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Custom DNN Module & Site Development
DNN, being written on .NET (thus the formerly known as name DotNetNuke), allows C# developers to write their own custom DNN modules and extensions. While at first glance this may seem easy, after 15 years, more than 1,000 DNN sites and thousands of custom modules, it is not. There are numerous issues to consider when you undertake a custom DNN module. Here is a list of just a few:
- DNN versions. What happens to your module when DNN is upgraded? Do you have multiple DNN portals? Are they all the same version or some still on DotNetNuke? Are your buyers searching DotNetNuke still (if so, make sure to optimize for both newer and older versions)? Are you trying to sell or post your module for general availability? If you said yes, to any of these, things just got a lot more complicated. You'll want to ensure that you've set up the different environments and tested your module across all the different platforms. Even the way DNN manages and updates modules, have changed many times over the years, and you'll need to know how to support the different scenarios.
- Localization. If you want to release or make your module available, even if you don't, many other companies may be running different localized content. Have you tested the module with special or double-byte characters? DNN introduced localization support back around 2012, so it's been around for a long time. Here's a short video we've put together to discuss the four ways to build a multilingual DNN website.
- DNN site installation. DNN can be installed in either the default root directory, or in some cases, a sub-directory. If you custom module interacts with the DNN sub-system or file system, you'll need to be able to handle these custom installations.
- Multi-portal configuration. One great feature of DNN, is the ability to have multiple portals, easily spun up from the core DNN installation. This multi-portal environment may pose interesting challenges for you. Most DNN modules, installed into DNN, are made available to all portals within the system. The issue is that not all the portals should or may not have access to the information in any of the other portals, so you need to ensure that your module is multi-tenant (multi-portal) aware, and secures the data to the local file directory that it's run on.
- MSSQL. Almost all installations of DNN are set up to use Microsoft SQL database. We've configured it for others, such as Oracle, Postgres, SQL Express and the like, but 99% of the time, it is Microsoft SQL. That said, there are some differences between the versions of SQL server that you may need to be aware of. Test across as many versions as you can. Almost all versions, except SQL2000, usually run without much problem, and our clients have upgraded and not seen any real issues. You'll just want to make sure you've tested across the versions yourself.
- Custom DNN (DotNetNuke Module Development) module development allows programmers, like Clarity, to extend and create any new functionality and features that the CMS doesn't provide. Clarity has developed more than 1,000 custom DNN modules, providing functionality for things like AI-learning functionality to serve up related content personalized for each visitor, SEO administration UI modules, custom CTA modules, advanced marketing analytics, custom locator maps, and tons more.
- Testing, testing, testing. What happens if someone installs a new version of your module over the top of an old version? Does DNN allow this? Can it be done manually? What happens when your module is uninstalled? It is clean? Does it work across the different versions of DNN? Does your module get affected by other 3rd party modules, such as new Skins. If your module interacts with the UI, then you'll want to grab at least the most popular skins, such as Porto and EasyDNNThemes and install them, switch between them, testing to see if it affects your module.
If you're still not sure which CMS you need or want more information on the DNN Content Management System, feel free to reach out and we can help. If you need a partner who can design, build, launch and support your DNN site, Clarity's team of DNN specialists can help. From simple marketing sites, to custom portals, B2B eCommerce marketplaces, integrations to your back-office applications, SEO and CRO consulting, graphics and video development, we've got the experience to ensure your project gets done, and done right. No matter which CMS you decide to use, Clarity can help you customize any web software for any purpose or goal that your company needs.