otNetNuke 5.2 Includes Telerik RadControls, New Caching Models
The latest release of open source Web CMS DotNetNuke (news, site) is out the door today with a number of enhancements, including the inclusion of Telerik RadControls in both the Community and Professional versions.

It was June when we last saw a new release of DotNetNuke. Version 5.1 included a number of new features such as Health Monitoring, integrated Google Analytics, more granular security and more.
This time around, we see new releases for both the Community Edition and the Commercial Editions -- although not with the same set of new features.

Telerik RadControls

According to Shaun Walker, Co-founder and Chief Architect at DNN, the best part of release 5.2 comes via a partnership with Telerik. DNN was looking for a toolset to help improve the user interface and user experience of the base platform.

So they went looking at third party Web Controls to see what would work. Their decision to partner with Telerik, a provider of Web Controls for .NET applications, was a combination of their history (Telerik has long been a sponsor of DNN) and their broad, rich set of web controls.

DNN has OEM’d Telerik’s RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX. This suite of controls includes 35 major and 30 helper controls. But how you can use the controls works differently depending on whether you are using the Community Edition or one of the Commercial Editions.

In the Community Edition, the Telerik Controls cannot be accessed directly by developers, Instead, DNN build wrappers around the controls which the developers use.

In the Commercial Editions (all three of them), developers can use the wrappers or access the controls directly. Also important to note under the OEM agreement, an unlimited number of developers in an organization can use the controls as long as they are doing DNN development.

Additional Enhancements

The Telerik RadControls may be the highlight of the 5.2 release of DotNetNuke, but there are some other new features in the Commercial Editions that are also worth mentioning:

  • Module and Page Caching: Caching is critical component of a WCM as it speeds up delivery of content to the end user. There is a new database caching provider for module content. There is also now page caching using either database, memory or disk. Walker told us that there is a hook in the Community edition for caching, but the providers are only available in the Commercial Editions.
  • Site Management: A new impersonate user capability will come in handy. It enables you to assume the identity of another person without exposing that person’s password. Uses for this include IT support, Call Center support and admin assistant.
  • Enhanced Rich Text Editor: Making use of the Telerik RadEditor, a new rich text editor provides capabilities such as Microsoft Word “clean”, spell checking, HTML templates, image resizing and compression.

In addition to these features, a new Security Center will help you find any security vulnerabilities affecting DNN and show you where to go to upload the latest patches.

DNN and the Future of WCM

Always curious to know where a WCM vendor is heading in the future, we asked DNN about potential SharePoint 2010 competition, the evolving role of Social Computing in WCM and aligning solutions to specific markets.

  • On SharePoint 2010: DNN doesn’t see SharePoint as a major threat saying there isn’t a lot of new WCM capability in the upcoming version. They do acknowledge some new external licensing models, but without more pricing details from Microsoft, it is anyone’s guess where that offering will end up.
  • Social Computing: The lines between social computing solutions and WCM are starting to blur and more web content management providers are adding these capabilities into their offerings. Walker told us that it is on the roadmap for DNN as well.
  • Market Focus: A number of WCM vendors are focusing their solutions on specific markets, interactive marketing being a popular one. DNN has chosen to focus on being the best web application framework, managing web information and not narrowing down on any particular market.

Strength in Numbers

With over 6 million downloads to date, DotNetNuke has over 500k externally facing production websites. Add to that the number of internal, behind the firewall websites (which Walker estimates to be around 200k) and you can see DNN is doing fairly well.

As the leading .NET open source Web CMS provider, DNN may be facing competition from the likes of Umbraco and SharePoint 2010, but they don’t seem worried. A strong community and partner ecosystem will support DNN in their efforts to be the WCM of choice.