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Ian Costin
Ian Costin

DotNetNuke Made Easy: How to Create a User-Friendly Web Site with No Coding


Here is the outline of the article: # DotNetNuke For Dummies ## Introduction - What is DotNetNuke and why use it? - How to install DotNetNuke using Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix - How to access the DotNetNuke Installation Wizard and configure the database connection ## Getting Familiar with DotNetNuke - How to log in as a host or an administrator - How to navigate the control panel and the admin menu - How to create and manage pages, modules, and skins - How to use the file manager and the recycle bin ## Customizing and Extending DotNetNuke - How to change the site settings and the portal settings - How to install and update extensions such as modules, skins, and language packs - How to use the extension verification service to check for compatibility issues - How to create your own modules and skins using Visual Studio or WebMatrix ## Conclusion - Summarize the main points of the article - Provide some resources for further learning and support - Encourage the reader to try out DotNetNuke and share their feedback Here is the article based on the outline: # DotNetNuke For Dummies Are you looking for a way to create and manage your own website without having to learn complex coding or pay for expensive software? If so, you might want to check out DotNetNuke, an open source content management system (CMS) and application development framework for Microsoft .NET. DotNetNuke (DNN) is one of the most popular and widely used CMS platforms in the world, powering over 750,000 websites across various industries and sectors. In this article, I will show you how to get started with DotNetNuke, what are its main features and benefits, and how to customize and extend it to suit your needs. ## Introduction ### What is DotNetNuke and why use it? DotNetNuke (DNN) is an open source content management system (CMS) and application development framework for Microsoft .NET. A CMS is a software that allows you to create, edit, publish, and manage content on a website without having to write code or deal with technical details. An application development framework is a set of tools and libraries that help you build web applications faster and easier. DotNetNuke was originally created in 2002 by Shaun Walker as a project based on Microsoft's IBuySpy Portal sample application. Since then, it has grown into a robust and mature platform that supports multiple websites, languages, users, roles, permissions, modules, skins, templates, workflows, analytics, SEO, security, cloud hosting, social features, mobile devices, e-commerce, and more. Some of the reasons why you might want to use DotNetNuke are: - It is free and open source. You can download it from the [DNN Community Web site](https://www.dnnsoftware.com/community) or from [GitHub](https://github.com/dnnsoftware/Dnn.Platform), where you can also contribute to its development and improvement. - It is easy to install and use. You can install it using Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix in a few minutes, and then use the intuitive web-based interface to create and manage your website. - It is flexible and extensible. You can customize your website's appearance and functionality by choosing from thousands of extensions such as modules, skins, language packs, etc., or by creating your own using Visual Studio or WebMatrix. - It is scalable and reliable. You can run your website on any Windows server or on any cloud service that supports .NET, such as Azure or AWS. You can also leverage features such as caching, load balancing, clustering, backup, restore, etc., to ensure optimal performance and availability. - It is secure and compliant. You can protect your website from unauthorized access or malicious attacks by using features such as encryption, authentication, authorization, auditing, logging, etc. You can also comply with various standards and regulations such as GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, etc. ### How to install DotNetNuke using Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix To install DotNetNuke, you need a Windows server or a computer that runs Windows and has IIS (Internet Information Services) installed. You also need a database server such as SQL Server or SQL Server Express. You can use either Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix to install DotNetNuke and its dependencies. Web Platform Installer is a free tool that allows you to easily install and run the most popular free web applications for blogging, content management, and more with the built-in Windows Web Application Gallery. To use Web Platform Installer to install DotNetNuke, follow these steps: - From the Windows Start menu, click Programs, and then click Web Platform Installer. - The Web Platform Installation window appears. Click the Web Applications tab, select the DotNetNuke Community Edition check box, and click Install. - Select the DotNetNuke Community Edition check box, and click I Accept. - Select Mixed Mode Authentication, enter a password, and click Continue. - Once the preinstallation steps complete, the site information window appears. In the Web Site list, click New Web Site. - Enter an application name in the application name field. Enter a web site name in the Web Site Name field. Enter a physical path in the Physical path field. In the IP address list, click All Unassigned, and enter 80 in the Port field. Enter a host name in the Host Name field, and click Continue. - Once the installation process completes, the final installation window appears. Click Finish. The DotNetNuke Installation Wizard web page appears. WebMatrix is a free, easy way to customize and build Web sites from popular open-source applications, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. To use WebMatrix to install DotNetNuke, follow these steps: - From the Windows Start menu, click Programs, and then click Microsoft WebMatrix. - The WebMatrix window appears. Click the Site from Web Gallery icon. - The Site from Web Gallery window appears. In the search box, type DotNetNuke, and press Enter. - Select DotNetNuke Community Edition from the list of results, and click Next. - The Configure Your Database window appears. Select Use an existing database server or create a new one on this computer. Enter your database server name or IP address. Enter your database administrator user name and password. Click Validate Connection to test your connection. Click Next. - The Configure Your Site window appears. Enter a site name in the Site Name field. Enter a physical path in the Folder field. Click Next. - The Downloading Files window