DotNetNuke Corp Buys Snowcovered

Snowcovered is the single best source of DotNetNuke modules.  I’ve used a number of DNN modules over the past several years, all purchased from Snowcovered.  Given the head start of Snowcovered, I never understood the point of the DNN marketplace, but this move seems very intelligent.

DotNetNuke Corp. is pleased to announce the acquisition of Snowcovered. Snowcovered has done a tremendous job building a market for DotNetNuke modules and skins which has empowered DotNetNuke software ISVs and helped grow the DotNetNuke ecosystem. DotNetNuke Corp. has been the steward for the DotNetNuke open source project and helped drive the growth of the platform and ecosystem. Bringing the two companies together will continue the growth of the DotNetNuke ecosystem by creating closer ties between the platform and the large, rich library of third party modules and skins.

We will operate Snowcovered in the same positive, beneficial manner the DotNetNuke community has come to expect. Brice Snow, founder of Snowcovered, will continue as a full-time participant in the business as we merge the two organizations. The DotNetNuke commercial ecosystem will benefit from a closer integration of the DotNetNuke platform with the commercial marketplace where users can purchase the modules and skins they need for success.

Full story at

DotNetKicks Image

DotNetNuke Skins from DNN Covered

For a recent client’s project, I needed a good looking DotNetNuke skin.  After searching through Snowcovered, I cam across the DotNetNuke skins by DNN Covered.  These skins are amazingly beautiful!  We purchased one, uploaded it, and it worked perfectly.  It’s perfect for our site.

Not only are their skins beautiful and affordable, they have great customer support.  The skin page said the PSD files were included in the package, but they were not present in the download.  I put in a help ticket before going to sleep, and when I woke up the next morning, I had a reply with the PSD files from DNN Covered.

DNN Covered definitely has the feel for how DotNetNuke works, and a feel for the DNN community.  Thanks DNN Covered!


is Pittsburgh’s favorite car wash.  It’s an amazing 16,000 sq ft facility, with two giant conveyor belts that move your car as a team cleans the interior.

The first website was a highly stylized design that provided a retro-futuristic feel, but took forever to load, and the navigation was not very user friendly.  It was also a pain to update, since every page was created by slicing apart Photoshop files and touching up the HTML in Dreamweaver.

To provide greater functionality, better navigation and quicker load times, we decided to use as the basis for the new website.  The included calendar, photo gallery and blog functionality are nice additions to the site.  Gift card sales are enabled by , and custom information forms are handled by XMod.  We compromised on the design to provide layout flexibility, and the default blue skin fit the company perfectly.

You can see the upgraded site at

DotNetNuke Tip: Change “Unit” to “Apt/Unit” in User Profile

When users register, the profile page asks for a Unit, right above the
Street.  A better label would be “Apt/Unit”, since this is the place to put
in an apartment number.  You can’t change this label in the
Manage Profile Properties, so you need to do a little editing.

There are at least 4 places you can change this text, but the only one that
affects the public view of a user’s profile is
~/admin/Users/App_LocalResources\Profile.ascx.resx.  Edit this file in a
text editor, find “Unit:” and change it to “Apt/Unit:”, then save it.  Your
registration and profile pages will now show the new label.

The label in the Manage Profile Properties won’t change (and I haven’t found
that edit yet), but your registration and user’s Manage Profile pages will all
show this change.

Review: CATALooK.netStore Pro

I’m finishing up a DotNetNuke site, and am using CATALooK.netStore Pro for the first time.  I’ve used a number of shopping carts in my days–PDG Cart, LaGarde Storefront and Candypress come immediately to mind, but there are a couple whose names escape me now.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that CATALooK is one of the better carts I’ve used.  It it packed with features, and handles configurable products better than any other cart I’ve used.

Once you have your DotNetNuke site, installation is fairly easy.  Ignore the install.htm file; instead, use the admin guide in the documentation folder.  It’s written much better, and illustrated with screenshots.  CATALooK installs a number of modules.  Some are public modules, some are admin only.  Some can go on the same page, but some must go on separate pages.  There is an extremely helpful table in the admin guide to sort this all out.

Once you get the pages created and modules installed, it’s time to configure the cart.  One of the limitations of DotNetNuke is that multi-page forms just don’t happen.  Ths is often simulated by changing the visibility of different panels on a page.  This works fine for simple user interface forms, but the administrative pages are a different story.  Some of them are long, and look very intimidating.  After you set up one or two products, you’ll learn to ignore the sections you don’t need, and the setup is much easier.  I strongly suggest running through the example of a configurable product in the admin guide before you set up any of your own products–it’s very helpful and takes only a short time.  In addition to a very advanced component relationship ability, simple text attributes are supported, and are pretty flexible.

The look of the public modules is somewhat controlled by module settings.  For most cases, this is all that is required for the look to be “good enough”.  Without the source code, you have some ability to change the layouts and hide elements.  User displays are comprised of a number of controls, some of which can’t be hidden, but removing them from the page will cause errors.  For complete control of the design, you’ll need to purchase the package with source code and do some editing.  Modules can be skinned, and a couple are included in the package.  A few more are available from Snowcovered.

Importantly, CATALooK has the ability to swith the sensitive pages into SSL mode (you need to buy an SSL separately) if that’s required  CATALooK integrates with a number of payment gateways, as well as .netCharge, so an SSL isn’t always required.  The feature list is extensive, but some of the major ones include referral tracking, product import, coupons and discounts.  Language packes are available for several languages.  Follow the link below for the full list.

