DotNetNuke - Is it Right for You?
DotNetNuke is an open-source technology for developing dynamic websites. It provides a platform for integrating many different website features into a cohesive, easy-to-manage system. There is a thriving market of third-party products you can purchase and install. If you can't find exactly what you need, custom programs can be written or you can buy the source code to a third party module and customize it.
What's most appealing to many users is the ability for non-technical people to update the website. DNN allows "administrators" to log in and make changes to the site on-line. This means you can make minor changes to text or change pictures without having to contact a website developer or deal with FTP programs. If you are technically inclined, you can learn to create new pages and alter the menu system.
Fully Integrated Modules
One reason web programmers love DNN so much is that all of the modules (programs) capable of running on the site share many things in common. For example, DNN has a user database and security/permissions system. When a user registers on a DNN site, every single module has access to that user's information. Likewise, the user only needs one login to access all the features on the site (assuming he is granted permission via the security system).
In practical terms this means you can have website where a user can participate in discussion forums, comment on blog entries, search for rental properties, subscribe to newsletters, use the e-commerce features to shop, and take surveys, all with a single login. Because these features all share the same technology, you can display items from your on-line store next to your blog even though they are two separate programs. This doesn't require any special programming like it does with most scripting languages.
Loads of Features
DNN comes with a number of modules (features). You can also purchase a wide variety of additional and refined features as www.SnowCovered.com. Below is a partial list of features:
- User Management
- Discussion Forums
- Calendars and Scheduling
- e-Commerce (shopping carts)
- Classified Ads
Another great feature of DNN is what's called Skinning. This refers to the overall appearance of the website. You can purchase pre-designed skins for your website that can be customized with your logo as needed. This gets you up and running much faster than paying someone to design your site from scratch. Of course, if you have a particular "look and feel" you must maintain, a web developer can create a custom skin for you. Skins can be purchased at www.SnowCovered.com for anywhere from $10 to $150.
Because content on DNN websites is dynamically created, it must be hosted on a particular type of web server. You won't be able to use the cheap $5/month web hosting solutions. Expect to pay $15 to $20 per month, which is a small price to pay considering the money will save the first time you make a minor change yourself without paying a web developer to do it!