Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
I first bumped into DNN around 2005 while working at a local university in the Charlotte area. At that time, I had no idea what DNN or open source was or the impact it would play in the next decade and beyond of my life. Since then I’ve met awesome and generous people, ended up in places I never expected to go, made a lot of friends, and have learned a lot along the way. The DNN platform and community have definitely impacted my life.
Around 2 years ago I was contacted with the challenge of re-engaging with, empowering, and reinvigorating the DNN Community. This happened as the acquisition occurred. Of course, these were all things I wanted to see happen and to get to be a part of it was even better. And while there may have been some bumps in the road, we have come a long way since then.
We’ve Made Great Progress and We’re Just Getting Started
Since re-joining DNN Corp 19 months ago as Ecosystem Manager, the DNN Community has made great strides. DNN Corp leadership followed through on the promise to empower the community and we’ve seen the community undergo an exercise in self-organization and take complete ownership of the source code. We’ve joined the .NET Foundation which ensures the code base will always remain open source and the community now drives the roadmap for the platform. Further reinforcing the progress and contrasting from years past, DNN TAG leadership now has “owner” rights to the DNN platform GitHub repo and can build releases at will.
Outside of the code, the MVP Program was turned over to, and MVPs were elected by, the community. Community members are also running the annual DNN Website Awards Competition. And as of this past week’s DNN-Connect conference in Switzerland, the community has launched its own site, DnnCommunity.org. And last but not least, the documentation center was turned over to the community and DNNDocs.com is now live and in preview mode.
We have indeed come a long way and made great progress since the acquisition. I’ve tried my best to meet the challenge of re-engaging with and empowering the community. Hopefully I’ve played a small role in bringing on some of the positive change in the community. It’s been great to watch the community respond, take initiative, and step up. We still have a way to go and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the journey with the community.
Transitioning Back to DNN Community
I will now return to full time community member as I recently accepted a new role and will be transitioning out of DNN Corp. Moving forward, although I’ll no longer be at DNN Corp, I’ll still be active in the DNN Community. That is, I’ll still be involved with DNN Association, DNN Summit, the DNN Docs team, the Charlotte-based Southern Fried DNN User Group, .NET Foundation activities, and you’ll see me online as well!
I’m excited to have accepted a role as Senior Solutions Consultant at Simpplr. Simpplr is a SaaS based intranet solution with a lot of similarities to DNN. If you are looking for a modern intranet, that is indeed simple to use, feel free to reach out!
Oddly enough, the US-based Simpplr office is located in San Francisco not too far from the old DNN Corp offices. So, I’ll be riding down El Camino Real again soon and for any old DNN’ers let’s connect when I’m in town.
As an open source enthusiast and a .NET developer I’ve been watching the transformation of Microsoft happen and it has been great to watch. You see I’m an avid user of DotNetNuke and if you know anything about DNN’s history you know that DNN was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, open source project in the .NET Ecosystem. From 2003 on DNN has been a pioneer in the .NET open source world.
A lot has happened and several trends have come and gone in the Microsoft world since 2003. As an open source project built on Microsoft technology the notion of being open source wasn’t always a popular conversation topic. Being open source wasn’t “cool” and sometimes negative perceptions about open source solutions were visible.
Boy have times changed!
Microsoft is Serious About Open Source… and It’s Not Just Lip Service
One of my college football coaches always said “Your words don’t mean anything, but your actions mean everything.” Actions are a really good sign of what someone really believes.
Microsoft’s strategic shift to embracing and focusing on open source over the past few years has been such a refreshing transition to see, feel, and experience for me and my fellow DNN’ers because of the actions we are seeing.
If we look at the recent and strategic moves Microsoft has made it’s easy to see that Microsoft is indeed serious about open source. If you aren’t convinced that Microsoft is serious about open source or if you are not keeping up, let’s look at some of the actions Microsoft has taken related to open source. And these are just the ones I have observed… I’m sure there is even more evidence out there.
Why It’s a Great Time to Be a .NET Developer
There has never been a better time to be a .NET Developer. Literally everything you need to get started building is online and free to use and even better it’s likely open source. Anybody, anywhere can download code, look at it, enhance it, modify it, and submit it back to the projects if desired. If you can dream it, you can build it and you may build an online team of users and contributors to assist you in the process. Microsoft is literally making it easy to build open source projects via the technologies and resources they are providing. They are removing roadblocks for developers and being 100% transparent.
Consider the following capabilities anybody, anywhere has...
