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Thoughts and Recap of DotNetNuke Connections 2010

DotNetNuke Connections 2010 Banner

Some of you will already know, and some will be surprised to find out that this was my first time attending DotNetNuke Connections.  I have been to all but one of the Day of DotNetNuke events, and other events all over the United States, but never to DotNetNuke Connections.  I could tell early-on that this event was going to be different than anything I had attended before.  It was…

Will Strohl at a dinner at DotNetNuke Connections 2010

I arrived in Las Vegas early on Sunday with Chris Hammond and my lady, Kim.  We spent much of the day exploring the Vegas strip and taking pictures, while we waited for our rooms to be ready.  We would then turn in to prepare on our respective projects, awaiting for the next day to come, where the events would begin.

DotNetNuke Connections

The week would truly begin the next day, on Monday, and fly by so fast.  DNNCon was over before we realized it.  There were a ton of meet-ups, gatherings, and other networking to be had at all times of the day, all over the area.  It was extremely cool to meet people from all over the world in one place, many of which that were literally new to the DotNetNuke platform.

DNN Networking Night
Photo courtesy of Chris Hammond's Flickr Stream

Being the Global Organizer of the Day of DotNetNuke, I was most interested in seeing how different the event, attendees, topics, and speakers were in contrast to the various DoDNN events.  There was a huge contrast in my opinion.  Many of the speakers were the same, but this event seemed to bring in a completely different crowd than the DoDNN.  There were many more decision-makers and other focused attendees that I don’t normally see at community-based events.  Some of the topics and speakers were the same, but the presentation styles were completely different, and the speakers came from around the world as well – from as far as Australia and Portugal. 

In talking to people, they were all very focused on getting the most out of every conversation.  This is something I try to breed into the community events, but people here seemed to be much more proactive about it on their own.  Everyone was either trying to promote themselves, or trying to learn something new from everyone else.  It was incredible.

At the DNN Corp Booth

No matter where you went at DNNCon, it appeared to be the who’s who event where you would be able to see nearly everyone that you’ve heard of walking around, talking, speaking, or just plain hanging out.

I think no matter who you were, you were learning and seeing new things.  In fact, I spoke to another vendor about their DNN site that has over a million pages on it, and uses Active Social pretty extensively.  Here is a screen shot of that vendor’s site, F5 DevCentral.

F5 DevCentral

Another vendor I spoke to was helping with the implementation of a major college football website,  Their site gets around 10 million page views per month.  Impressive!!!

NCAA Football

DNNCon Keynote by Shaun Walker

Shaun's Keynote at #DNNCON
Photo courtesy of Chris Hammond's Flickr stream

I don’t think we can speak about DNNCon without speaking about the keynote speech, given by DotNetNuke founder and DNN Corp co-founder, Shaun Walker. You can always expect to have a great presentation from Shaun.  He is a fountain of knowledge, and has a unique and passionate perspective over open source, Content Management, and of course with DotNetNuke.  He spoke briefly about where DNN is, but spent a great deal of time going over where DNN will be, not only next year, but also the year after.

Some key points made revolve around:

  • InstantOn – a way to have an App Store experience from within DNN
  • Overall UI Overhaul – including the admin modules, there will be significant improvements to the DNN UI
  • Social Media Integration – being able to manage your social media presence from within DNN
  • Folder Provider – Being able to host your folders using a provider that can point to nearly any location, including the cloud
  • SharePoint Integration – A folder provider for SharePoint, to pull in SP files and folders into DNN
  • Seamless Integration into Mobile Devices – being able to face your DNN sites on any device, and allow any device to have apps built for DNN
  • DotNetNuke adopted as the official standard for CMS’s in the State of Kentucky

There of course was an hour of content in the keynote, but it was streamed & tweeted out to everyone that morning.  Overall, I think Shaun did a great job, and it appeared from the applauses and the buzz that everyone was extremely happy over the keynote.

The Sessions

I went to many other sessions by DNN notables such as Bruce Chapman (of Ifinity fame), Cuong Dang (of r2Integrated), Chad Nash (of Data Springs), and even those of the newer faces, such as Beatriz Oliveira (of Bind).  The thing that appeared to be consistent all the way through was QUALITY.  These were all top-notch speakers, and they all delivered top-notch presentations.  I especially enjoyed Beatriz’s presentation and speaking style.  I wish that Bind was in the US, as we’d all be raised to a higher standard. :)

My session went pretty well.  I had been pretty nervous about it ever since being picked to speak – mostly because I’ve never spoken at a paid conference before.  When you speak predominantly at code camps and user groups, you can fallback easily on the thought that “so what” – they didn’t have to pay for anything mentality.  Not true here.  However, once the people began to filter into my room, and after speaking to some of the people there, I was put at ease.  I had a whole list of possible demo-able things to do, depending on how the crowd interest swayed.  Interestingly though, they appeared to really enjoy my SEO tips, so we never made it to the more complicated portions of my demo.  Thank you SO MUCH to all of you that came to my presentation!  I’m just sad that I forgot to ask someone to take pictures of me presenting.  It was my first time speaking at a DevConnections / DotNetNuke Connections.

Closing Panel Discussion with DNN Corp Leadership

My favorite presentations is nearly a tie between the Community is Good Business talk by Joe Brinkman and Scott Willhite, and the closing panel discussion.  I simply LOVE the DNN community, so I am quite biased there, but the closing panel discussion is invaluable to those who want to know about the inner-workings of DNN and DNN Corp, upcoming features, business strategy, preferences, code processes, and so much more.  It even re-sparked the debate on whether the core code should be in C# or VB.  Shaun’s answer was pretty surprising to most, as he didn’t rule out there being a C# version one day.  The reasoning wasn’t a religious debate type of answer, but rather one that centered mostly around hiring.  The truth is, that when you look at the two languages today, the only differences these days is the syntax.  Peter Donker has written a pretty good post recently, highlighting that.

Media from DNNCon

You can find plenty of media from the event at the DNNCon r2iSmash portal, and through the DNNCon Flickr group.  And of course my DNNCon Flickr set, shown below.

In closing, I just want to say thank you to those who choose the DNNCon sessions.  I was chosen before I was hired at DNN Corp, so it is still very fulfilling to know that I was worth having at the event.  I am equally thankful to DNN Corp for allowing me to continue to go.  Sometimes business gets in the way of things, so I was a bit scared when I was first hired.  I also want to thank those who attended the event.  You made this a very fun event to be a part of.  Every day and night was more fun than the average person could handle.  We could tell as soon as people began peeling off to their rooms.  :)  Lastly, I would like to thank DevConnections for having us.  Despite me being disappointed in the amount of cross promotion that our track had, it is nothing short of an honor for them to think that DNN is worthy of its own track at such a prestigious event.  Thank you!

The header image of me was taken by Chris Hammond.

This blog post is cross-posted from my personal blog site.


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