DotNetNuke 4 Experience

I want to create a quick, simple club website for a club I’m in. It’s been on my TODO list for a couple of years now and tonight I thought I’d just grab the latest DNN starter kit, set a few properties, add/remove a few modules, and throw it out there. Here’s a recap of my experience thus far (quitting for tonight):

1) Downloading DNN. There’s 5 different things you can download (after registering) and unfortunately no information at all on the download page as to what is or is not included in the Starter Kit. I ended up pinging Shaun Walker directly and he was quite helpful in letting me know that the Starter Kit should work for what I wanted to do. During later searching I also ran across this forum thread that would’ve helped if it had been on the download page.

2) Installing DNN from the starter kit was simple. A README file in the zip file would’ve been a nice touch, since it unzips into this:

DNN Starter Kit Files

and my first inclination is to keep on unzipping things because it doesn’t seem like it’s done (and unlike other starter kits, there is no .vsi file). However, before I went into unzip mode I double clicked on the DotNetNuke.vscontent file which of course did the install.

3) Sadly going and looking for the starter kit under Create – New Web Site didn’t work the first try. Then I remembered DNN was VB-only.

4) Once I found the Starter Kit and installed it as a web site, everything went smoothly for a while. I liked the installer. I went with the default settings. Things were looking good. I reset my admin password, played with the site settings, added a title, etc. At some point I went back to the Welcome.html page and noticed under advanced settings there was an option to Choose a Site Template. One of them is “Club” and I thought “Oh, maybe I wanted that”. However, when I tried clicking on the Configuring the Install Template link all I got was a mainly empty page (at TemplateConfig.html in the starter kit). Oh well, I’ll live.

5) Still playing around with the site. I managed to click Preview and lost all ability to configure my modules. I hadn’t quite figured out how to re-enable them (I was still logged in, but nothing seemed to bring the Configure icon back), when I stumbled on a pop-up menu off of Home > Admin. This menu included a Site Wizard. That sounded promising. So I ran that and it asked me to pick themes and skins and such and then said it had completed successfully. Woot. So I decided to go back to the home page and was met with this:

DNN Site Error

So I googled a bit and came up with nothing useful, and decided it was time to go watch 24. DotNetNuke isn’t quite there yet, or I’m just not willing to put in enough time. I remember the IBuySpy Portal pretty much just worked every time I ever played with it, so it’s frustrating that DNN does not (for me, tonight). But I’m sure some DNN experts will let me know what I’m screwing up, and then hopefully life will be good again, at least for a short while.

[categories: dotnetnuke, error, asp.net]

  • David

    Check out mojoPortal when you get a chance (www.mojoportal.com). I highly recommend it.

  • Jeff

    24 was crazy amazing. I’ve never been so stressed out by a TV show!

    Why is it that the stuff in the ASP.NET community is always so hard to just build and go?

  • http://

    Hi Steven

    I had the exact same problem when trying to install DNN for the first time today.

    This solved the problem:

    http://www.dotnetnuke.com/Community/ForumsDotNetNuke/tabid/795/forumid/108/threadid/94267/threadpage/1/scope/posts/Default.aspx

    However I constantly seem to run into new problems, so I’m close to giving DNN up too…

    Best regards,

    Henrik

  • Chris Hammond

    Steven, a tip for the PREVIEW option, just click on preview again and it will allow you to get to the configuration options for each module again.

    If you were looking to use a template, it’s best to use a template when setting up a new site, when creating a new portal you can utilize a template, usually without issue.

    Ping me sometime, I may be able to help you out.

    autocrss hotmail.com for MSN messenger

  • http://

    WoW. I have been having big problems with DNN also.

    It turns out that it is very complex to work with. When there is a problem it just shuts your setup efforts down. It really sucks. They put too much complex code in there that does not work under certain conditions. It is like DasBlog blogging software. It has a lot of features but it is so complex to setup and has so much code that is not developer friendly that you just give up. I switched to Rainbow. It is not too hard to install. I just hope the newest version keeps simplicity in mind like previous versions.