So where does CATALooK fall short, IMHO?  I think there are a couple of shortcomings, but nothing that can’t be fixed in an upcoming minor release.  However, if any of these points are deal-vreakers for you, you may want to contact the developers to make sure they’re on the radar screen.

  1. The “Your Cart” graphic is terrible.  I think it’s a magnifying glass looking at your cart, but it looks like a blob eating a shopping cart.
  2. If you use Text Options for your product, when the user chooses an option, a postback is triggered, and it’s not very noticeable.  If the user clicks the “add to cart” button quick enough, they won’t notice anything, and the item will be added to the cart.  If they sit still for the duration of the postback, they’ll see the product price get updated.  If they wait just long enough to click the add to cart button, they’ll get a message that there are no items in their cart.  I’d like to see this updated to something AJAX-y so there’s no postback.
  3. You need to use Public registration, since a user account is created automatically.  A random user name and password is assigned if the user leaves them blank, or if you hide them on the checkout form.  You can’t use Private registration at all.  If you use Verified, your user will have to receive their e-mail and log in between the billing and shipping information forms.  Ideally, there would not be a login required so Verified could still be used, but allow users to complete the checkout without logging in.
  4. Once the checkout is complete, redirect to a non-SSL secured page.
  5. Although pages are secure by SSL, the links to images or included files on these pages are not rewritten, so your user gets a “Show insecure items” warning.
  6. You can create custom shipping rules, but there is no option to use only the custom rules.  They must be used with some other service.  Although the admin guide says the custom rules are checked first, I still received an error that USPS could not be contacted.

Nothing truly serious, but can be confusing or annoying to the end user.

If you’re looking for a shopping cart for a DotNetNuke website, check out CataLook at  I’ve been pleased with my experience.

WebIS Releases FlexMail 2007

WebIS has released FlexMail 2007, a
replacement for the Pocket Outlook which ships on Windows Mobile 5.0
devices.  This is a significant upgrade to the FlexMail 2006, which I’ve
used for several months now on my Treo 700w, but found myself wishing for a few
more features and faster performance.  My few wishes and then some seem to
have been taken care of in this new release.

FlexMail is far and above better in how it displayes messages with HTML
formatting, and handles IMAP accounts better than Pocket Outlook.  GMail
POP3 SSL is supported, as is storing messages on an SD card.  The
featurelist is long, and everyone likes different things, so just go check it
out for yourself.

Full story at

Remember to Nominate DNN for Packt Publishing Award

The nomination period ends September 1, so get on this soon if you haven’t

Last week Packt Publishing announced an Open Source Content Management
System contest. The contest is designed to encourage, support, recognize and
reward Open Source Content Management Systems and offers a top prize of
US$5000 to the winning project, second prize $3000, and third prize

Full story at

First Look: XMod for DotNetNuke

After working with for about an hour and a half last night, I’m of the opinion that 90% of the modules available on can pack their bags and go home.  The 90 minutes is rougly the time from purchase, through installation, to finishing my first working form.

Installation isn’t difficult, but you do need to read the installation guide.  There are several PAs for different versions of DNN.  After you upload the correct PA, you need to do a little manual configuration (easy, and well guided in the installation instructions).

Lats night’s task was to build an input form for a client’s site.  This is one of several forms my client needs, and is the shortest.  The complete documentation is 370 pages, but the vast majority is reference and examples.  The Getting Started is about 10 pages, and was all I needed for last night’s task.  It’s intimidating when you first see the size of the documentation, but it doesn’t take long to get rolling.

Creating the forms is a snap—there’s a simple editor for beginners.  All you do is select the type of input you want, and a little properties box shows up.  You enter some information about that input, and add the field.  You can change the input’s characteristics manually in the editor as well, and trak your progress with the handy preview.  You even have complete control over how the confirmation e-mails look, if you need those.

The authors claim XMod “Can’t do everything, but you may never notice”, and they’re not kidding.  I’ll have a longer review when I get this site finished.  But my first look is very positive.

Comments on “DotNetNuke and SharePoint, part deux”

responded to Shaun Walker’s DNN
vs. Sharepoint Feature Matrix
, and for some reason I can’t get the Submit
button to work on Bil’s blog.  So I’m posting my comments here.  Two
points to add to Bil’s great list:

1) Unless there have been some changes made, storing files in the file system
with DNN is not secure.  This is the only way to store files in DNN 3
(unless the newest release changes this), and one option in DNN 4.  Someone
paying attention can access files by direct URL.  In SharePoint, files are
stored in the database, and acceses to these files can be strinctly controlled
at several levels.

2) It’s actually far, far easier to develop and deploy SP webparts with the
free SmartPart
than it is to develop DNN PAs.  The distribution method of PAs is great,
but development of DNN modules can be a pain.  The SmartPart allows any
ASCX control to be used in SharePoint, and has found significant use in my SP
installations.  Without the SmartPart, developing for either can be a
miserable experience.

DotNetNuke Document Library With Version Control

I was asked the other day if I knew of a DNN document library with version control.  At the time, I didn’t, but I’ve since found one from WillowTree Software.

This is a DNN 3.1.x or later version of the Wrox Document Dontrol (DNN ported) module. This was first offered by Mark Hoskins (KodHeaz), then Robert J Collins (WillowTree Software), then Tam Tran Minh (TTT Company), and lastly (and once again) Robert J Collins (WillowTree Software).
You can’t beat the price—it’s free!