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3 Months After the Acquisition – My Views on Rejuvenating the Community

Time flies… It’s been just under 3 months since we announced the acquisition of DNN Corp – but certainly feels like yesterday. In this time – I’ve had the great pleasure to meet an amazing array of passionate community members from all over the world. I feel honored to be a small part of this incredible group of people.

If I had one word to summarize the feedback from these discussions – it would be ‘concern’. If I had a second word – it would be ‘skeptical’. And with the strained history between DNN Corp and the community – I believe both of these words are spot on. We are going to fix this.

The strength and sustainability of any open source project lies within the community that forms around it. DNN is no different. And though this may sound overly direct - DNN Corp’s neglect towards the community has caused amazing individuals, partners and supporters to leave in droves – causing the community to dwindle considerably. A look at any metric related to DNN’s health over the last decade shows consistent negative decline. Low number of Google searches for terms related to DNN, vendors leaving the ecosystem, fewer open source extensions available, user groups not as active and low OSS contributions are just a few examples of these unhealthy metrics.

Scrren capture of Google search trends for the term 'DotNetNuke' since 2004

However, hidden in the metrics is the message of opportunity. It only takes a few meetings with community members to see the incredible underlying passion for the DNN platform. To see the insatiable desire to continue the innovation on top of an already robust offering. These are folks that continue to see the platform as the amazing ecosystem that it is. And despite the declines - the community is still very large. Together – we can turn this around.

Change is Upon Us
From the DNN Corp side – you have seen and will continue to see dramatic changes. This starts with us being open, transparent and direct. We’ve taken the first steps here through our open dialogue in community meet-ups from day 1, our immediate review of all 66 community pull requests (some have been sitting there for years), publishing of our open source testing tool, hiring of a key community member (Clint Patterson) to increase our openness, pulling together many of the former Core and MVP members to regularly brainstorm, joining the .Net Foundation and the rolling out of our support packages for the open source platform – just to name a few.

No longer will you see ‘DNN Corp vs the community’ – but rather a perspective that WE ARE ONE IN THE SAME. We’re all on the same boat together – and it’s all of our responsibilities to revitalize it. And on that note – we are seeking volunteers for a new initiative called the Ecosystem Advisory Groups.

Ecosystem Advisory Groups
Several times over the last 3 months – Shaun Walker and I have met with other key community leaders to set a strategy to revitalize the community. In those discussions – we outlined a framework to build upon the success of the DNN platform and return to growth.

Ecosystems, of course, are made up of multiple connected parts that all work together to thrive. Our ecosystem is made up of passionate people who all represent multiple sides of the community and who all have varying objectives, needs, perspectives, and motivations. To create a shared path forward that will help us to not only grow, but to thrive - there are 4 key areas where we all need to partner together to make his happen:

  1. Technology strategy: Ensure the underlying technology platform has a roadmap to remove technical debt and be leading edge
  2. Developers strategy: Ensure new developers are continually coming into the ecosystem, are excited to develop on top of the DNN platform and have a robust store marketplace to monetize their apps
  3. Partner ecosystem strategy: Dramatically increase the communication and quantity of partners – from resellers to integrators to ISVs to hosting providers and beyond.
  4. Awareness strategy: Drive increases in the DNN platform awareness amongst the CMS and broader platform ecosystem.

DNN Ecosystem

Technology Advisory Group:
Technology changes rapidly. To reach developers and create lasting partnerships, the technology stack must be modern and relevant. With the right technology in place, awareness becomes easier. The technology group will ensure that DNN’s underlying structure is built on a solid foundation.

This group will have open discussions and form strategy for the underlying DNN technology stack. Subjects of conversation will be the path to .NET Core v2, integrated JS libraries, environmental requirements, the possibility of distributions, and more. The goal of this group is to future proof DNN as best possible so that the overall ecosystem can thrive for years to come – then execute on the code development to make the roadmap reality.

