There are a few enhancements to the open source web content management platform, DotNetNuke, with the release of version 7 Wednesday. A little something something for both developers and editors alike.  

DotNetNuke 6.0 was a major overhaul for the Web CMS; it introduced a brand spanking new user experience that I remember being quite impressed with at the time. This time around, there's a continued effort to improve that user experience, to make things easier to do. 

In a conversation with Richard Dumas, DNN Product Manager and Will Morgenweck, DNN Senior Director of Product Marketing (who, if you remember, came to DNN via the Active Modules acquisition) we got the goods on the key updates to DNN 7.0.

DotNetNuke & Ease of Use

For administrators, a new installer comes with DNN7 that has fewer steps to get a web property up and running. There's also access to advanced features if you need to customize the installation:


DNN7 Installer

For content editors, think improved productivity with a new rich text editor (courtesy of the HTML Pro Module):


DNN7 RTE: Web Pro

And think new action menus (which look a lot like the new Windows 8 menu style that everyone is talking about these days), the ability to move modules around via drag and drop, new edit page menus, action menus and a cool new version compare capability. 


DNN7 Action Menus


DNN7 Drag and Drop Feature


DNN7 Version Compare

Along with all these improvements, there's also a new Control Panel that enables you to set up the environment for your team. You'll see the most common setting front and center, with access to advance settings. And for the teams who really like quick access to their tools, you can create your own bookmarks for the Admin and Host menus. 


DNN7 Control Panel

Learning Opportunities

I threw a lot of screenshots at you there to show how DotNetNuke has made strides in improving the life of the content editor. The point is, that websites need to get up and running quickly and they need to be modified just as quickly to respond to market changes. All of these features are a stride toward simplifying the content creation and web page editing processes.

A Designer / Developer's DotNetNuke Life

DotNetNuke is built on the Microsoft .NET platform. Which means it supports Web Forms as a means of creating web pages. But now, developers also have access to a new service framework (built on the MS Web API) which allows them to build dynamic client side applications.

Even novice developers have some new tools that allow them to build modules for DNN using dynamic compilation. Add full support for Razor (which is a "newish" view engine Microsoft created to help developers build pages quickly), an updated Data Access Layer (DAL) which extracts code to allow developers to work with multiple databases and you have an arsenal of tools to develop websites.

There's also Active Directory integration and the ability to view data in SharePoint Lists for DNN Enterprise Customers.

Designers working with DotNetNuke will also be happy with this latest release. DNN has overhauled the CSS Foundation so there are less issues with browser compatibility and more standards integration. It's also more lightweight so you should see performance improvements.

And designers should also appreciate the new Style guide that comes with the default install and the new UX guide to help with standard form patterns.

Is This a Developer, Designer or End User Update?

When you look at all the new functionality for DNN, you wonder who the new release was built for. Typically, we tend to see a release that focuses more on one group: developer, design, editorial. But according to Dumas, DNN7 has something for everyone. It's about "simplified use" and that applies across the entire team. 

Pretty sure I didn't hit all the new things you'll find in DotNetNuke 7, so make sure you check it out. One thing I didn't go into, but is fairly important to editors, is the ability to share content across channels and devices by sharing modules, assuming the sites are within the same DNN instance. So all you editors out there, make sure to look for that feature.

DotNetNuke 7 is available now.