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.

TestDriven.NET Enterprise & Professional

In order to help turn TestDriven.NET from a hobby into somethig that pays the
bills, Jamie has released a Professional and Enterprise version of There’s still a free version, non-crippled and non-nag, but he
asks if you regularly use TestDriven.NET in one of the licensing scenarios,
please buy a license.

Full story at

kick it on

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.

Remote Web Administration Tool

Recently, a question came
up in the ASP.NET security forums about the lack of a remote membership/role
configuration tool in ASP.NET 2.0.  Being able to remotely manage users is
important in pretty much any site where you have users.  Fortunately, QualityData has stepped in and developed
that plus a little more in their Membership
Manager Control
.  Apparently works in AJAX and exposes an API as
well.  At $59, it’s pretty darn cheap, too.

If you need a free license (beyond the trial version) for your needs, they
also have a link-for-license program.  Add a link like Asp.Net Server Controls by Quality Data,
and let them know.

URL Rewrite Issue in ASP.NET 2.0 (Serious Effects Upon Community Server)

The result of the problem is that search engines won’t index the content on
your Community Server based site.  That’s bad if you’re counting on being
found in the SEs.

The problem appears to be a bug (or a feature nobody wants) in the URL
Rewriting part of ASP.NET 2.0.  When the URL is rewritten and the response
is redirected to the destination URL, a result code of 302 (temporary redirect)
is returned, instead of 200 (destination found OK).  Most SEs won’t index
pages that return a 302, since that is a trick heaviliy used by SE spammers.

Matt Cutts has a post about this at,
and there’s discussion at Telligent at

This isn’t to call out Telligent, since anyone using the built-in URL
Rewriting will be affected.  I just think the thread on their site is a
good one to watch.

Use Web Deployment Projects To Replace Web.config Sections

In a comment to my Web
Application Settings in ASP.NET 2.0
article, I was asked about overriding
default web.config values by replacing external files using the file attribute,
as he could in .NET 1.1.  The web.config has several new sections, and none
support the ‘file’ attribute–instead, the configSource is used.  This
wasn’t so satisfactory to the commenter, so I recommended MS Build for the

Over the weekend, I worked a little with Web
Deployment Projects
, and there is functionality to replace web.config
sections built in to the tool.  You could create several different build
configurations–Debug (Dev), Debug (Test), Release (Test), Release (Prod) for
your web application.  Then, create a different deployment project for each
build config, and specify different SMTP or connection strings as
necessary.  This is probably where the commenter wanted to go, but I found
this out a little too late.  Hope it helps someone else down the road,

Review: The GigaLaw Guide to Internet Law

This one is an oldie (in Internet terms) but a goodie.  Even though it was published in 2002, The GigaLaw Guide to Internet Law is still an extremely valuable resource today.   Written by Doug Isenberg, who founded, an Internet site consolidating news relating to Internet law (long before RSS feeds and newsreaders were popular, Doug hand edited the home page with fresh content daily).  The daily e-mail updates almost always include an interesting story.

If you’ve never read Doug before, you’ll be surprised at how well he explains complicated legal issues, with technical detail, in an easy to understand manner.  Over the past several years, this has been a valuable reference on my bookshelf.  This isn’t a book you read cover to cover; it’s broken down into major parts (Copyright Law, Domain Names and Trademarks, Patent Law, Privacy, Free Speech and the First Amendment, Contract Law and High Technology, and Employment Law), with chapters focusing on specific topics in each part (COPPA, Spam, Message Board Misconduct, etc).  Pick the topic you need and read that chapter for an overview of the issues and precedents.

Since its original writing, additional cases have decided in many important areas, especially in Spam and privacy laws, so you shouldn’t take the case studies as a comprehensive list.  Just to take a trip down memory lane, one of the case studies invloves a Playboy Playmate using “Playboy” in the META tags of her website.  Blogs aren’t mentioned, but there is good discussion about message boards.  The issues and arguments regarding each of these topics are still relevant, but finer issues have been worked out by additional precedents.  It will be worth watching if Doug publishes an updated version.  If so, it would be a good idea to get a copy immediately.  If not, chapters such as “The Basics of Copyright Law” and “Website Development Agreements” make this is still an excellent (and understandable) introduction to complicated legal issues surrounding Internet law.  This book is available in both print and downloadable electronic format from Amazon.