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Ordinarily, you'd be at the right spot, but we've recently launched a brand new community website... For the community, by the community.

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Community Member Profile: Brian Dukes

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 you?
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 ran into.

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 investing in is a collection of JavaScript Libraries for DNN, which I recently blogged about.  I also have a collection of PowerShell modules and scripts which we use at Engage to manage our local DNN development websites.

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.  I also subscribe to some newsletters for any articles I miss from those (JavaScript Weekly, FiveJS, HTML5 Weekly).  Web development blogs include Nicholas Zakas, Quirks Mode (PPK), Ben Alman & IEBlog.  .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!


Bruce Chapman
No questions for you Brian, but just wanted to thank you for your ongoing contributions of all types - which are truly across a broad swathe of DNN, from code contributions to providing assistance. You are a great example of a Dnn-er for others to follow.
Bruce Chapman Thursday, February 19, 2015 6:14 AM (link)
Brian Dukes
Thanks, Bruce, I appreciate that, especially from you :-)
Brian Dukes Thursday, February 19, 2015 1:56 PM (link)
Dennis Shiao
No questions from me either, Brian, but thanks for all of your contributions. And, best wishes with your adoption!
Dennis Shiao Thursday, February 19, 2015 3:58 PM (link)
Sunil Kumar
Congratulation for your achievements :)
Sunil Kumar Friday, June 12, 2015 3:09 AM (link)

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