The Technology Advisory Group will be led by DNN’s original creator, Shaun Walker. We are excited to welcome Shaun back to the DNN community and look forward to a continued partnership with him.

Developers Advisory Group:
Developers are crucial to the future of the DNN Ecosystem. New streams of developers entering our ecosystem create new innovations and offerings for our customers. We need developers that understand and use the technology to grow our ecosystem offerings. And by “developers” we mean the front end, back end, and everything in between. Do you open an IDE or even a simple text editor and write any form of code? If so, this group may be for you.

Through this advisory group we want to learn from and better understand the developers in our ecosystem. This will help us best accommodate and reach other developers. What is the popular tooling of the day? What frameworks should be leveraged? What do you expect from the platform's API? These questions are the questions we will seek to answer and act on as well as create a robust storefront / app store where developers can monetize their offerings.

The Developers Advisory Group will be led by Peter Donker.

Partners Advisory Group:
Partner organizations are critical to the health of the ecosystem. The general areas of partnerships are implementation, hosting, supporting, and vendors. Moving forward it’s important that strong partnerships exist throughout the ecosystem. And those partnerships exist not just with DNN, but across the ecosystem with other partners as well. We are all partners together.

Goals for this group would be creating win/win scenarios for all partner organizations, understanding our partner organizations, and learning how we can best support and help each other succeed. Join this group to shape what the future of DNN partnerships look like.

The Partners Advisory Group will be led by David Poindexter.

Awareness Advisory Group:
Awareness is also critical for the growth of an ecosystem. DNN has a strong history of awareness – but we need to revitalize the efforts to pull in new customers, developers, partners, others. The awareness group will be involved with topics such as evangelism, training, onboarding, documentation, and anything related to spreading the word about DNN. We need passionate and motivated people in the awareness group as it’s very important for expanding reach, attracting new ecosystem members, and growing the ecosystem. The more ecosystem members we have, the more we all benefit.

Some of our goals for this group are helping revamp the onboarding process for, creating training content on, and other locations such as Pluralsight, Udemy, Udacity, Lynda and anywhere training takes places online. We’re also looking for creative ways to share DNN with developers, students, co-workers and more.

The Awareness Advisory Group will be led by Will Strohl.

EAG Purpose and Goals
These groups will start the conversation about the shared path forward for the community in each of these areas. Ultimately the conversations held in these groups will lead to action and those actions will help shape the ecosystem moving forward.

Our goal is to get all sides of the ecosystem rowing in the same direction with a shared vision for growing the ecosystem and seeing it thrive. We hope you’ll help shape the future of the DNN ecosystem with us!

How to Get Involved
Are you passionate about any of the areas listed above? If so, we want you to be involved. The only requirement for being in these groups is a willingness to contribute. If you would like to get involved all you have to do is send an email to ecosystem manager, Clint Patterson at and indicate which group(s) you would like to be involved with. Yes, you can be involved in more than one group! We will have meetings with these groups soon and I will reach out via email to schedule.

Change is upon us and we hope you will join us on the journey to shape the future of DNN.