I referenced one of my college football coaches earlier, but he wasn’t the only one to to impart wisdom during my athletic days. My high school coaches had more one-liners than anyone could remember. One line that stuck with me was “If you do the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” Microsoft is not only doing the big things, but they are also doing the little things that continue to reinforce their seriousness about open source.
We are watching a culture and paradigm shift occur in real-time and it’s awesome. By going “all in” on open source Microsoft is not only winning the hearts of developers, but they are making it easy for developers to get started with their technologies! I think the strategic decision to embrace open source will have a big impact for Microsoft in the long term.
At DNN Summit I learned of a new tool created by Kelly Ford called “DNN Prompt”. I first saw it in a session that Peter Donker gave and it immediately caught my attention. Since then I’ve learned more about it and want to share some initial thoughts on it.
Peter was demoing something related to the persona bar in his session on React.js when he mentioned that he was going to try a “new trick” he’d just learned from Kelly Ford. He then opened a panel up and a command line was visible. He typed in something like “new-extension” and voila, just like that a new extension was created. He closed the panel and moved on with this session, while I was left in amazement wondering what had just happened.
As one of the hosts of DNN Summit I was in and out of rooms all day, taking pictures and tweeting them, and just busy helping out in general. It was hard for me to pay attention to things, but whatever Peter had just done definitely caught my eye. I turned to the person beside me and asked them what was that panel he just used. I thought it may have been some Powershell script or something. The person to my left didn’t know either.
Enter DNN Prompt
After asking around and nagging enough people I learned that this new feature was called “DNN Prompt”. Prompt is the latest and greatest from Kelly Ford who most of the DNN Community knows as being the creator of XMod
Thinking back on it I think I remember hearing whispers around the DNN Community that Kelly had been working on something that was really cool, but yet I never heard any details. Now I’d seen it in action and was connecting the dots. At first glance I thought it was black magic of sorts.
In the time since DNN Summit I’ve been able to connect with Kelly and the team of people working on DNN Prompt and actually use the tool. It is definitely neat. In this blog I want to provide a quick intro video on DNN Prompt and relevant links for those who are interested.
The Return to the Command Line
It seems there’s been a recent trend going back to the command line among developers. If you look around at NPM, Node.js, etc. you’ll find the command line being used more and more. Even Kelly’s recent presentation to the Southern Fried DNN User Group here in Charlotte referred to this notion as his title was “How Something Old Can Make DNN New Again”.
Although the user interface for the command line is not as “user friendly” as a wizard based approach it does allow for faster execution of tasks. When you think about it, it really makes sense because the users of this kind of tool are typically admins or developers… not content editors… and they love this kind of power at their fingertips. Don't get me wrong though, this tool is more than just about speed. The vision Kelly has for the tool is very forward thinking and one to get excited about.
DNN Prompt is a Game-Changer
From my first few times using DNN prompt and from seeing people's reactions at the Southern Fried DNN User Group meeting (both in-person and online) I think it’s a game changer for DNN. Everyone's minds were spinning and it didn't take developer's long to see what this could mean for DNN as the tool is extensible. I think Prompt will be a DNN Administrator’s best friend. Normal DNN administrators will now be “Power Administrators” once they use DNN Prompt enough to know the commands by heart. At conferences in the future you’ll see everyone having Prompt installed, using, and referencing it. I plan on using it a lot in my own DNN sites and think that you will end up using it too! Kelly's goal is to get this into the core of DNN Platform and I hope he is successful with that goal.
As you saw in the video, DNN Prompt has the potential to be a game changer for DNN. It will impact the DNN platform, community, and ecosystem. Also, just as Kelly’s earlier DNN creation (XMOD) has done, I believe Prompt could follow a similar path and potentially spawn a new sub-ecosystem for DNN developers and administrators. DNN Prompt could open a new era for development within the DNN ecosystem as the possibilities are endless. Imagine doing all your daily tasks via the command line or imagine modules and other extensions having their own hooks into Prompt. What if you could instantly shut down registrations across 100 portals with one single command or script out batch commands to do whatever you want within your site… it could get interesting quickly!
Kelly ended his presentation with asking people to get involved. He wants to know your feedback, how you envision using the tool, the commands that would be important to you, etc. The good news is taht DNN Prompt is open source and active on GitHub! I know that the team of people developing the solution would love to have more people contributing to the code base and pushing the solution forward.
Here are some links for those of you interested in participating and knowing more:
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