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15 Years of DotNetNuke

Chris Hammond
15 years ago a guy named Shaun Walker released something special unto the world. Something that would ultimately change the way Microsoft approached Open Source. Shaun released a CMS tool called IBuySpy Workshop, a modified version of IBuySpy Portal. The IBuySpy Workshop ultimately became DotNetNuke, now known as DNN (I’m nostalgic for DotNetNuke btw).
If you’ve setup a new DNN site running on version 9.0 or 9.1, you’ll notice that you don’t have the ability to setup the Google Analytics module/code anymore. For some reason, DNN Corp in its infinite wisdom decided to remove the core, critical functionality from the Platform version of DNN and only leave it in the paid versions. Well fear not, you can easily add Google Analytics code to your pages, follow these steps.

DNN 9.0.1 Released


Depending on what the "source" is, it appears that DNN 9.0.1 was released either 11 days ago, or 3 days ago.

So which is it, 11 or 3? Who cares, let's just go over some of the basics of what the release covers.

First off, there are a number of security updates in this release, primarily around API security.

DNN9 appears to be an evolutionary leap forward for the DotNetNuke CMS, but while there are many advances, there are some big misses of features that somehow got left behind, or at least hidden away so that finding them for someone who isn’t a DNN expert (such as myself, if I do say so) is impossible, unless of course you read this blog, then you’ll be on your way to utilizing DNN9 in ways that the average Joe could only hope to.

I woke up this snowy January morning with email from my most excellent web hosting company (www.appliedi.net) letting me know that my database server was almost out of hard drive space. Thanks for the heads up to the AppliedI team!

My first thought was “How is that possible?” I was just on the server in the past couple of days doing all my DNN9 upgrades, and there were 20 gigs of free space not 4 days ago. With a quick check I found that one of the databases was 9gb. 4 days ago that database was <250mb.

If you are having problems adding Pages in DNN 9, read this blog post. I recently upgraded all of my sites to DNN 9, the most recent one being upgraded last night. This morning I wake up to an email from a client of mine reporting a problem with adding pages in one of their sites that they also upgraded to DNN recently. I read through their email, and decide that I’ll look into their issue a bit later, have an itch to scratch on one of my own websites, so I’ll get to them later (sorry client).


I’ve been maintaining my DotNetNuke Visual Studio project templates for a number of years now, one of the things they have sorely been lacking is the ability to “customize” the templates without having to crack open the full source code of the VSIX project, making changes, and then recompiling everything. There are 5 specific strings/values that were ripe for customization, but simply were not easily accessible.

  • Root NameSpace – The Namespace for the project, all of the files were populated with this namespace.
  • Owner Name – A DNN Manifest property that is used to provide information on who either developed the module, or commissioned the module development. This also gets used in all of the Copyright statements built into the templates.
  • Owner Email – Another DNN Manifest property, used to provide an Email address for contacting the owner/developer of a module.
  • Owner Website – The URL of the package’s owner, for further contact and information.
  • Local DEV URL – The URL of your local development environment.

Of all of those items, the one that has likely caused the most headache over the years is the Local DEV URL property, that was set at DNNDEV.ME, which if you followed along with my various tutorials, was the URL I always use for local development, that domain name points to This actually works out great, but some people choose not to follow my tutorials or already have existing development environments configured, yet still want to use my templates. You could still use them, but you had to make some modifications to the PROJ files after creation in order to get things working.

With the latest release of the templates, when you create a project using one of the 6 included templates, you will then be prompted with a Wizard interface (single step) that will allow you to customize these fields.


As always, you can download the latest “release” of the templates from the DNN Store, or from the Visual Studio Online Gallery if you want to get creative, you can check out the Repo on GitHub

With the release of DNN Platform 8 last week it is now possible to develop modules using SPA and MVC patterns within the DNN platform. As Part of the buildup of the DNN 8 release, Will Strohl provided a Pull request to my DNN Extension Project Templates project to help clean up some of the basic module templates to work better on Windows Azure environments, and to prep them for inclusion of new DNN 8 specific templates for SPA and MVC modules. Early in the fall Joe Brinkman provided a partial SPA project, with the intention of it becoming a project template. I had a little time when it was initially submitted to work on it, but wasn’t able to get everything squared away on the template until early December. It wasn’t until last week that I got additional time to do further testing on the template and fix a few issues that occurred during the conversion to a project template.
A few months ago I released V4 of my DNN Development templates, which included a new project template for Themes (skins). This weekend I was working on a new theme (skin) for a customer project and came across a few changes I needed/wanted to make to the Theme project template, so you get to benefit from those changes as I have put a new release out of the project templates.