Sebastian Leupold
Great news, there is really a need and I still see the chance for success.
I'd like to suggest two more groups: "User Experience" and "Internationalization/Localization" - which hardly fit into the four groups listed above.
Sebastian Leupold Thursday, November 16, 2017 2:26 PM (link)
Timo Breumelhof
Timo Breumelhof Thursday, November 16, 2017 3:05 PM (link)
Scippy One
Your words are grand but the reality is quite different.
Today, DNN is still moving in the opposite direction of what you say, an example of what I'm saying is in this discussion:
Scippy One Thursday, November 16, 2017 3:42 PM (link)
Will Strohl
This is a wonderful announcement. Thanks for your passion and commitment to helping the community grow and thrive again, Andy. This is a breath of fresh air that we've all been waiting for. I look forward to working and collaborating with others in the community to help grow the awareness of DNN.
Will Strohl Thursday, November 16, 2017 6:32 PM (link)
Chris Hammond
Great news Andy, keep up with the progress and the concern and skepticism will hopefully diminish!
Chris Hammond Thursday, November 16, 2017 8:13 PM (link)
Pete Goode
Where would a UX guy be best put to use?
Pete Goode Thursday, November 16, 2017 11:50 PM (link)
Michael Raouf
Great News.
Michael Raouf Friday, November 17, 2017 8:25 PM (link)
Winston Haybittle
Sounds good - I like inviting the community to join in the discussions & potential decision making of the platform and ecosystem.
Winston Haybittle Saturday, November 18, 2017 11:51 AM (link)
Daniel Rice
I second the need for more focus on Localization - the DNN localization was broken over 2 years ago and still has not been fixed which i think demonstrates the lack of interest in it from DNN Corp.
Daniel Rice Friday, December 1, 2017 10:57 AM (link)
Mark Buelsing
Great post Andy. As a committed user of DNN for years, it is exciting to hear your plans for rejuvenating the DNN community in all those aspects. I agree with Chris Hammond, the skeptics will have nothing to say after a measure of follow-through and success in community efforts. I second Sebastian's suggestion for a "User Experience" group. Sign me up for that.
Mark Buelsing Thursday, December 14, 2017 9:55 PM (link)
John M
As a new user considering DNN, this is very important to me in my decision making.
John M Tuesday, January 2, 2018 6:31 PM (link)
David Poindexter
Welcome to the DNN community John M!
David Poindexter Monday, January 22, 2018 4:44 PM (link)
Paul Coffman
Aloha from Hawaii,
I am happy to see there will be some progress towards changes within our community. As a dedicated user of DNN since 2004, I have still continue to suggest it as our primary CMS choice for developing websites, both big and small, to our various clients. While the release of DNN9 included some great improvements with memory usage and faster loading, there are still so many bugs that have been a growing concern for us, as many of these bugs are major problems and it has been very surprising and disconcerting they haven't been addressed with the new releases of DNN9+. We try to address these through the DNN Forums as often as possible, but the dwindling interest and lack of responses, as well as the simple fact that many of these bugs are HUGE problems that should have been addressed immediately .
As we all know, Wordpress makes up more than half the websites in the world, however we still believe that DNN is a superior platform and utilize it as much as we can. But it's getting more difficult with time to justify our continued belief and support of DNN when there's so many major issues that should be fixed immediately within DNN9+.
Some of these major issues (but not limited to).
1. Whenever you save an individual page's settings, it auto re-orders the pages and puts the page that we just changed the settings on at the bottom of the page order. This means we continuously have to re-organize all of the pages when we do something as simple as changing a page's permissions or a page's meta info.
2. Adding an existing module from an existing page instantly shoves all modules on the new page down into the same container, forcing us to take the time to have to re-organize all of the modules on the page again.
3. Removal of the Google Analytics integration. Why remove one of the most important factors of a website's visibility in the largest search engine in the world? This alone is a daily frustration.
I could keep going on these major bugs that are startlingly apparent since DNN9.00.01 was released yet we're now on DNN9.1+ and no relief from just these major issues.

The other concern is the dwindling vendors within the DNN community. As we are continually seeing a decline in the available number of Skins/Themes and Module developers, we are being forced to utilize other CMS's like Wordpress.

