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Front page of a new DotNetNuke v5 installation
Developer(s) DotNetNuke Corporation [1][2]
Operating system ASP.NET / Microsoft Windows / SQL Server
Type Web Application Framework
License BSD style license[3]

DotNetNuke is an open source platform for building web sites based on Microsoft .NET technology.

It is written in VB.NET and distributed under both a Community Edition BSD-style license [3] and a Professional Edition commercial license. DotNetNuke's content management system is extensible and customizable through the use of skins, modules, data providers, language packs and templates.


DotNetNuke Community Edition

DotNetNuke's content management system allows non-technical users to create and edit content, and add custom features and personalize the site look and feel. It can be further expanded with addition of third party modules and tailored with custom graphics and layouts in the form of skins.

The DotNetNuke Corporation provides an open source version of DotNetNuke called the Community Edition. It includes access to the source code of the framework and basic modules, and an MIT license [3]Template:Self-published inline allowing flexible modification and distribution rights. The Community Edition a popular web content management (WCM) system and application development framework for ASP.NET, with over 6,000,000 downloads and 400,000 production web sites as of September 2009. [4]Template:Self-published inline

A narrative video overview of DotNetNuke called A Short Story has been created by Nik Kalyani and the Chicago DotNetNuke Users Group. It shows DotNetNuke from the perspective of developers, system administrators, business decision makers and end users, and is available on YouTube.[5]

DotNetNuke Professional and Elite editions

The DotNetNuke Corporation offers two business-oriented commercial editions of the software with premium functionality and technical support options.

The DotNetNuke Professional Edition was introduced in February 2009 with version 5.0[6]Template:Self-published inline, and most recent version 5.1.4 was released in September 2009[7]Template:Self-published inline. It is described by DotNetNuke Corporation as a tested and verified version of the DotNetNuke content management system[8]Template:Self-published inline, and directly shares the framework codebase with the Community Edition while additionally providing further functionality and support for use in business critical applications[9]Template:Self-published inline.

The Professional Edition offers full product documentation, email notifications of security patches and product updates, access to the Professional Edition online knowledge base, online and email product support with second level support from DotNetNuke Corp architects and engineers and product copyright indemnification.

The DotNetNuke Elite Edition was released in August 2009[10]Template:Self-published inline, providing enhanced support features including phone support, and access to Professional Edition source code in the Elite Edition Premiere version. Similarly to the Professional Edition, the Elite Edition includes extra functionality and shares the framework codebase with the open source Community Edition.


DotNetNuke uses a three-tier architecture model with a core framework providing support to the extensible modular structure. When deployed, which can be extended using pluggable modules and providers that enable additional functionality; the look and feel of individual sites can be customized using skins. The following diagram illustrates the software layers of a typical DotNetNuke deployment:


The current, 5.x generation of DotNetNuke requires IIS 6 and ASP.NET v2.0 to v3.5 and supports SQL Server 2005 and 2008. Previous generations of DotNetNuke supported SQL Server 2000 and ASP.NET v1.1.


The default functionality of DotNetNuke can be expanded by adding third-party modules, either from an existing library of free and commercial modules, or through in-house development of custom functionality. The DotNetNuke framework provides basic functionality such as security, user administration and content management, while modules are used to tailor the web site for specific deployment needs.

A set of primary modules are included with the core DotNetNuke distribution. These modules provide the functionality required to create an e-commerce system, and intranet, a public web site or a custom web application. They are maintained by a volunteer team community on the DotNetNuke Community Forge[11].

Further modules can be downloaded from Snowcovered, a marketplace of third-party DotNetNuke modules and skins. As of September 2009, over 6,000 extensions are available[12]Template:Self-published inline, including e-commerce systems, photo galleries, localization modules, blogs, forums, wiki, social networking functionality and others[13]Template:Self-published inline. Modules are available in both free and paid versions from the open source community and proprietary commercial DotNetNuke developers.

A module can be uploaded and automatically installed on a DotNetNuke installation through the administration pages of DotNetNuke[14]. Once a module is added by the administrator, it can be placed on any of the pages in the web site and custom access permission can be configured for it.


DotNetNuke has a skinning architecture which provides a separation between design and content, enabling a web designer to develop skins without requiring any specialist knowledge of development in ASP.NET: only knowledge of HTML and an understanding of how to prepare and package the skins themselves is required. Skins consist of basic HTML files with placeholders (tokens) for content, menus and other functionality, along with support files such as images, style sheets and JavaScript, packaged in a ZIP file.

Upon Microsoft's release of the .NET Framework version 2, Microsoft had included functionality known as master pages. The principle idea behind master pages was to encourage code recycling and consistent design and aesthetics throughout a site by creating a master page with placeholders, which at runtime would be compiled and replaced by content.

Although this advancement was considered significant, DotNetNuke decided to keep its skinning engine, using the argument that to construct master pages, a web designer needed access to Microsoft's Visual Studio, which would then put developer code at a risk (as master pages have the ability to contain VB.NET code). Bearing in mind that a significant proportion of web designers choose to use both Windows and Mac OS-based design software, DotNetNuke decided to retain the skinning engine to retain its open-source ideals and availability to the web design community.

Like modules, compiled ("ZIPped") skins can be uploaded and automatically installed through the administration pages. If the compiled skin does not contain an ASP.NET user control file, then the DotNetNuke skinning engine builds one based on various tokens included in the HTML file which refer to various sections, placeholders and/or modules of a DotNetNuke-produced page. A number of discussions on the DotNetNuke forums debate the differences between designing skins in "pure" HTML and Cascading Style Sheets, or creating skins in Visual Studio as ASP.NET user controls[15].

