DotNetNuke is a powerful, open-source Content Management System (CMS) In order to determine if DotNetNuke is worth your while, you need to know exactly “what’s in the box.” There is a robust set of modules that come out of the box with DotNetNuke 4.4. What are modules? Within a CMS, they are sections of code that can seamlessly fit into an overall system and provide some major functionality. Let’s put it like this: Most webs have certain functions relatively common to all. There are events calendars, announcements, logins, contact lists, etc. In DotNetNuke there are modules that handle these functions. Here are some of the modules contained in DotNetNuke right out of the box:
Login Module: In the old days of web development, everyone had to code their own login module. Over time, everyone realized that there were certain commonalities in login screens which were username, password, forgot password, register, remember password. With DotNetNuke, the login module is a simple add-in and the developer does not have to worry about the code.
Events List/Calendar Module: This module is useful for displaying upcoming events in either in chronological order or calendar format. What is useful is that each event can be set to expire on a specified data automatically or can be set to re-occur at defined intervals. Something like this would take many man-hours to code from scratch.
Discussion Module: Discussion modules are very common on many websites. This module allows you to add a discussion forum with the standard simple threaded news group-style text. It also adds a read and reply message page and allows users to replay or add a new discussion thread.
FAQ Module: Every website with a product usually has a Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) page. FAQ pages relieve technical support departments from getting asked the same questions repeatedly. The FAQ module allows you to add linked questions to your page and displays the answers when the user clicks on the question link. This is very handy to have and saves a lot of programming effort.
Image Module: What a pain it was in the past to have to load all the images to a web site. With the image module, you don’t have store the physical graphic file on the host system. The image can be rendered from an absolute or relative URL. Additionally, you can adjust the image dimensions for display.
Contacts Module: You can get contact information for a group rendered here. The group could be your project team for example. Included with this module is an edit page where information can be updated and changed. Data can be stored in an SQL database. You can store the mailto email address for your contacts however it uses a method known as cloaking to prevent it from being harvested by bots used for email address farming (spambots). The Mobile version of the contacts module allows you to actually call a contact if browsed from a wireless telephonic device. This is done in the Mobile version by providing a call link.
Documents Module: This module is a pre-packaged file directory browser where you can post documents that can be downloaded by authorized users. There are options to store the documents within the portal or external to the portal and the use of roles on users for downloading the documents can be implemented.
IFrame Module: This is a handy module in that you can display content from one site within a frame on your site. The end result is that it looks like everything comes from the same site. This is a real timesaver as far as coding and allows you to truly re-use code and not re-invent the wheel. Last reports indicate that this module does not work with Netscape browsers.
Links Module: This is useful for generating a list of links to any page, tab, or image in your portal. The display can be in horizontal or vertical form or it can even be displayed in a dropdown box.
Feedback Module: This module allows a user to fill out an email form to anyone within the portal framework. If the user is logged in then the user’s name is automatically populated.
Search Module: What would an elaborate website be without a search feature? This is a module in DotNetNuke that eases building your own search engine.
RSS Feed Module: RSS feeds are a very popular open information tool that utilizes the power of XML. Information displayed on an RSS feed using this module includes title linked to source document, source, and date.
Text/HTML Module: You can design standard HTML web pages with this module that provides WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editing of html text along with an image gallery. This one even has a spell checker.
Survey Module: Online surveys are a common feature on the internet today. Here is a module that allows you to easily implement your online survey and have the capability to manage the content of it. Charting is provided so you can evaluate results.
And there are many, many more features out of the box or implemented through an add-on. DotNetNuke is a powerful open-source CMS tool indeed.
Walker, Shawn; Et. Al., (2006). Professional DotNetNuke 4.0—Open Source Web Application Framework for ASP.NET 2.0. Indianapolis:Wiley Publishing, Inc.