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HomeHomeDNN Open Source...DNN Open Source...Using the ForgeUsing the ForgeCall for Suggestions for Improving the DotNetNuke ForgeCall for Suggestions for Improving the DotNetNuke Forge
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2/23/2010 10:08 AM
 

My take on things, as a consumer - not (yet) a module developer. Although SnowCovered and Forge have different intents (though confusing for newbies), it is helpful to contrast them.

SnowCovered is fairly easy to find classes of modules and skins, and the copy is obviously written to explain/sell the module - which I appreciate. But once one is looking at a given module, the page tends to link away to another site or be a couple feet tall, so I don't like this aspect of SnowCovered - or the super olde design/graphics.

Forge is bad for searching and contrasting classes of modules currently, so I would love to see that improved. However once you are looking at one module, I appreciate Forge's standard page structure and find it easier to interact, download, and much more. My biggest complaint of the Forge projects I've seen is that few have a good introduction and typically assume you know what the project is about. Many do not have screenshots or a list of features, much less a basic introduction describing what the heck it is used for. Thus I would actually advocate a bit more of a 'marketing oriented' home page.

I look forward to seeing progress on this in the coming months!

 
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3/5/2010 4:20 PM
 

After releasing a new version of NB_Store, I find it difficult to announce this to the DNN community.  I've made the normal annoucment on the forum, but I can't help but feel my post has been lost in the multitude of posts that exist on the forum.

Maybe some kind of annoucment/news system would help this situation.

Regards,

Dave.

 
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4/15/2013 11:15 AM
 
Hello DNN Forge Community!

One thing that stuck with me after the Southern Fried DNN event this weekend was the talk about the Forge. I don’t know how many of you were there that participate specifically within the Forge, but you should know that the Forge talked about a good bit!

There were a couple of good mentions at sessions and presentations, and then at the DNN After Dark party that evening, I found myself talking with a couple of different people that solidified some ideas here that I’d like to talk about here.

One thing that I was thinking about was that I’ll wager that many people don’t know about other modules that aren't in Snowcovered / store.dotnetnuke.com.

In the past, at the point when snowcoverd was separate, it was listing free modules and paid modules… anything that people wanted to sign up and post.

Same thing on the Forge, it was a location that people could create an account and post modules there.

But, I'll put forward the idea that many basic DNN admin either don't know about the Forge, or don't understand about the modules that can be found here.

I can remember early on when I was first introduced to DNN (version 3 was brand new), I was on my own, learning about DNN and the community and about the modules that were around. I remember googling and using a few sites that had lists of “free modules for DotNetNuke” and others that had good write-ups on the modules that were out there that had been tested and reviewed. I knew instantly about the snowcovered location and looked through all the modules there both paid and free when we needed something.

Later, after finding and spending much time in snowcovered, I found the Forge and realized, “OH, there’s another place for modules!” SO I went through the different categories and, at that time, in general, found really bad modules that were rough around the edges or not instantly ready for me to use on a corporate client website.

I checked back there over the years, did pickup a control panel alternative, and maybe a couple of other modules, but basically, because I felt that stuff wasn’t up to par there (or didn’t look like it was up to par at first testing), I wrote it off and really, I never went back.

Early 2012 I went back again and spent a little time there reviewing and testing some things, some looked really good like Mitch Sellers’ new secure password recovery, I was really excited about that one.

But that’s the back story, the main point is to describe that while I was heavily involved with DNN integration projects, using paid and free modules and developing our own for use, and with all of that, my interaction with the Forge fell into two different categories. Either
(1) I was completely unaware of it’s existence and had no connection point where I was introduced to the modules there
or
(2) I had checked it out and was dissolutioned by the clutter of what was presented, and/or the quality of what I found early on and never gave it another chance (really a 3rd or 4th chance)


Here’s the list of Ideas that I’d like to ask questions about and have DNN Corp and the DNN Community discuss that focus on promoting items in the Forge more and about making the introduction points to Forge related items more present to the community:

1. Now that store.dotnetnuke.com is under the DNN umbrella, why does it have one look and the Forge has a completely different look? The organization and searching and listing layouts and functionality presented are all different. Why not move to unify the elements that can benefit from improvement and uniformity between the two?