We plan to continue our usage of DNN as our primary CMS, but as a small business, this is getting more and more difficult when very apparent and large issues are not addressed, and the dwindling vendors of skins and modules on the makes it harder and harder to perform our work. There are so many opportunities being missed with the major integration of some of the largest social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, etc that are offered to many of the other major CMS's out there, but are lacking and diminishing in DNN.
I am excited to hear that there will be a focus on the needs of us, the end user of DNN which is primarily made up of small businesses who continue to try to support and promote the usage of DNN. We need the voices of the community like ourselves that need the system to work effectively in order to keep our lights on and feed our families to be heard.
The cost of the Evoq social media is outrageous. The bulk of the websites in the world that most of us are building have no choice but to offer Buddypress, a totally free WP Plugin with some great paid add-ons when compared to the annual price of EVOQ's base social media cost. The whole concept of creating an open-source program is that we work as a family together to create a great system that benefits the whole community, not just the developers. When we work together as a community, and focus on the needs and helping of each other, than we will succeed and grow together.
I'm excited, but like many, continuing to be more and more skeptical about the future of DNN as just these few issues I listed above are HUGE in their problems, yet are still not being addressed. Part of our "Sales Pitch" to potential new clients is the fact that DNNSoftware is a much easier, more stable and faster solution for our clients to use and learn when compared to the back-end of Wordpress, Shopify, Magento, etc. Yet again, we are now "caught with our pants down" because we preach the DNN Ease Of Use to new clients, but we're on our 4th or 5th release of DNN9 and still have the issue of changing the page settings auto-reorganizing the the pages. When we're working on a website that contains hundreds of top level and sub pages, it's a tremendous burden and literal waste of money to pay our employees to constantly have to re-organize the pages when we do something as update the meta title.
Again, we enjoy the ability to place an existing module on a new page so that the content updates across the website, however, doing so in DNN9 moves all of the modules down into the same pane, so we have to re-organize the modules across all of the panes again.
I realize I'm being repetitive and negative, but as a business who has continued to stay faithful to DNNSoftware despite these (and many other) issues as well as the dwindling lack of vendors and support from DNNSoftware itself, we're being forced out of a system we want to continue to use. Businesses like us are actually the primary supporter of the system, so I hope this new acquisition allows voices of the community and companies like us, who are truly the bread and butter of DNNSoftware are heard and attended to.
Welcome Andy. I apologize if my introduction was overly negative. We want very much to see DNNSoftware grow again and be the incredible CMS it has the capability of being, which is why we continue to utilize it as much as possible. We look forward to the opportunities for improvement and growth with your investment and involvement.
Paul Coffman
One Wave Designs, Inc.

Paul Coffman Wednesday, March 7, 2018 8:29 PM (link)
Richard Sletcher
Some years ago (DNN3) we committed to the DNN platform. To date, we have invested millions in developing a solution based on the DNN platform. After the European conference that I attended 2 years ago, I was very nervous about the future of the platform. Every time there was a big announcement, I was expecting the company to close down or to ditch the community.

It is, therefore, a massive relief to know that you are renewing your commitment to the community. I commend and thank you for this.

I look forward to another 10 years with DNN and hope to attend the next conference in the USA.
Richard Sletcher Friday, March 9, 2018 1:02 PM (link)
Sebastian Leupold
please note the next conference will be in Ireland (31 May - 2 June), see
Sebastian Leupold Friday, March 9, 2018 2:00 PM (link)
Sebastian Leupold
AFAIK, issues 1 and 2 of your list will be fixed in DNN 9.2.0, which should be released within the next 2-3 weeks. DNN 9.2.0 will also get back a pages treeview for simpler page management and dnn Prompt as text based UI.
Sebastian Leupold Friday, March 9, 2018 2:05 PM (link)
Scippy One
I agree with Paul but I think the problems are much wider than two bugs not resolved promptly. I believe that the differentiation between evoq and community edition is unsustainable, creates confusion and is a major obstacle to the growth and diffusion of DNN. In this trend the collapse of the community is inexorably ever closer.
I'm not a manager and it's not up to me to point the right way but the results are under everyone's eyes.
An example of good choices that I share is which has transformed an excellent paid-for product in open source, in this way it tries to make it better and spread more, the result is increasing their business on customizations, assistance and maintenance of cloud plans.
Scippy One Friday, March 9, 2018 3:21 PM (link)

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