appears. Wait for the download to complete. - The Installing Application window appears. Wait for the installation to complete. - The Installation Complete window appears. Click Launch Site Now to open your website in a browser. ### How to access the DotNetNuke Installation Wizard and configure the database connection After you install DotNetNuke using either Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix, you need to complete the installation process by using the DotNetNuke Installation Wizard. The Installation Wizard is a web-based tool that guides you through the steps of configuring your website's database connection, site settings, user accounts, etc. To access the Installation Wizard, open your web browser and type your website's URL in the address bar. For example, if you installed DotNetNuke on your local computer using Web Platform Installer and named your website DNNTestSite, then your URL would be http://dnntestsite/. The Installation Wizard web page appears. On this page, you can select an installation method, choose your language, and click Next. The installation method determines how much control you have over the configuration options of your website. There are three installation methods available: - Auto: This is the easiest and fastest method. It automatically configures your website with default settings and creates a sample website with some pages and modules for you to explore. - Typical: This is the recommended method for most users. It allows you to enter some basic information such as your website name, description, keywords, administrator email address and password, etc., and then configures your website with default settings. - Custom: This is the most advanced method. It allows you to enter all the information required for configuring your website's database connection, site settings, user accounts, etc., and gives you full control over every aspect of your website. For this article, we will use the Typical installation method. After you select an installation method and choose your language, click Next. The Checking File Permissions web page appears. This page checks if your website's files and folders have the correct permissions for DotNetNuke to run properly. If your site passes the permissions check, click Next. The Configure Database Connection web page appears. This page allows you to enter the information required for connecting your website to its database server. Depending on how you installed DotNetNuke using either Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix, some of this information may be already filled in for you. The Configure Database Connection web page allows you to enter the information required for connecting your website to its database server. Depending on how you installed DotNetNuke using either Web Platform Installer or WebMatrix, some of this information may be already filled in for you. - Select the type of database. You can choose between SQL Server and SQL Server Express. - Enter the name or IP address of the computer where the database is located. If you are using a local database server, you can use localhost or (local) as the name. - Enter the name of the database file. This is the file where your website's data will be stored. You can use the default name DotNetNuke or choose a different one. - Click the Integrated Security check box if you want to use Windows authentication to connect to the database server. Otherwise, enter a user name and password for a SQL Server account that has permission to create and access databases. - Click Next to complete the installation. ## Getting Familiar with DotNetNuke Once you have completed the Installation Wizard, your website is ready to use. You can now log in as a host or an administrator, and start exploring the features and options of DotNetNuke. ### How to log in as a host or an administrator A host is a superuser who has full control over all aspects of the DotNetNuke installation, such as creating and managing websites, users, extensions, settings, etc. An administrator is a user who has full control over a specific website, such as creating and managing pages, modules, skins, settings, etc. To log in as a host or an administrator, follow these steps: - On your website's home page, click the Login link at the top right corner of the page. - The Login web page appears. Enter your user name and password in the fields provided. If you used the Typical installation method, your host user name is host and your administrator user name is admin. The password is the same as the one you entered during the Installation Wizard. - Click Login. You are now logged in as a host or an administrator. You can see your user name at the top right corner of the page, along with a Logout link and a Control Panel icon. ### How to navigate the control panel and the admin menu The control panel is a toolbar that appears at the bottom of your website's pages when you are logged in as a host or an administrator. It allows you to access various features and options for managing your website. The control panel has three modes: Common, Edit, and Advanced. You can switch between these modes by clicking on their icons at the left side of the control panel. The Common mode shows icons for some of the most frequently used features, such as adding a new page, editing an existing page, adding a new module, editing an existing module, managing files, managing users, managing extensions, etc. The Edit mode shows icons for editing specific elements on your current page, such as changing the page title, description, keywords, permissions, settings, etc., adding or removing modules from different panes on your page layout, changing module titles, permissions, settings, etc., moving modules from one pane to another by dragging and dropping them, etc. The Advanced mode shows icons for accessing advanced features and options for managing your website, such as viewing site logs, clearing cache, running health checks, scheduling tasks, managing search engines, managing site aliases, managing site groups (if you have multiple websites), etc. The admin menu is a drop-down menu that appears at the top left corner of your website's pages when you are logged in as an administrator. It allows you to access various features and options for managing your specific website. The admin menu has several submenus that group related features and options together. For example: - The Pages submenu allows you to create and manage pages on your website. - The Vendors submenu allows you to create and manage vendors who provide products or services on your website. - The Newsletters submenu allows you to create and send newsletters to your website's subscribers. - The Site Settings submenu allows you to