Friday 20 November 2009

Glanton Hits Vegas - DotNetNuke Openforce 2009

John, Amisha and I sat back after the last session at Openforce 09 and, over a well-deserved Margarita at Cleopatra’s in Caesars Palace, we reflected on what had made the Openforce conference a success for us and why we’d recommend it to others.

Firstly, it was an appreciation of the DNN community. This is not your usual, large scale gathering of folks with a passing interest in technology on a company funded junket – this was more like a City Hall gathering in a small town – everyone was there because they wanted to be there, because they had something to contribute, something to share and because they wanted to see their community and its infrastructure grow stronger.

With our livelihoods so dependent on DotNetNuke Corp and how it manages its people, its strategy and the product, it was very re-assuring to meet all the main people, to experience first-hand how approachable they are and to feel that their door is always open. Navin Nagiah, the CEO, gave us a shout out in his session on DotNetNuke Commerce and Community as new Fusion partners.

Our mindsets have changed about our role in the ecosystem. No longer do we have to work so hard to sell DotNetNuke on its merits and its backing – Doug Howell (Director of Alliances) and Tom Kress (VP Sales) are there to support those activities and we’ll expect to see more sales and marketing support from these great guys. Now we can focus on selling our capabilities on top of this great product.

Being a young and evolving product, there were plenty of breaking news items delivered during the conference.

It was great to hear the announcements on Professional and Elite editions. Future announcements like the implementation of a file management provider will be a great boost to our enterprise clients. It will also open up an opportunity to develop on top of SharePoint as we see many of our customers opt for SharePoint for document management and collaboration.

The announcement of a deal on the inclusion of the Telerik RAD controls was very welcome. We’ve used Telerik from the beginning so it was nice to see we are making the right decisions. What that actually means is that user experience and the extensibility of modules will taken to a new level.

Integration of Google Analytics and segmentation of traffic is also a welcome addition.

There was plenty of lively debate on what the acquisition of Snowcovered means and what the community felt DotNetNuke Corp needed to do to clean it up and further raise module development standards. We'd like to see some standards and a QA process before modules are listed there. Even if that means the cost of individual modules goes up.

Probably the most contentious issue discussed was licensing and it was interesting to see the different perspectives on the chosen “per instance” model. Those running DNN across large server farms were understandably concerned and those running very large single instance, multi-portal implementations were very quiet!

With two DNN tracks running over the three days and six sessions a day, there was plenty of information being dispersed. We even snuck into a couple of Sharepoint sessions running as part of the larger ASP.Net Connections conference which was helpful in understanding the relative strengths and differences of both platforms.

All in all, an event well worth attending, and one which will pay for itself over the coming year through new found contacts and knowledge.

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