If you're active in the DNN Community, it's hard to not know Brian Dukes. He's an MVP, was a speaker at DNNCon 2014, helped organize a company-wide hackathon at Engage Software, contributed to DNN 7.4, and most recently joined us for the February Community Hangout. And somewhere in the midst of all that found the time to answer some questions to let us get to know him a little better. Thanks, Brian!
Tell us a little about yourself (personal, professional, whatever
you’d like to share).
My wife and I have two sons, six and
two years old. The big thing going on
with us right now is that we're in the middle of an international
adoption. Any day now we're going to get a call and learn who our next
kid or kids are going to be.
One of the great things about the DNN Community is that we have
members all over the world. Where are you located?
Originally from elsewhere in the
midwest, my wife and I settled in Saint Louis, MO after coming here for college
and getting connected into our church.
What’s one thing most DNN Community members wouldn’t know about
We eat local, simple food by investing
in a CSA program to get weekly produce from local farmers.
Describe your professional (and/or personal) experience relating
to DNN. How long have you been using DNN? How did you get started?
We started using DNN at Engage in
2006, based on Chris Hammond's experiences with it, and we went all-in on it
shortly thereafter. Chris encouraged us all to build up our reputations
in the DNN forums, so I spent those first few years learning the ins and outs
of DNN as I investigated the common (and sometimes obscure) issues that people
What resources were most helpful to you as you got started, or
when you have questions?
As I was getting started and trying to
understand what was going on with DNN, most often what I found to help was
digging into the source code and seeing where DNN did something, and why it was
doing what it was doing.
Are there any cool projects you are working on that you would like
to share a little about?
The project that I'm currently
In your opinion, what are some “must have” modules and themes
(from the Forge, Store, etc.) that you would recommend for DNN sites?
We've been using 2sxc
quite a bit, and find that it helps present interfaces to our clients that are
intuitive and easy, but safe from error.
What advice would you give someone who is new to DNN?
The DNN community can be very
welcoming and helpful. Get involved in asking questions on Twitter or in
the forums, and then dig into the code, submit fixes on GitHub, and start
helping people. Digging in and helping is the easiest way to become an
expert and be better able to solve all of your own issues.
What is the best part about working with DNN? What is one
enhancement you would add/one thing you would improve?
DNN saves us a lot of development, and
provides features out-of-the-box that we don't have to build, but also provides
the flexibility to override whichever parts we need to customize. The improvement that I'd most like to see in
DNN is more flexible and streamlined user interfaces, with templating and more
easily styleable markup.
What do you think are the most important trends in website
design/development? Are there any blogs or resources you read on a regular
basis to keep up with current trends and technology?
I think the industry is still getting
caught up with the proliferation of devices and how that affects both design
and interactivity (especially outside of highly connected urban areas). I read quite a bit of blogs, but also get a
lot of reading material on Twitter that I wouldn't otherwise run across.
development blogs include Nicholas
Mode (PPK), Ben Alman
.NET development blogs include Jon Skeet, .NET Web Dev, Jeremy D. Miller, CLR Team, & K. Scott Allen, and the Herding Code and Hanselminutes podcasts.
Add your questions for Brian in the comments below!