That would certainly help the end users and make for a more consistent interface and experience.

For that matter, the store could benefit from some things in the forge like listing About and Team type tabs. This could be a whole topic of discussion on it’s own.

In this thread, I read people’s ideas about improving the Forge, and I agree, it looks better now than it ever has, but is it done? These were discussions in 2010 and there’s still plenty of improvement to make… much of which are items that are already present in the DNN Store that could shared. I’m not saying that they should be exactly the same, but to help the end user, they should be more consistent.

2. How about making Forge items more visible within the DNN Store? For example, when you search for an item in the store, such as SignalR which doesn’t have a module in the store, you could now have an mention in the “no search results found” message to the effect of “but why not search in the Forge? There are X number of results for “SignalR” in the Forge

3. Or, how about just listing Forge items along side of Store items in the same location? I think that general DNN administrators are confused about the differences… to them, what’s the difference between a module they’re looking for that’s free or cheap… to them, they just need a module, and going two different places is something that they won’t think to do, or are confused by doing. Why not make It a system feature to allow Forge modules, with the click of a button, to be listed as free items within the DNN Store site?

4. Back within DNN itself, how about integration into the Extensions section of your DNN instance just like the items found on the DNN Store?

Although it looks bad (too much stuff crammed into a tiny area so that even good modules don’t present themselves well enough for someone to learn about them without going to the full store site to review them… but that’s a different open letter I should post), why are DNN Store modules the only ones listed within the MORE EXTENSIONS tab integration?

Perhaps not all Forge modules would want to be listed, perhaps it would become a checkbox to set whether your Forge item would be present there, but the main point is that IF we are imagining that some DNN users are unaware of Forge modules, that is one place within DNN that is intended to help make it easier for people to find modules/extensions. During his keynote, Will Strohl even mentioned that it was one of his favorite things to show people and, “see their eyes light up” when he showed them how they could install new extensions from inside DNN. That’s great! But if we want the Forge to be out there too, how about including it there?

5. And finally, on an email front, the extension forge is mentioned in the DNN Community email that goes out, [email protected], (and forgive me if it exists and I just haven’t seen it), but is there a similar email that goes out for the newest releases and updates from the Forge? Thinking of getting the message out there, I have several points where I’m encouraged to go back and check out new releases from DNN paid Modules that I get from the store, but I've never seen something similar going out about Forge releases.

There, that’s it for my post… an open letter to the DNN community and to the Forge participating developers, my thoughts on things that we could do to help promote the Forge more to the community at large.

Thanks to everyone who reads and participates in discussions & responses

- Ryan
 
New Post
4/15/2013 12:26 PM
 
Ryan,

I like all of your suggestions. I too find that it seems harder than it should be to promote modules in the forge. I enjoy working on open source projects for DNN, but it's very frustrating when you put a lot of work only but only get a few downloads.

These would be good steps towards help getting the word out about open source modules available to the community and perhaps help motivate developers to keep contributing.

The other think that I think the forge would benefit from is some way to help recruit developers/designers to projects. I don't have any ideas off the top of my head on how to make that happen, but I know there are a lot of projects that would benefit from some additional volunteers.

-JB

 
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4/15/2013 12:46 PM
 

First, the extension feed within DNN does include both Forge and Store extensions.

Secondly, I had a long chat with Scott Willhite about Forge and Store, and it's definitely intentional that the two are separate; the Store, with its Help Desk and other stuff is too high of a hurdle for many folks who just want to put an OSS extension out into the world.  The Forge is intended to be much easier to get started with.

But I do like the idea of the store search results including Forge modules; it seems like having a combined feed from two sources works well to give extensions owners their choice in how they present their extension, while still allowing consumers of extensions to find what they need.


Brian Dukes
Engage Software
St. Louis, MO
866-907-4002
DNN partner specializing in custom, enterprise DNN development.
 
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