  • Pieter Siegers

    Hi Steve, like you I also ran into several problems. But don’t be disappointed by running into some problems the first time – you need to get to know DNN better, that’s all.

    I have about 4 sites running on DNN, one on 3.x, and the other 3 on DNN 4.x.

    I also develop new templates (skins) and once you master that you realize the power of DNN.

    You’re right about starting – the documentation on what to install is not good enough, some things do lack behind or are simply missing. Hopefully complaining about this on the DNN forum will help. I invite you to do the same: let the DNN guys know about what problems you face.

  • http://

    Since yesterday I have been looking at a few alternatives to DNN. First Umbraco – http://www.umbraco.org which impressed me a lot. Initially it is a lot more simple to manage that DNN – end-users will love the interfaces. Secondsly I tried out the personal version of Community Server – http://www.communityserver.org. Wow, what a pleasure to install, an intuitive interface and so many great options, that fits right into my needs. I will have to look more into it, but I am quite sure that I have now detected the right cms/framework for my projects.

  • Kurt Stricker

    Steve: I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and you always pick some interesting topics. This happens to be a topic I can comment about. I’ve been using DNN for a couple of years and one thing I learned the hard way is that you really have to put your time in and read all of the installation documentation before taking any action. Granted the documentation is, as you pointed out, not where you would quite expect it (it is lightyears beyond where it was in 3.0) and the download page has a huge hole in it when it comes to explaining which version to download. It can be frustrating because we all think, “how hard can this be?” – I’m an expert. Once installed and skinned, my clients have responded very positively. The support community, skins, modules (free and other), and ease of end-user use take this product way beyond the alternatives you suggested. It may be a bumpy ride during the install but it is worth it. BTW, to get out of preview mode, simple, click the preview icon (its a toggle).

  • Nina Meiers

    I have read this blog and the next one you wrote about configuration (no replies there yet – I hope you have it running and just ran out of time).

    I was curious to know why you used the starter kit? Unless you were going to develop your own modules (which of course would be natural) but, from what you wrote, I thought you were going to be playing around with it, which of course might lead to developing something cool for your sites.

    I have seen more challenges with the starter kit, as opposed to the ‘install’ package that is simply unzipped, security setup, db setup, config file setup and the IIS pointed to directory.

    I have looked at the Starter Kit but not being a ‘coder’ I couldn’t see the point in using it, but wonder if it would have been easier to go this way and taste a little bit of success!!

    I’m waiting to see how you go with the installation, having read your blogs for a while but now I see DNN mentioned, I thought I would also say a couple of things!

    Good luck with it – And yes, once installed, it’s easy to work with, but lately I’ve seen many not get over that ‘install’ hump and losing interest!

    Nina Meiers

  • Tom

    Why can’t DNN create an install file each time it has a new release. There are some “blog” out there, but nothing official. Just amazing how DNN survive like this today. I tried 4 times using botth starter and install, but never go through. I’m giving up!

  • Stephen Hill

    I’m not sure what you are all doing wrong here. I’ve used the Started Kit, the Install Pack, just about every version and have had no problem getting DotNetNuke up every time. The key is taking your time and getting the web.config settings for your database connection string just right and a nice clean Sql Database ready to go, before you launch the site for the first time. Once that is done, the auto install always seems to work for me every time.

  • Stephen Hill

    I’m not sure what you are all doing wrong here. I’ve used the Started Kit, the Install Pack, just about every version and have had no problem getting DotNetNuke up every time. The key is taking your time and getting the web.config settings for your database connection string just right and a nice clean Sql Database ready to go, before you launch the site for the first time. Once that is done, the auto install always seems to work for me every time.

  • pgesco

    i made english pgesco site by DNN so i want to make arabic pgesco site by DNN . add new protal P or C?