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My DotNetNuke History, and a game of DNN Tag

A few months back there was a game of blog TAG going on with .Net related weblogs, I'm still bitter no one tagged me! So I'm starting up my own game of tag, this time it's DotNetNuke related tagging! So here it goes, the first in the game, and at the bottom of this post I'll list off 3 other DNN'rs that I'll "tag" and they should blog about their DNN history, and then tag 3 more DNN'rs each. So here goes my DotNetNuke History!

I haven't reminisced in a while, I was trying to think of something interesting to blog about tonight, and figured I'd do a little community work! So here it goes, feel free to add your own "Story" when you get tagged, but first you must read mine!

Back in the day I was working for a local company here in St. Louis, Swank Motion Pictures, Don't let the name fool you, it's not that kind of company, it is a great family owned business here in St. Louis. I worked there for almost 3 years, that time around, I had previously worked there, twice.

Back in 2002 I was working on Classic ASP apps, nothing too fancy, and without hardly any training whatsoever. In December of 2002 me and my boss took an Atomic.Net class with a training company in town called Quilogy, it was a week long class, and after the first day I was at home playing around with in the evenings. One of the first things I did while playing with .Net was to download the IBuySpy portal and store packages.

I was actually interested in the two IBS packages because I was also a partner in a small racing business at the time,, and I was interested in setting up a store on this newly learned wonder called .Net. Over the next two months or two I pieced together an application in which I merged the IBS Store and Portal into a single app, most of the work on this app was actually done while I was in San Francisco at VSLive 2003 in February.

Sometime in Early January of 2003 I started to hear about this new application, the IBuySpy workshop, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what it actually was, as I didn't see the original announcement for it in the forums. I saw forum posts referencing something called workshop but wasn't quite clear on what it was. It was probably a month or so before I figured out what the IBSW actually was, and started to try to use it.

By Summer of 2003 I was using what was now called DotNetNuke on a few of the websites I ran for hobby, at the time was one of the most prominent, but there were quite a few others as well. Sometime in the spring of 2003 I started to convert the application I had built using IBS Portal/Store into a DNN application. Considering how new I was to DNN, and actually how new DNN was to everyone, I was one of those guys who developed an application by hacking into the "core" code. Consider that my lesson learned! When I went to upgrade to DNN 2.* later, I learned just how painful it is to go from a hacked version of DNN to a newer version, and I've done my best since then to not hack into the core.

By spring of 2004 I was actively posting in the DNN forum on, and also trying to assist with a project at the time known as ASP.NET Forums 2, I was hoping to help DNN and the Forums project merge together, or at least both use the same membership so that I could use them together to power SOLO2.ORG. In April of 2004 I got an email from my current boss. He saw some of my posts on the ASP.Net forums2 site and noticed I was in St. Louis, a few weeks later I was working for Engage Software in Des Peres, Missouri,

At the time Engage was starting to use DotNetNuke, and also a little bit of Rainbow portal for various client projects. I quickly came in and squashed all use of Rainbow portal, and we went complete with DotNetNuke for our portal projects. In July of 2004 I was informed I was being considered for membership on the DotNetNuke core team. This was a tremendous honor for myself, and I was excited just to be considered.

One of the first major projects I worked on at Engage was to develop a new website for the St. Louis Children's Hospital, For that website we developed a content workflow module, allowing for a few Administrators of the site to maintain and approve content entered by 20-30 authors. The authors had the ability to add articles, but these articles must be approved before they are published onto the website.

The original site was developed against DotNetNuke 2.1.2, and over the years has worked it's way up the DNN upgradechain. Currently the site runs on 4.5.1, with our most recent release of Engage: Publish, version 4.2.6. Recently we posted Publish for sale on Snowcovered, and we're also getting ready to put the module up on the DotNetNuke Marketplace.

If you're developing your own modules for selling, I highly recommend getting your module reviewed by the DNN review program. It's a great way to provide assurance to potential customers that your module has been through the review process and meets up to at least some minimum standards. We had Publish reviewed back in January and it provided us some great feedback.

Over time I started presenting at user groups and techfests evengalizing DotNetNuke, that ended up leading to training sessions through Engage. Last year I performed corporate DotNetNuke training in Tennessee, Maine, Kentucky and Missouri. So far this year I've been to Washington D.C., New York, and Salt Lake City, Utah. I must say, I get a kick out of traveling around to different clients and helping them meet their business goals through the use of DotNetNuke.

Too long ago, probably fall of 2005, I was asked to take on a Module project, I stepped up to pick up a Wiki project for the DNN core. I say too long ago because it's not almost two years later and we're just now getting ready for the first official release. I take complete blame for the delays and lack of progress in the module's release. Thanks to Josh Handel for helping to get this new release going. Soon it will be making it out into the light of day, and after that, we'll have another release later this year.

What's the future hold for me? Right now it's big and bright. Things at Engage Software are going great, we're growing, hiring, growing, and hiring more. The DotNetNuke project is growing and releasing new versions left and right. The corporation that was setup last fall has been taking care of the project and even setup a conference in Las Vegas in November 2007.

I know where I'll be the 5 through the 8th of November. Hopefully I'll be speaking at the conference, but even if I'm not chosen to present I'll be there with bells on. I've also submitted speaking proposals for the SDC in the Netherlands in September 2007, so hopefully I'll be making my first trip to Europe this fall.

Now, for my 3 tags. Here's a challenge to Josh Handel, Scott Willhite, and Joe Brinkman to blog their own DotNetNuke histories, and tag 3 people of their own to do the same.


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