book progresses.

Readers already familiar with DotNetNuke 4.x development will find this book valuable because it introduces many of the new features of the latest software version, although some of the beginning chapters for these readers will be redundant because the overall concepts of environment configuration and basic interface elements have not changed from 4.x to 5.x. Differences between versions 4.x and 5.x are pointed out as appropriate.

As the title implies, this book primarily covers development techniques within the DotNetNuke 5.x platform. The chapters point out similarities and differences between the 4.x and 5.x platforms, enabling readers to apply some newer concepts to the older technology. Although this book primarily focuses on the concept of module development, it discusses other extension models as well, such as skin objects and authentication providers. Also covered in this book are recommended practices for successful integration with the framework.

This book begins with an introduction to development within DotNetNuke. The discussions walk you through DotNetNuke setup, terminology, development environment setup, and options for .NET project setup.

The book then presents a scenario-based model to introduce basic concepts of module development. This is accomplished by building a simple guestbook module that demonstrates how individual portions interact with one another. The discussion lays the foundation for the most basic elements of development within DotNetNuke. Later in the book, you learn about the more advanced module programming concepts, such as optional interfaces and DotNetNuke user controls. This discussion additionally introduces other extension methods, such as authentication providers and skin objects, as well as best practices.

In short, the main content of the book creates a working model that guides you through the most common development scenarios; at the same time, it provides the detail needed to tightly integrate custom code with the framework.

The appendixes provide supplemental information to what is contained in the chapters. This is material that, while not critical to an understanding of the individual chapters, is nonetheless important. The appendixes include items such as community resources and general DotNetNuke configuration items, as well as a detailed look at the new module manifest and a few key integration API points that are not well documented overall.


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Professional DotNetNuke® Module Programming

As the force behind the creation of new functionality to DotNetNuke Web sites, DotNetNuke modules are reusable programming components that offer a way to extend the basic DotNetNuke framework. With this resource, you'll learn the best practices for DotNetNuke module development, and you'll gain a clear understanding of the development techniques needed to work within the DotNetNuke framework.

This book begins with a look at development within DotNetNuke. The book walks you through DotNetNuke setup, terminology, development environment setup, and options for .NET project setup. You'll gradually move on to discussions of more advanced module programming concepts, such as optional interfaces and DotNetNuke user controls. A scenario-based model introduces other extension methods (such as authentication providers and skin objects), and demonstrates how to communicate with the API. Real-world examples throughout serve to enhance your grasp of ways to successfully market and distribute a completed DotNetNuke module.

What you will learn from this book

  • How to properly create requirements for a DotNetNuke module project

  • How to create modules that support static text localization

  • Why it is important to adhere to the API, and how to take full advantage of it

  • How to tightly and safely integrate custom code with the framework

  • Techniques for packaging, installing, and debugging modules

  • Tips for dealing with third-party components and controls

  • Tips for working with both DotNetNuke 4.x and 5.x

  • Implementation details for various Ajax frameworks, including jQuery and ASP.NET Ajax

l An understanding of alternative integration options such as authentication providers and skin objects

Who this book is for

This book is for DotNetNuke users of all levels of experience who are looking to expand their expertise. A knowledge of DotNetNuke is not required, but will be helpful.

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.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book,but could explain a few areas more Sept. 5 2010
By Jake
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thought the book takes you through the various steps in module development and through a bit of a backgrounder, it still wasn't detailed enough for the 1st time DNN module developer. The book seems to assume you are familiar enough with DNN methods in module design and at points, leaves you scratching your head on what you were really doing.

Still, if you are going to plunge into DNN module creation, it is still fairly good book. Things that may not make some sense initially will come together with a bit more digging out on the Internet.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, solid on the basics March 9 2009
By Johnny Spangle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'd say the other reviewers are harsh bordering on unfair. I found the book very useful in picking up the fundamentals of DNN module development. It provided a good number of topics on which to search for more information; topics I would not have known existed (with any ease) without first reading this book.

I am no newbie to .NET development (10 years in the trade) but like many others out there, new to DNN. I needed something more than the documentation provided by DNN, which is patchy at best and useless at worst, and this book provided it.

