On November 16th, 2017 Will Morgenweck announced that DNN had joined the .NET Foundation. This announcement was big news and many in the DNN Community were excited about it, but some didn’t understand what it meant or the benefits the community would see as a result of this. Over the past year I’ve been asked about the .NET Foundation several times. Community members want to know what being a member of the .NET Foundation means and what benefits we reap. In this blog I’m going to outline 5 reasons why we’re glad to be a part of the .NET Foundation.
1: CLA Management
Any open source project consists of contributors, that is people who submit code to the project. When contributors donate code they need to sign a “Contributor License Agreement”. The Contributor License Agreement or “CLA” as it is commonly referred to ensures that the individual is donating the code as open source with no strings attached. This protects open source projects from any legal issues in the future.
In the past the process for getting CLA’s signed was very tedious. There were several emails, signatures, and notifications that had to take place and it was a very manual and time consuming process. The good news is that the .Net Foundation provides automated CLA management to it’s projects for free. Implementing this really streamlined the process for us and makes us way more efficient. If you want to know all the details check out the blog post “A New CLA Process for DNN”. There is no doubt that our project maintainers and contributors are glad to have this functionality implemented!
2: Automated Build Processes Through VSTS/Azure DevOps
Another great benefit we get from the .NET Foundation is the ability to use Visual Studio Team Services, which was recently rebranded as Azure DevOps.If you’re not up-to-date on this type of development its all about “CI/CD” (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) and automation focusing on the processes that take the code base and turn it into a release. A lot of steps and systems are involved in this and they have now been automated through Azure DevOps/VSTS which makes everyone’s lives easier.
Implementing the CI/CD and automation makes us much more efficient. A contributor can now make a pull request and that pull request can result in an automated build which tells us whether the build passes or fails. This is very different than how things have been done in the past and it’s a major step forward for the DNN Community.
The upcoming 9.2.2 release will be the first release to leverage these automated processes. The team at the .NET Foundation has been very responsive and supportive as we’ve worked through the setup and configuration of Azure DevOps/VSTS for the DNN project. Here again the DNN Community is benefitting by breaking ground into the land of automation and DevOps. Now our project maintainers can more easily create builds and contributors have more visibility into the viability of their pull requests.
3: Paid Meetup Accounts for User Groups
The DNN platform is fortunate to be large enough to have user groups in our ecosystem. User Groups are organized and run by passionate community members and the meetings help further evangelize our project and ecosystem. The .NET Foundation offers paid MeetUp Pro accounts to user groups for free to the projects in the foundation!
If you are a user group leader then you easily recognize the benefit of this! This day in time user groups essentially have to be on MeetUp.com to get exposure and provide members with the experience they have come to expect. As a user group leader the cost of MeetUp.com is a recurring expense that someone has to pay. It’s a cost that is just another item that a user group leader has to account for and manage. With the .NET Foundation offering paid accounts this is instant cost savings for group leaders. Since the .NET Foundation aggregates all of the meetups of their projects on their page it also gives you greater exposure to .NET developers.
Beyond the financial benefit it signals that not only does the .NET Foundation want to help you but that they also understand you and the challenges you face as a user group leader. This is one of those small things that goes a long way. I know that there are multiple user groups in the DNN ecosystem leveraging these paid MeetUp Pro accounts.
4: Increased Reach to .NET Developers
If you have an open source .NET project then getting users and contributors for your project is likely important. The .NET Foundation gives you channels to directly reach the people with whom you want to connect. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the paid MeetUp Pro account site lists all the .NET User Group meetings so anyone looking for .NET Meetups will see your listing on the main page.
Beyond the Meetup.com listing there are monthly e-newsletters where open source project leaders can contribute updates and content. The .NET Foundation team sends out emails to project leaders in advance seeking current info and featured updates about your project. We typically provide content when we have releases or news that we feel is important to our audience. Relevant content and updates from all projects are featured in the newsletter which is sent to your target market. Want to get more visibility into your project… provide updates to the monthly newsletter.
5: Swag to Contributors & User Groups
Open source project maintainers, users, and contributors love swag! The .NET Foundation understands this and just when you least expect it a package full of .NET goodness will arrive at your doorstep for you and your prominent community members and contributors. Talk about making contributors feel special… these small tokens of appreciation go a long way for fueling passion in the open source world.
Recently Aderson Oliveira, who runs the Toronto area DNN User Group, also received some swag from the .NET Foundation. I know this because he flaunted it during one of his user group meetings. Aderson showed his paid MeetUp Pro account, wore his .NET Foundation shirt, and showed his latest edition of CODE magazine! You could feel the energy coming from Aderson after having received his .NET Foundation swag.
I know that as a user group we, the Charlotte area DNN User Group “Southern Fried DNN”, have received swag from the .NET Foundation in the form of CODE Magazines, T-Shirts, stickers, and more. Here’s a tweet from Ryan Moore when we first received the swag.
Thanks to the .NET Foundation for being Awesome!
It’s easy to see that the .NET Foundation is serious about fostering and facilitating open source in the Microsoft ecosystem. And these are just 5 benefits that easily come to mind, they offer even more resources to OSS projects. We are very happy to have been accepted into the foundation and we continue to send thanks and give shouts to the .NET Foundation whenever possible. If you have a .NET Open Source project, you should definitely consider joining the .NET Foundation.