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DNN neXt: notes from the DNN Steering Committee

DNN Steering Committee

DN Steering committee and workign groupsLast Friday, we (Joe Brinkman, Bob Kruger, Will Morgenweck, Peter Donker and myself, Ernst Peter Tamminga) had the first meeting of the DNN Steering Committee. This committee will provide guidance for the DNN community and DNN Platform. The formation of the steering committee is the result of the reorganisation of the community approach of DNN in August of this year. If you want to get some of the details behind this new attitude, I suggest to read the blog written by Joe Brinkman, which you can find here.

This first meeting was primarily used to discuss and set the items and activities for the committee for the upcoming year. Since we want to be open and transparant, I want to provide some feedback on the things we have been talking about: MVP program and DNN Platform roadmap.

MVP Program

The DNN MVP (Most Valuable Person) is in place for almost 2 years. Time to evaluate. The current program serves a purpose: setting the spotlight on individuals who made themselves valuable for DNN, the community, support, evangelism, training, presentations, introductions and more. MVP's are nominated by the community and choosen by the community. You can earn a MVP status for a year, based upon the contributions in the year before that. 

The MVP program worked for the last 2 years, but we concluded that the group of curernt MVP's functions as a sort of core team and that was not the intention for having MVP's. We also evaluated that the refresh rate (new people, new potential MVP's) could profit from a different (more open) setup and procedure. While we have not finalized this in the first meeting, we aim to have a modified MVP program in place at the end of this year.

DNN Platform is ready for a renovation?

I regularly read books from managent guru's and one of them is Peter Drucker. In the last century, he contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. One of his key ideas is planned abandonment, to counteract the tendency for people to cling to yesterdays success. This idea can be put in a one sentence advise;  “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.

In the past years, DNN Platform has been enhanced tremendously. If you want to get an idea, just take some time to review the changes since DNN version 5 in 2010 and the current version 7: it is a big difference. That does not mean that nothing is left to be improved. Some of the technology used is based on the basic technology of 2004-2005, especially webforms. Although a form of MVC type development has been implemented in DNN, as well as the more modern webAPI, the basics are still proven webforms. In addition to this, DNN has been very, very strong for the possibility to upgrade to new versions (and I assume DNN will do so in the future). But this upgradability is a burden for serious and drastic innovation at the same time.

The world is changing, and Microsoft technology is evolving as well. Time for DNN Platform to do again a step into the forefront of information technology. This is not completely new for DNN. In the past year, investigations by DNN have been started into the next generation of DNN, e.g. see blogs written by the head of the Architecture team Charles Nurse: Using MVC for developing modules and Maverick Update among others.

These investigations do not mean that the improvement current version of DNN will stop, in the contrary. You can be sure that DNN Platform will be enhanced with serious incremental releases in the upcoming months (version 7.4, 7.5 and even more). This is clearly illustrated by the roadmap for DNN Platform that can be found here. But at some point in the next year, a serious new version of DNN will become available.

DNN neXt

We have choosen DNN neXt as a working title for the next generation of DNN. Parallel with new releases of DNN 7, we (and we include all of you as well) will start working on DNN neXt: cutting edge IT for web content management and web application framework. The details are still to be defined, but I am very positive that we will set a standard for the most innovative and productive open source CMS around.

Stay tuned, or better: stay connected and contribute!


Jaydeep Bhatt
I have developed an Application, using which a complete DotNetNuke Module can be developed. It reads the MS SQL table and creates a fully working DNN Modules in seconds :)

Can we discuss about it, to include it in DNN neXt?
Jaydeep Bhatt Tuesday, September 23, 2014 2:00 PM (link)
cathal connolly
@Jaydeep - the best route to getting something added is to publish it as a Forge project. That way if people find it useful they'll suggest (or ideally fix) bugs and enhancements, and then if it was to be added to DNN it would be in good shape (Note: in general we are trying to minimize application "bloat" so installable modules are preferred to adding additional code to the platform)
cathal connolly Tuesday, September 23, 2014 3:08 PM (link)
Lucas Jans
I am excited about these changes, specifically the planned abandonment. Some features in DNN have been around for ages. Legacy and compatibility are great, but hanging on for too long makes the software confusing or difficult to use. Specifically, I am thinking of Banner, Splash page, Paypal and billing integration. I've never met anyone who uses these features. I'm sure they are out there, but it seems like it should be a plugin and not part of the core framework. I'm interested in hearing which things the group is looking to abandon. Lightweight, less code = easier to maintain and faster to iterate.
Lucas Jans Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:41 PM (link)
Lucas Jans
Things I am thinking of..

* Site Log - everyone uses Google Analytics or an alternative
* Link Click tracking. Ugh, breaks SEO. G/A can do this anyway.
* Body Background. Don't people do this with their skins now? Separation of concerns!
* Skin Widgets. Isn't this a proprietary IE format?
* Splash Page
* Vendors. What is this even? I'm sure it's not used by 99% of installs.
* Pages Settings > Refresh Interval. Is it really necessary to have this setting when it's rarely used? Should be an extensible thing.

OK. It's easy to complain. I'm sure many of these things were good ideas at the time. But if something is used 1/1000 times, maybe it should be dropped from the core and built as an extension.
Lucas Jans Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:49 PM (link)
Ernst Peter Tamminga
@Lucas Jans: thank you for your suggestions, I recognize the legacy 'features' you mention. One of the ideas is to completely strip the platform from all modules, even the admin modules and offer a selective installation of components that are going to be used. Your comments support this idea.
Ernst Peter Tamminga Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:50 PM (link)
Daniel Mettler
@Lucas and @Ernst-Peter
I would also welcome such changes. Many things - incl. widgets - are 99% not in use, but cause problems in 10% of the projects and affect performance in 100% + hurt developer time as well. would require some very easy way to activate all desired features within seconds - otherwise the solution becomes so empty that newcomers will have a hard time.
Love from Switzerland,
Daniel Mettler Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:35 PM (link)
Charles Nurse
I will be posting more on the MVC part - as aprt of project Maverick. This announcement of DNN neXt measn that the research done as part of project MaVeriCK will now become formalised as part of the future vision.
Charles Nurse Wednesday, September 24, 2014 5:36 PM (link)
Rodney Joyce
Excellent news - I hope their is a solid migration plan from DNN to Maverick (ie. I used to be on DNN 3 and then I had to scrap my site completely to move to DNN7 to get rid of all the accumulated redundant stuff that had built up over the years...).
Rodney Joyce Monday, September 29, 2014 9:37 PM (link)

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