Start Building DNN Extensions Today.

The DNN Platform supports a wide range of development tools to help you build extensions, both open source and commercial. Whether you are a power user, an experienced software engineer, a new developer or even a designer, there are tools appropriate to your experience level to aid you in the development process.

Build extensions for the DNN Platform .NET CMS (formerly DotNetNuke)
DNN Platform CMS extensions development tools

Tools

There is a wide range of recommended development tools you can use for creating DNN extensions

  1. The DNN Platform. The DNN Platform has a number of features that allow any type of DNN extension to be defined, described, and packaged. In addition, the Module Source Editor provides basic source code editing functionality for modules. For more advanced module editing features you can use the DNN Module Creator, an open source module that can be easily accessed and installed from the extensions page of your DNN installation.
  2. Web Matrix. Web Matrix is a standard Microsoft product that can be downloaded for free from the Microsoft Web Application Gallery. Web Matrix provides base-level editing capability intended for junior developers and power users. Web Matrix provides all the tools you need for building almost any type of DNN extension.
  3. Visual Studio. Visual Studio is a commercial Microsoft product that provides advanced code editing and development tools. Visual Studio is a great fit for more advanced developers and is the best choice for building complex extensions.

Methods

There are many ways to build DNN modules. Three primary methods are:

  1. Compiled modules. Compiled modules are built using the Web Application Project model in Visual Studio. Compiled code is more compact, results in faster website startup times, and keeps source code more secure. For these reasons it is the recommended development model for commercial or widely deployed extensions.
  2. Dynamic modules. These are created using the Web Site Project model, which simplifies development and eliminates the need to use Visual Studio or the .Net compiler. This development approach may be used with any editor, which makes it the perfect choice for new developers who want to get started quickly. In this model, source code is compiled at run time when a user first visits a page that uses the module. This necessitates a pause before execution can commence. The dynamic approach is typically used for one-offs, quick iterations, or open source modules.
  3. Razor modules. Razor modules leverage the ASP.Net Razor view engine for quickly building dynamic modules. As a non-compiled format, it allows any editor to be used for development. It employs the DNN Razor Host module to host razor scripts and provides the ability to package a script and distribute it as a standalone module. This makes it easy to quickly add new functionality to a website without leaving your browser.
Multiple methods to build DNN Platform modules
Resources and documentation for developing DNN Platform (formerly DotNetNuke) CMS extensions

Resources

DNN provides several additional resources to users:

  • The DNN UX Guide provides guidance on building user interfaces that conform to the look and feel of the core DNN platform.
  • The DNN Extension Verification Service consists of an extensive set of tests to verify that your extension is properly packaged. It also verifies that extensions are compatible with Windows Azure SQL Database.
  • The DNN Module Creator is an open source module available from the DNN Forge that allows you to quickly and easily create custom DNN modules directly from your own DNN installation.  It provides a syntax highlighting code editor, and it allows you to build modules using a wide variety of customizable templates for quickly adding new features to your modules.

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