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Restoring Your Missing DotNetNuke 6 Control Panel

DotNetNuke Control Panel Expanded

I was one of many, many people that opted to begin implementing the Advanced Control panel into my websites, offered by Oliver Hine.  And why not?  It was and continues to be a great alternative to the built-in control panel that is found in DotNetNuke.  This true for me until version 6.0 of DNN was released.

If you are not aware, my day job at DNN Corporation involves me having my hands dirty in DotNetNuke all day long.  Whether I am building a custom demo, working on a webinar, testing bugs, building an extension, working on my hobby or client sites, or trying out 3rd party extensions, I am touching DNN all day long.  As such, I have been one of the lucky few people in the world that has been using the new control panel that ships with DNN for a while now, even before the official release.  It’s also been around 2 years or so since I’ve been using the free control panel offered by Oliver Hine.

DotNetNuke 6.0 has clearly been receiving a ton of attention from the community, ecosystem, and reporters world-wide for its new and improved user interface.  It would be impossible not to see that the new UI saves you time and effort out of the box.  In fact, I love showing DNN “newbies” how DNN does this.  It’s amazing to see and hear their day get brighter.  It’s truly an infectious feeling.  You know, the whole, “enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm” thing…

Switching Control Panels

After using DNN 6.0 for several months now, I have decided that the built-in control panel finally meets my standards and expectations for what users of my sites would expect, and what I want in a control panel.  As it turns out, this is something that several of our customers have decided to do as well.

Could there be more to the default control panel?  Sure.  In fact, like the rest of the DNN platform, there are planned updates to make it better than ever in future releases.  I‘ll leave someone else to blog about that later, or you might just be surprised with some delicious control panel goodness in another release.

Uninstalling the Advanced Control Panel

On my personal blog site, I decided to uninstall the Advanced Control panel.  I immediately saw something that I don’t ever want to see again…  The old control panel from DNN 4.x was there on the next page load!!!  [Insert danger music here.]

Old-Style DotNetNuke Control Panel

Don’t worry…  Your control panel hasn’t been deleted.  There is just a very minor database hiccup that occurs when uninstalling the previous control panel.

What Happened?

Let’s give you some background on why this happened, and then I will give you the fix.  (Hopefully, Oliver will include this fix in his uninstall routine as well.)

When Oliver first build this control panel, the default control panel looked like the screen shot you see above.  Not very pretty or usable, I know.  Oliver set it upon himself to rectify this user experience and released a very well-received and free option, available from his website.  At the time, this wasn’t a big deal, because there weren’t really any other people releasing control panel alternatives publicly. 

In the DNN 5.x series of releases, DNN Corp added a newer and more useful control panel to Professional Edition (PE) customers only (in comparison to the one show above).  Soon thereafter, this control panel was back-ported to the Community Edition (CE) of DNN.  While this decision and addition to CE was well-received at the time, there was a problem with how it was rolled out.

Unfortunately, the installation method used to install the PE control panel used the exact same naming convention as Oliver Hine’s Advanced Control panel.  I think we can all agree that this situation sucked, and we hope that it never happens again.

Looking at the installation scripts in the Advanced Control Panel, Oliver did a great job of renaming the control panel to no longer be in conflict with the “core” control panel, even though it wasn’t his fault.  However, there was a tiny detail missing from that update. 

The default control panel information was never restored to the right place in the database.  If you want to use the new control panel in DNN 6.0, it’s very easy to fix.

Restoring the Default DNN Control Panel

There is a single line of SQL code that needs to be executed on your website to re-enable the default control panel.  Then, you simply restart your website application pool, and the DNN 6.0 control panel will magically appear!

Use the Host menu > SQL page to execute the script below.

INSERT INTO {databaseOwner}[{objectQualifier}ModuleControls] ([ControlKey],[ControlSrc],[ControlType],[SupportsPartialRendering])
VALUES (N'CONTROLPANEL:RIBBONBAR',N'Admin/ControlPanel/RibbonBar.ascx',-3,0);

The script above will add the original RIBBONBAR entry to the selectable list of control panel options in your Host Settings.

Next, restart the website application pool to completely clear out and reload the cache on your website.  This can also be done in the Host menu > Host Settings page.  (This is even easier to do in the new default control panel, once it’s in place.)

Next, you need to select the RIBBONBAR control panel in your Host Settings as shown in the image below.

DotNetNuke: Select RIBBONBAR Control Panel

Click “Update” at the bottom of the Host Settings to save your change, and apply your control panel on the very next page load.

That’s all there is to it.  Enjoy the new control panel!  :)

This blog entry is cross-posted from my personal blog site.


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