DotNetNuke 4.4 was released on the market December 24, 2006. It is yet another improvement to an already-popular Content Management System (CMS) making it easier to deploy commercial-grade websites quickly and efficiently. But what does one need to know about the new 4.4 to really exploit it to their advantage? What are the new features in 4.4? What are the new performance tools in 4.4? Let’s look at some of these features now.
DotNetNuke 4.4 is built upon the Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Framework. It is open-source software and freely-available for both commercial and non-commercial use. All DotNetNuke asks is that you give credit back to the DotNetNuke project community.
Remember that a CMS makes management of web content much easier. By using a standard set of modules, one can reuse objects such as a blog (web log) on a website without having to go through all the work of writing the rudimentary code for a blog. We just use a blog as an example but there are many more objects in DotNetNuke that come standard out of the box. But let’s look at what has been added with DotNetNuke 4.4.
One of the features and performance enhancements added to DotNetNuke 4.4 was the enhanced Delete Portal functionality. The multiple portal feature in DotNetNuke is one of its most powerful. What is it? It is the ability to point multiple domains to one DotNetNuke installation. Now you can control the content for several domains through portals. To explain it in non-techie terms: You no longer have to manage the content of multiple domains on the multiple hosts. Where it was improved with DotNetNuke 4.4 is in the ability to quickly delete a portal. Before, each portal had to be tallied up so to speak to determine if the portal count was greater than 1. If it was, you could delete a portal. Now, there is a method called GetPortalCount() that returns the number of portals and is much more efficient than scanning through all active portals.
Code and object reuse is always a good thing with any enhancement. DotNetNuke has a “Convert Site Wizard” that has been enhanced to reuse the framework classes provided in ASP.NET 2.0
Whenever you have a situation where multiple portals or virtual sites are allowed on a central location, you have to have some sort of control with the size of each. This way no one portal can grow without bounds in terms of web pages and potentially affect the others. With DotNetNuke 4.4, you can now set limits on the size of each portal through the use of quotas. Additionally, with DotNetNuke 4.4, you as an administrator can set the limits on the number of users per portal as well.
Improvements were made in the startup time of DotNetNuke as well. In prior versions, all assemblies were loaded when DotNetNuke was started. As you can imagine, it was very slow to get it initially started. Now, through a new runtime element in the web.config file, only the assemblies required are loaded on application start and any others are placed in sub-folders to the bin folder and only loaded as required. Basically the startup process has been streamlined.
If you understand about serial data transfers across the internet, you know that text streams can be very slow. Take your typical high-content web page that can be very slow loading if transferred across the internet in uncompressed text. DotNetNuke 4.4 implements HTML compression by utilizing the Blowery.org HttpCompression module. What this does is sends a web page compressed across the network and then your local browser does the decompression work. This helps performance in that not as many bytes of data must be transferred across the network.
It is no news that the internet is utilized by a global community of users. Have you ever gone to a web site and the first page is written in Chinese and you only speak English and Spanish? Well with DotNetNuke 4.4 you can now force a specific language for the first page of first visitors to a site. Then, at that point, visitors can select the language.
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a powerful data standard for providing structure to otherwise unstructured text. But sometimes parsing a XML document is slow as multiple passes might be required. XML is the language used in the ClientAPICaps.config file to store capability parameters of different web browsers that might be used to view a web page. Before DotNetNuke 4.4, each time the capabilities of a client browser were needed, the ClientAPICaps.config file was loaded and re-parsed for the settings. As you can imagine, this would make for poor performance and a significant input/output increase. With DotNetNuke 4.4, the ClientAPICaps.config file is loaded once for a particular user’s browser and retained in cache for subsequent quick retrieval. This was more of a bug fix in 4.4 rather than a new enhancement but the improved performance is welcome.
There are many other changes in DotNetNuke 4.4. It would be wise to review them so that you can utilize the best from this product. A summary of the changes and enhancements can be found at:
DotNetNuke Content Management System
DotNetNuke Parent, Child, Multiple Portals
DotNetNuke Core Framework
HTTP Compression With HttpCompress