A couple of years ago I started a series on DotNetNuke Module Development but I didn’t get very far. Recently, I have been working on a new DNN Module Development video training course for Pluralsight and I have decided to use that module development course as a template to restart this series on how I think about DNN Module Development. Hopefully this time I will be able to provide you with some best practices on DNN Module Development.
DNN has a rich eco-system of Modules, both Open Source and Commercial. In many ways this is our biggest strength as a CMS platform. No matter what you want to do with your site – there is often a module that already does it.
In my opinion this is due to the flexibility provided by the core DNN Framework. Many other platforms are very prescriptive – as an extension developer you have to follow a fixed shopping list of rules – there is invariably only one way to create an extension, which may not work for what you want to do.
But DNN places very few requirements on what must be done to build an extension. This frees developers to be creative – to think outside the box – which I feel explains the rich ecosystem of modules that already exists and continue to be developed.
I have been working as a developer on DNN for nearly 10 years now. During that time I have built many modules for personal use as well as a number of modules that are now part of the core distributions. In addition, I have designed and created many of the hooks in the core which Module Developers can take advantage of.
Recently, I have heard comments that “Module Development with DNN is difficult”.
I don’t agree with this sentiment – but, I think that our strength (flexibility) that I described above is also our weakness. There are a multitude of ways to build DNN modules - and we don’t provide a prescriptive method of development. While this provides flexibility, it can be somewhat daunting for new DNN developers – where do I start? is a common refrain.
My goal in this series of posts is to provide some guidance – from my perspective – for both the beginner module developer and for more advanced developers, who may not be aware of all the hooks/features that DotNetNuke provides.
This is not “The Definitive Way of Module Development” – its not even “A Definitive Way of Module Development”, but (with apologies to Frank Sinatra) it is “My Way”.