Since version 4.4, skin developers have been able to specify skin-level DOCTYPEs to allow them to develop skins that follow accessibility and XHTML standards.

Developer ecosystem community has over 700,000 registered members as of September 2009. Support for the Community edition of DotNetNuke is provided by community members, and developers can participate in the open-source project on the DotNetNuke Forge at CodePlex.

Project history

The DotNetNuke application originally evolved out of another project, called the IBuySpy Workshop.[16] The IBuySpy Workshop application had been created by Shaun Walker [17] as an enhancement to the IBuySpy Portal that started as a sample application for the .NET Framework. Early versions of DotNetNuke were released by Shaun’s company, Perpetual Motion Inc, while later development was expanded by the open source community.

The name DotNetNuke was coined by Shaun by combining the term .NET with the word "nuke", which had been popular with pre-existing frameworks such as PHP-Nuke and PostNuke.[18] The term DotNetNuke and DNN are registered trademarks in the US (Search USPTO[19]) and Canada.[20][21]

In September 2006, four members of the project's board of directors formed a corporation to oversee the development of the project. The new DotNetNuke Corporation was co-founded by Shaun Walker[22], Joe Brinkman[23], Nik Kalyani[24] and Scott Willhite[25] and replaced Perpetual Motion Interactive Systems Inc. as the corporate entity behind the project.[26]

Subsequently, the DotNetNuke Corporation announced that it would be represented by Mark F. Radcliffe[27] from the Silicon Valley legal firm of DLA Piper.[28] On November 25, 2008 DotNetNuke announced Series A financing from Sierra Ventures and August Capital, and in February 2009, after hiring Navin Nagiah as CEO, a Professional Edition version of DotNetNuke has been released for business and enterprise customers.

As of September 2009, the DotNetNuke application had seen over 6 million downloads throughout its public releases[29], and is as of 2010 in its fifth edition. Version 4.0 or later requires ASP.NET Framework v2.0 or later, but earlier versions will run on ASP.NET 1.1.

In October 2009, the 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report concluded that DotNetNuke was the leading .NET-based open source web content management system. [30]

In August 2009 a partner certification program was opened by DotNetNuke Corporation, aimed at providing support to the developer community behind third-party DotNetNuke module and various services. DotNetNuke Corporation also announced acquisition of Snowcovered, an online market for DotNetNuke modules, skins, services and related products.[31]


DotNetNuke has won awards, including


  • A common complaint is that DotNetNuke's guidelines for creating correctly packaged modules are cumbersome and require adherence to a specific taxonomy. However, as of version 5.0, automated tools are available to easily package modules.
  • While an API reference document is available, documentation is mostly written in task-oriented form.
  • New major releases of DotNetNuke are not completely backwards compatible for modules that do not correctly adhere to the API, resulting in some of the older modules do not work as advertised, though the new release process has improved the quality of new releases.
  • The platform has regular updates, but unlike the Professional Edition, the Community Edition is not tested and certified by DotNetNuke Corporation.
  • There is no built-in dynamic content localization, an important feature for a web site with content in languages other than English. However language packs for the framework are available in more than 60 languages and third-party modules are available to add dynamic localization to DotNetNuke.

External links


  1. We make DotNetNuke
  2. Newly Formed DotNetNuke Corporation to Manage Future Growth of Open Source Web Application Framework Project (Seattle, Wash.) — September 21, 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 DotNetNuke > About > Licensing and Trademarks
  4. DotNetNuke product overview - September 2009
  5. A Short Story - Youtube
  6. DNN Corp. Releases DotNetNuke Professional Edition
  7. DotNetNuke Professional Edition 5.1 Delivers
  8. DotNetNuke Professional Edition 5.1
  9. DotNetNuke Professional Edition 5.1
  10. DotNetNuke Elite Edition
  11. DotNetNuke Development Forge
  12. DotNetNuke Corp. Acquires Snowcovered
  13. Snowcovered web site
  14. How to install extra modules for DotNetNuke
  15. DotNetNuke skinning forums
  16. DotNetNuke > About > Background >What Is The History of DotNetNuke (DNN) ?
  17. Shared Source Leads to Internationally Successful DotNetNuke Open Source Project (Published: November 15, 2004)
  18. DotNetNuke
  19. USPTO Trademark Database Search
  20. CIPO - Canadian Trade-marks Database
  21. CIPO - Canadian Trade-marks Database
  22. MVP Profile - Mr. Shaun Walker , MCP Last Updated: June 13, 2008
  23. MVP Profile - Joe Brinkman Last Updated: May 29, 2008
  24. MVP Profile Nik Kalyani Last Updated: June 24, 2008
  25. MVP Profile - Scott Willhite Last Updated: May 29, 2008
  26. DotNetNuke > News > Media Releases > Newly Formed DotNetNuke Corporation
  27. DLA Piper | Our People | Mark F. Radcliffe:
  28. DotNetNuke Corporation Retains DLA Piper Attorney Radcliffe as Legal Counsel (Silicon Valley attorney is also general counsel for the Open Source Initiative and represents several other high-profile Open Source companies)Seattle, Wash. – September 27, 2006
  29. DotNetNuke front page statistics
  30. "2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report," page 63, by water&stone and CMSWire Oct, 2009
  31. DotNetNuke Corp. Acquires Snowcovered

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