New Life for DNN?

Screenshot from the DNN website (dnnsoftware.com)

It’s been a while since my last post, as I’ve been quite busy with helping my wife with her mobile DJ wedding business as well as cranking-away on several important projects of my own (which I’ll blog about shortly). For now, I want to reach out to all of my DNN clientele about my progress in attempting to save all the sites still running on that platform.

Under New Management

The exciting news regarding DNN is that the company has just been acquired by a new organization (see “The Exciting Path Ahead for DNN Corp” blog entry for details). This new entity (ESW Capital) is in the business of acquiring established companies that they think still have a lot to offer and turning them around into highly successful organizations again. I’ve done some research on the situation and watched some passionate videos about it all and I’m pleasantly surprised by what appears to be new life for DNN!

A Waning Platform

Over the past few years, I’ve watched the overall DNN product/community slowly slide into irrelevance, at a time when other content management systems were starting to dominate (such as WordPress). Moreover, DNN became significantly more expensive for me to host and maintain, since virtually all DNN modules and themes aren’t free and I have to routinely replace them with newer versions (as opposed to WordPress resources which are either free or of much lower cost). That’s why I had decided earlier in the year to simply migrate all of my current DNN sites to WordPress and abandon the DNN platform altogether.

DNN to WordPress Conversion Woes

While I have now successfully migrated several of my original DNN sites to WordPress, I’ve found that the conversion process is very time-consuming, to the point where it’s simply not feasible for me to do that at my own time and expense. While there are some GREAT themes out there that perfectly fit my client business needs (as well as associated plugins), I’m finding that most clients don’t really care about all of that–they’d rather have move flexibility in what gets developed and it’s caused a bit of angst these past several months. Hence, I’m recognizing that in order to convert from DNN to WordPress I really need to address each conversion as a full-blown website rebuild project and charge my full rate ($50/hour) for all work performed. Because most of my clients aren’t all that interested in rebuilding their sites, keeping them in DNN is best for everyone.

Intentions for DNN

Over the past few weeks, I’ve taken another look at what it would take to migrate all my DNN sites to the latest version (9.1, a significant step up from version 7.4.3 I’m running now). The two biggest issues are that some of the themes simply don’t work in DNN 9 nor do some of the original modules (such as the Feedback (a.k.a Contact Us) module, the Vendors module (which could be used to display random banner ads within a site) and a variety of others. It will be possible to replace some of these themes and modules with newer versions, while other themes and modules can’t be replaced and I’ll need to shift to different themes and modules.

Hence, it’s going to be additional work for me but I think I can “save” all the DNN sites I’m running and bring them all back up to speed with DNN 9.1. This work will likely take me through the remainder of 2017, so please be patient with me. Note that I’ve already completed this process with my own original DNN site–that work can be viewed at http://thehway.thehway.com (as compared to the original site at http://www.thehway.com). There’s very little difference between the two!

So, if you’re still one of my DNN-based clients, you won’t need to migrate to WordPress anytime soon. In fact, at this point I’m tentatively planning to keep the DNN instances running indefinitely and give my future clients a choice of what platform they want to use (DNN, WordPress and even Joomla if desired). Further, I plan to get back to programming and custom development with DNN, something I did quite a bit last year in the development of my online role-playing game InfiniQuests. Again, for my DNN-based clients, this should all be good news, as you won’t need to migrate your site!

Note that as I do these migrations it would be best NOT to update your current DNN sites until I’m done with your specific site conversion. If you do need to make a site change, let me know so I can update the new version as well.

Thanks, everyone!

Scott


Professional web developer residing in Waunakee, Wisconsin.

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