I believe DNN is growing as an application and the literature support it will no doubt improve. Criticisms I would make of this book are as follows. At around 300 pages, there is scope to add more detail ... come on Mitchell, it's clear you know more, put it down on paper. Second, there a few careless errata (my favorite are VB files given a .cs extension) but on the other hand, this is by no means uncommon in Wrox books; I've read a few, I know.

So if you're interested in knowing more than the sdk documentation can tell you (and not just interested in showing off what you know already, other reviewers!) then this is pretty much your only option in book form. Buy it, search the forums and blogs, and you will be doing ok.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow. Lacks fundamentals. March 5 2009
By Alexander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a shallow book. It lacks the depth one is looking for when doing serious module programming. The book spends too much time on basic issues - including how to install DotNetNuke and a comparison of versions 3/4/5.

But when more interesting topics arise, the author much too often simply writes 'XXX is beyond the scope of this book'.

The structure already shows the shortcomings: The author introduces module programming by example, e.g. by creating a simple, basic module (chapters 4-9). This is the kind of information you easily find browsing the web.

The book is short on fundamentals. As an example, take the definition of a module in the chapter on 'Under the DotNetNuke Hood' on page 31:
"Modules are the key pieces of functionality that exist inside DotNetNuke installations. Tabs create the page structures needed to house the functionality; and, in the end, modules actually implement the desired result. DotNetNuke has many core modules available... (list of some modules follows)"
Sorry, but this is supposed to be a book about module programming, the reader deserves much more precision and thoughtfulness (this section (and the whole book) really contains no more in-depth discussion of what a module is and what the guiding principles behind DotNetNuke's module architecture are).

Headings often sound better than their content. An example: Chapter 9 (Packaging, installing, debugging) contains a section titled: 'Distribution and Testing Considerations'. This could certainly be an important issue. But the author devotes 12 lines to it and mainly reiterates a single idea: Testing should occur on multiple DotNetNuke installations with varied settings.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great Feb. 22 2009
By Keith E. Rowley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Professional DotNetNuke Module programming falls in-between targeting beginners who need to know how to do things in the simplest way possible, and targeting professionals, who need a comprehensive overview of the API and best practices for using it.

The author stresses using the Web Application Project model rather that the Web Site Project model, and while this may be best practice for professional module developers wanting to distribute pre-compiled code, it is much more difficult to debug and is an overall slower development process.

At only 306 pages including the index it doesn't feel like as good a value as other wrox books in the same price range. For instance, Professional ASP.NET 3.5: In C# and VB (Programmer to Programmer) which I would highly reccomend has 1673 pages including the index and costs about the same amount.

Overall, being new to DotNetNuke programming, I found this book to be usefull to get an overview of the way the framework works and reccomended practices for integrating new modules into the existing framework. However, this book fell short in providing the level of quality and detail I have come to expect from Wrox books. 3 stars.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, usable information to do DNN module programming Aug. 30 2009
By Dale Warner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book to overcome the shortage of information that is packaged with the DNN source code. DNN has been changing so fast that the documentation describing how to program (at least that I could find online) struggles to keep up. This book is useful, clear, and accurate - I would recommend it for anyone that already has C# / VB experience that needs to understand how to create and deploy modules under DotNetNuke. Worth the price.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cut this guy some slack folks Sept. 17 2009
By G. Morton-haworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Yes, there is some scope for improvement here. But it is ridiculous to criticize the author for not making the book longer. My shelves are groaning under the weight of huge computer books, bloated with information that is readily available elsewhere.

Instead of padding out his book, Mitchel tells you where to get the information you need.

What Mitchel does supply, that I haven't seen anywhere else (except his site), is a full treatment of the Web Application Projects (WAP) route to module development. WAP vs WSP is one of those stupid religious wars.

What Mitchel doesn't say (but probably should) is that the alternative Web Site Projects (WSP)route may not get you where you want to go. He merely observes that "there are ways to create compiled assemblies from WSP projects but they are very complex to complete". But, if you have a complex module or suite of modules, you may simply be unable to compile them as a WSP. I have learnt that the hard way.

His book is not just the best treatment of WAP development in DotNetNuke, but the only one. For that alone it is worth the bucks.
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