The DotNetNuke® Forge was intended to be the premier destination for open source collaboration on the DotNetNuke platform. DotNetNuke Corp. uses Microsoft CodePlex® to provide access to a world-class infrastructure for managing open source projects. CodePlex offers advanced tools including a robust source code repository based on Microsoft Team Foundation Server, issue tracking, discussion forums, project wiki, project team management, and free hosting services for project downloads. As Shaun Walker said in his announcement of the Forge in February, 2008, the Forge should be “the destination for developers and designers to manage and distribute their work; systems integrators to find new extensions; and users to see what exciting new functionality is available within the ecosystem.”
In many respects, the partnership between DotNetNuke and CodePlex has met many of those expectations. As of the date of this post, there are some 81 modules, skins and other extensions freely-available through the Forge. However, of these 34 are “core” DotNetNuke projects leaving only 47 “non-core” projects.
A recent search of CodePlex projects by the tags “DotNetNuke” and “DNN” turned up 61 projects that their coordinators created directly in CodePlex but never linked to DotNetNuke through the Forge, thus reducing their exposure to the greater DotNetNuke community. As a member of the DotNetNuke Forge Community Team, I will be contacting the coordinators of each of those projects to invite them to have their DotNetNuke related project linked to the Forge. In doing so, I will also be asking them why they did not seek the greater exposure that a listing in the Forge can provide. Did they have problems with initially creating the project listing in the Forge? Did they create the project listing in the Forge but was there some error in the process that prevented the semi-automatic linkage from taking place? Did they feel that exposure of the project in the Forge would not be of benefit? A wide variety of other open source DotNetNuke extensions are also being offered on individual developer websites. Why are these not listed in the Forge?
The Forge Team has also been charged with the task of developing an improved Forge that would aim to increase usage and usability of the Forge in some or all of the following areas:
Extended Project Information (Metadata) – Enable More Informed Extension Selection
- Type of Extension – Module, Skin, Skin Object, Language Pack, Provider, Other
- Area of Application – for example: social networking site, church management, e-commerce
- Version Number of most recent release
- Minimum and/or recommended DotNetNuke framework version
- Name and contact information of project coordinator
- News/Announcements from the project coordinator
- Screen shots, links to demo site
Peer Participation – “best” extensions gain greater exposure, “problem” extensions avoided
- Voting/Rating and download count segregated by type of extension, area of application
- Recommended/Not-Recommended Award
Discoverability – Make It Easier To Find Extensions
- Extensions catalogued by type of extension, area of application, project developer, other tags – multi-field searching
- Rotator panels of featured extensions –
- Newly released or updated this day/week/month
- What’s “hot” this day/week/month
- Community Team Favorites – Showcased Extension of the Week
- Top Downloads/Top Rated this day/week/month/all time
- Web service/API to permit discoverability of extensions from Host-->Extensions page of DNN site
Please note that none of the above improvements have yet been sanctioned by DotNetNuke Corporation nor have begun to be implemented. Now is the time for YOU to offer your comments on the above enhancements and suggestions of what the ideal Forge could offer to both developers and consumers of open source DotNetNuke extensions. Please add your thoughts as posts to this forum thread.