change various settings for your website such as appearance, language, security, SEO, etc. ### How to create and manage pages, modules, and skins Pages are the basic units of content on your website. Each page has a unique URL and can contain one or more modules that display different types of content or functionality. Modules are reusable components that provide specific functionality or content on your website's pages. For example: HTML module displays HTML content; Text/HTML module displays rich text content; Blog module displays blog posts; Forum module displays discussion forums; Gallery module displays image galleries; etc. Skins are the visual elements that define the look and feel of your website. Each skin consists of one or more files that contain HTML, CSS, and images that determine the layout, colors, fonts, graphics, etc., of your website. To create and manage pages, modules, and skins on your website, follow these steps: - To create a new page, click the Add Page icon on the control panel in Common mode. The Add Page web page appears. Enter a page name in the Page Name field. This will be the title of your page and part of its URL. Optionally, you can enter a page description, keywords, tags, etc., in the fields provided. You can also change the page permissions, settings, appearance, etc., by clicking on the Advanced Settings link. Click Add Page to create your page. - To edit an existing page, click the Edit Page icon on the control panel in Common mode. The Edit Page web page appears. You can change the page name, description, keywords, tags, etc., in the fields provided. You can also change the page permissions, settings, appearance, etc., by clicking on the Advanced Settings link. Click Update Page to save your changes. - To delete an existing page, click the Delete Page icon on the control panel in Common mode. A confirmation message appears. Click OK to delete your page. - To add a new module to a page, click the Add Module icon on the control panel in Common mode. The Add Module web page appears. Select a module from the list of available modules. Optionally, you can enter a module title in the Module Title field. This will be the title of your module on your page. You can also change the module permissions, settings, appearance, etc., by clicking on the Advanced Settings link. Click Add Module to add your module to your page. - To edit an existing module on a page, click the Edit Module icon on the control panel in Edit mode. The Edit Module web page appears. You can change the module title, content, permissions, settings, appearance, etc., in the fields and tabs provided. Click Update to save your changes. - To delete an existing module from a page, click the Delete Module icon on the control panel in Edit mode. A confirmation message appears. Click OK to delete your module from your page. - To move an existing module from one pane to another on a page layout, click and drag the Move Module icon on the control panel in Edit mode. Drop it to the desired pane on your page layout. - To change the skin of your website or a specific page, click the Site Settings icon on the control panel in Common mode or Advanced mode. The Site Settings web page appears. Click on the Appearance tab. In the Site Skin section or Page Skin section (depending on whether you want to change the skin for your entire website or a specific page), select a skin from the list of available skins. Optionally, you can select a container from the list of available containers for each pane on your page layout. A container is a sub-skin that defines how each module is displayed within a pane. Click Update to save your changes. ## Customizing and Extending DotNetNuke DotNetNuke is designed to be flexible and extensible so that you can customize and extend it to suit your specific needs and preferences. You can change various settings for your website or a specific page such as appearance, language, security, SEO, etc., by using the Site Settings or Page Settings features. You can install and update extensions such as modules, skins, language packs, etc., by using the Extensions feature. You can use the Extension Verification Service to check for compatibility issues between different extensions by using the Extension Verification Service feature. You can create your own modules and skins using Visual Studio or WebMatrix by following the Module Development or Skin Development guides. ### How to change the site settings and the portal settings The site settings allow you to change various settings for your entire website such as appearance, language, security, SEO, etc. The portal settings allow you to change various settings for each website if you have multiple websites within your DotNetNuke installation. To change the site settings or portal settings for your website(s), follow these steps: - Click the Site Settings icon on the control panel in Common mode or Advanced mode. - The Site Settings web page appears. - If you have multiple websites within your DotNetNuke installation (also known as portals), select a portal from the portal drop-down list at the top of the page. The portal settings for the selected portal appear below the site settings. - Click on the tabs and sections to access and change different settings for your website(s). For example: - The Basic Settings tab allows you to change the website name, description, keywords, logo, favicon, etc. - The Advanced Settings tab allows you to change the website language, culture, time zone, default pages, home directory, etc. - The Security Settings tab allows you to change the website security policy, user registration options, password recovery options, etc. - The SEO Settings tab allows you to change the website URL format, sitemap options, robots.txt file, canonical links, etc. - Click Update to save your changes. ### How to install and update extensions such as modules, skins, and language packs Extensions are additional components that provide specific functionality or content for your website. There are several types of extensions available for DotNetNuke such as modules, skins, language packs, authentication systems, libraries, etc. You can install and update extensions for your website by using the Extensions feature. To install and update extensions for your website, follow these steps: - Click the Extensions icon on the control panel in Common mode or Advanced mode. - The Extensions web page appears. It shows a list of all the extensions installed on your website. You can filter the list by extension type or by portal (if you have multiple websites within your DotNetNuke installation). - To install a new extension, click the Install Extension Wizard butt


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