For years I have maintained a set of Visual Studio project templates that are used by thousands of people to quickly and easily create Modules for the DotNetNuke Content Management System, and for years, I have had people request that I create a project template for creating a DNN Skin (now known as Themes).

This weekend I finally took the time to do just that. With the latest release of my Visual Studio project templates, you can now create a Theme for DNN. When doing so, you will be presented with a basic skin, using Bootstrap v3.1.1, based on my HammerFlex theme for DotNetNuke.

If you’ve recently upgraded to DotNetNuke 7.3, you might not have noticed that your scheduled tasks aren’t running. How do you know if your tasks are running or not? Follow these steps

With the release of DNN 7.3.0 this week, it was time for me to get my sites upgraded. I upgraded most of the sites without any issues, but wanted to point out a few errors that I received on sites, and how I resolved them.

The very first upgrade I did started out bad, it was for this site, and while the upgrade was 100% successful, as soon as I tried to load the site I got a generic 500 error. Accessing the site from the webserver gave me a little more information, seen below, but not much.

A month or so ago I released a new open source skin for DotNetNuke (DNN), called HammerFlex. One of the cool things about the HammerFlex skin is the implementation of Bootstrap, and specifically the Carousel feature that allows you to add a carousel/slider to your site. The skin is designed to use the carousel at the top of a page, I haven’t tried it elsewhere, though it might be possible to use in other Panes in the DNN Skin.
I decided recently it was time to upgrade the look of my various websites, and while I originally considered modifying my MultiFunction skin for DNN, ultimately I decided to start from the ground up and create a new Skin for DNN using Bootstrap (http://getbootstrap.com), I’ve decided to call it HammerFlex.

My website was due for an overhauled design, somehow a full year came and went and I hadn't done any major updates to the website. I guess that is what happens when you, move, change jobs, and have a second child in on year, time sort of magically goes away.

A couple of weeks ago I started working on a new DNN skin, to replace my MultiFunction skin that I've had in use here on ChrisHammond.com for a number of years now. Initially I was going to work on upgrading MF, but after giving it some thought, I felt like I wanted to start over, and this time around I wasn't sure that I was going to create an open source skin, most likely just something that I would use for my own websites, of which I have plenty to spread the skin around on.

Earlier in 2013 I started working on a new round of DNN Module Development tutorials. For a few months now I've been promising that I would finish up that series, but at this point I am going to announce that the series is on hiatus. 

There are a number of reasons for this, the primary of which is that I am simply too busy. My work role at ClubReady, Inc. has changed over the past month, was promoted to the Director of Customer Experience leading a team of 14 other folks, including developers and customer service staff.

In a previous blog post I talked about what you can do to get DNN 7.1 working if you previously had Xepient's Open Search installed. One thing I failed to cover though, was what happens after you disable open search? You likely no longer have the DNN Search Results module on a page, and after upgrading to DNN 7.1.2 (I didn't notice this in 7.1.0) you may find that the "Preview" search results in the Search SkinObject no longer work.

You may not actually notice, but if you try to "search" and you just get redirected back to the page you were on when you searched, you likely are running into the problem I have a fix for below.

I upgraded a number of websites to DNN 7.1.2 tonight, and I ran into two different problems, this blog post will hopefully help you address the issues that I ran into, if you happen to run into them as well.

Disclaimer: Always backup your website/database before making any changes or running any SQL scripts you got off the web. I don't take any responsibility for damage you cause to your own website, but if you need consulting help with your DNN site, I am available.

In a previous blog post I talked about how to use SignalR with your DotNetNuke modules, well, if you are using DNN 7.1 and the "Advanced" URLFormat option (upgrades won't use this by default, new installs will) then the SignalR/Hubs route will no longer work, DNN will return a 404 for that path.

What you need to do is "override" the URL settings in DNN. In the DNN Platform, you have to do this manually, via the database, I believe the EVOQ ($paid$) versions have a UI for this, but for those of us who focus specifically on the open source platform, you need to make manually update database entries to customize the URL handling in 7.1+.

I was upgrading a customer's website this evening, in a test environment thankfully, and ran into a problem. The upgrade appeared to run successfully, minus one little issue with a primary key (in the 6.0.0 script).

But after running the upgrade, the website wouldn't load. I kept getting an error in Chrome, and then finally started getting 503 errors as the server shut down the application pool completely.

I started this list a while back, and decided I would go ahead and finish it, and post it online. Thanks to Oliver Hine for #9 As someone who runs, edits or develops for a DotNetNuke website, these are 10 things you should always stick to.

Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, developer and car guy. Chris has long specialized in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke development, so you will find a variety of topics here on the website. For more information check out the about me page.

If you are looking for DotNetNuke consulting please visit my business website at http://www.christoc.com/

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