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DNN – The Platform Year in Review 2018

It is not an understatement to say that 2018 has been the most exciting year so far for the DNN Platform. But much of the excitement and work is going on behind the scenes, so most of you might not be aware of it. Think of it like a city setting out to build a subway – thousands of man-hours are being invested, but all of the action is taking place out of sight.

Let’s give you a peek under the hood to see what’s been going on this year.

The Community Takes Charge

When DNN Software – the company – was acquired by ESW Capital fourteen months ago, it created a huge opportunity to reverse the way things were done. Previously, the business needs drove the progress of the platform as an open-source project. The new model has the community of users, developers, and related businesses supporting the open-source project which then serves the needs of the community and the core software business. This change is no small task and represents the biggest change for DNN in a decade.

And it’s working.

This year we formed the DNN Technology Advisory Group (TAG) to serve as an organizing body of community representatives to keep the project moving forward. This group has the full support of DNN Software/ESW and includes twenty-seven long-term DNN community members dedicated to the project’s success. This group meets each week and we post our meeting minutes here on the DNN Community Blog so that everyone can follow along with the progress.

Here are some highlights of what we’ve done so far this year.

DNN Project Management

One of our first tasks was to complete the transition of software project management to the community. This includes managing all pull requests, building Release Candidate and Production Releases ., and pushing those releases out to the community. To facilitate this, we’ve developed a set of transparent standards for community contributions to facilitate and encourage contributions and established a set of community reviewers for all requests. We also needed to create a new build and release process from scratch.

Since these new processes and guidelines have been established, we’ve processed more than 350 pull requests for the project and completed two software production releases – DNN versions 9.2.1 and 9.2.2. The latter was produced entirely on .NET Foundation provided community resources.

To manage and coordinate all this effort requires the latest modern tools. So, the project is now managed through Azure DevOps allowing us to use continuous integration best practices. And Oliver Hine deserves special recognition for taking point in getting that set up.

Preparing for Growth


For all of us, security of the code, platform, and data is a top priority shared by a majority of the community. That means security concerns, questions, and pull requests get moved to the top of the list and we’ve worked to expand the existing Security Team to represent those concerns and review them as soon as possible. The Security team now has a community representative – Mitch Sellers – and includes DNN Software/ESW representatives. You can reach out to the DNN Security Team directly using the existing dedicated email address.

Updating and Modernizing Libraries and Resources

We all recognize that the libraries, development resources, and documentation need to be modernized and updated. This is a large task requiring more than five hundred man-hours of work and is already under way.

Development Roadmap and .NET Core

All of us in TAG believe that DNN would benefit greatly if the project were migrated to the .Net Core development platform. That will be no small undertaking. So, a few months ago we developed a roadmap of steps to get that done – a critical path for development. With that done, we have opened up discussions with Microsoft. They have a vested interest in the success of DNN, increased adoption of .NET Core, and a are investing heavily in open-source projects. This makes Microsoft ideal partners to help us take this objective to the next step.

You Can Be a Part of It All

We’ve come a long way over the last year, but there is a more work to do and there are a lot of ways you can help. For example, in addition to TAG there are three additional official advisory groups working together to advance the DNN opensource project – Awareness Advisory Group, Developer Advisory Group, and Partner Advisory Group. If you are a member of the DNN community these groups need your help either by joining the group or by contributing your time and effort. And if you are a developer working on the DNN platform, you can submit pull requests to make the code even better.

Looking Forward to 2019

It’s an exciting time to be involved in DNN. Remember that there are two DNN events already scheduled for 2019 – one in the US and the other in Europe. DNN Summit takes place February 19th through 23rd in Denver, Colorado, with workshops, training, and plenty of informative sessions. You can get all the information on the DNN Summit website. And just announced for June 6th through 9th, DNN Connect will take place in Champery, Switzerland. More information and announcements will be coming soon and you can get the details here.

Both of these events are great opportunities to meet other developers and community members and learn how you can be a part of the project. Not only can you learn more about DNN, but you can meet some of the most dedicated open source developers you’ll ever meet and hear first-hand about the tasks and projects we’re all working on together.

We’ve come a long way, but we’re nowhere near done. I know the brightest days lie ahead of us and soon you’ll be able to reap the benefits of all of the behind the scenes work that is currently going on. I can’t wait to write the next chapter of DNN together with you!

Thanks for reading!


David Poindexter
Great year in review Mitchel. Proud to be working with you all!
David Poindexter Saturday, December 15, 2018 3:40 PM (link)
Daniel Valadas
I agree that 2018 was an awesome year for Dnn, it feels really good to feel useful again. We have an awesome community of highly motivated individuals and I am excited to continue collaborating with all of you for 2019.
Daniel Valadas Saturday, December 15, 2018 11:09 PM (link)
Tony Henrich
Thanks for the post. I have preferred if you have explained in more detail about the move to .NET core. What has been done so far in this field? The section only mentioned some talks with Microsoft and a roadmap. Some explanation about the outcome of these talks would be beneficial. After reading that section, I still have no idea what is happening about the move to .NET Core other than agreeing in the interest in .Net core. Any tangible results?
Tony Henrich Sunday, December 16, 2018 8:21 AM (link)
Mitchel Sellers
Tony, I blogged about .NET Core in detail about a month ago here
Mitchel Sellers Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:06 AM (link)
Ernst Peter Tamminga
Great end-of-the-year look back and look forward. I really enjoyed the new spirit of the DNN Community and I am happy to be a member of it.
It cannot be said enough how we are thankfull for the effort that so many individuals put into the product.
Ernst Peter Tamminga Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:22 AM (link)
Will Strohl
This is a wonderful summary of what has indeed been the most fruitful and positive year for DNN, ever. Thank you to everyone who has been chipping in and getting their hands "dirty" over the past year. You are all amazing! :)
Will Strohl Sunday, December 16, 2018 12:45 PM (link)
Mike Smeltzer
Great high-level review of the progress that has been made during 2018 - I'm excited and proud to be part of this community. Thank you to everyone who is helping to progress the DNN Platform not only through code contributions but also through the much-needed ancillary efforts being made across the ecosystem.
Mike Smeltzer Friday, December 21, 2018 6:22 AM (link)

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