The DotNetNuke ecosystem is a vibrant open source community where both commercial and non-commercial stakeholders co-exist in an environment which encourages active involvement from both consumers and contributors. With such a diverse set of product stakeholders, DotNetNuke has always benefitted from an abundance of support options for end users:
1. If time is not a major factor or budgets are constrained, the DotNetNuke Community Forums are a great resource for troubleshooting simple implementation issues and locating answers to common questions.
2. Those looking for a slightly more turnkey solution with some ongoing business commitments can take advantage of a variety of specialized Web Hosting providers who offer different DotNetNuke system configurations for a broad range of customers.
3. In situations where DotNetNuke plays a business-critical role in an organization's information management strategy, DotNetNuke Corporation offers commercial product subscriptions such as the DotNetNuke Professional Edition or DotNetNuke Elite Edition which provide the most comprehensive level of product support available. They allow organizations to establish a direct relationship with the creators and maintainers of the platform, providing the very highest level of assurance and confidence to your organization.
4. In cases where extensive customization or integration with third party systems or infrastructure is required to meet your business needs, it is advantageous to work with a skilled Systems Integrator who has practical knowledge in configuring and developing specialized solutions utilizing the DotNetNuke platform.
However, even with the plethora of support options above, we discovered through real-world experience and feedback that there are still gaps in the support offerings.
Specifically, there is no way for a customer to get "best practice" implementation guidance or system-level support from the creators of the platform. This is especially important for larger, more serious users who want to ensure they have an optimal, cost effective, and innovative implementation strategy for their DotNetNuke implementation. Since DotNetNuke has been created from Day 1 with extensibility in mind, there are often many different ways to solve a problem, each with their own pros and cons. Customers need to be sure they are well educated on the various alternatives, as going too far down a less-than-optimal path can lead to serious cost overruns, schedule slippage, or failure of a project altogether.
In addition to supporting customers directly, there is also a lack of core framework support options for DotNetNuke vendors. In most cases, module developers and system integrators treat the DotNetNuke framework as a "blackbox" and leverage its unique capabilities to create rich business solutions. Sometimes the unexpected behavior of an API, change in framework features or compatibility, or lack of support for a specific development use case can lead to significant complications for a vendor building a solution for a customer. When working under time constraints, logging the issue in the public defect tracking system and waiting for a reply is not feasible. Vendors cannot afford downtime so the ability to talk to DotNetNuke Corporation directly in these cases is critical. As a case in point, DotNetNuke Corporation recently assisted a prominent systems integrator in our ecosystem with the implementation of a 45,000 person Intranet for a major publishing house, providing performance tuning guidance and expert advice prior to launch.
I am happy to announce that, as of today, DotNetNuke Corporation is offering premium Developer Support Services for situations like those outlined above. As creators and maintainers of DotNetNuke, we have over 6 years of experience developing a web application framework to meet the broadest set of business requirements for both customers and vendors. Our engineers are directly responsible for the ongoing development and integrity of the DotNetNuke platform and are now available to handle your support needs related to the core framework, APIs, skin design, custom module development, or systems integration. Developer Support is available in 10 hour blocks and it is not expected that a customer will need to purchase additional blocks on an ongoing basis.
However, offering Developer Support Services does NOT mean DotNetNuke Corporation will engage in custom consulting projects for customers. We are primarily a product company, not a professional services provider, and we rely on our extensive partner network to deliver value added services for our platform. Our Developer Support Services are not a substitute for the professional services provided by our system integrator partners but rather a complement. In cases where significant customization is required for your DotNetNuke installation, you are encouraged to establish a relationship with a trusted systems integrator. To clarify our position even more, Developer Support Services are only available to customers who have already purchased, or are in the process of purchasing, a commercial version of our product. Think of our Developer Support Services as a mechanism for your organization to add DotNetNuke Corporation as a trusted "technical advisor" to your IT or software development operations.
We are 100% committed to providing exceptional value to customers who choose to take advantage of this new offering. We sincerely hope it helps fill some of the "support" gaps in our ecosystem and helps the DotNetNuke community continue to grow and prosper in the years to come.