The DNN Summit 2017 was held in Denver, Colorado. This is a 3 part series of articles summarising the lessons learnt throughout the three days from my perspective as the owner of a web integration and development company specialising in the DNN platform to deliver solutions. I want this recap series to benefit website owners and where possible, DNN developers by providing information that while being non-technical nonetheless provides my persective on where DNN is heading.
Day 1 - The Code-Athon day
The one thing I told myself before writing this recap was “don’t make this an uncle Carlos slide night” where I bang on endlessly about each day in minutiae (to be fair to my uncle I used to enjoy his slides). But at the end of the day this particular recap has essentially become a slide night of the first day, in chronological order. Apologies.
This event began at 1.30pm so it gave me the morning to
casually sightsee frantically visit any shop on 16th street mall and at 'Uber distance' that sold computer equipment. Why? Because somewhere between Sydney and Denver lay the charger for my brand new laptop. At least it wasn’t the laptop. Or $3000 in cash (true story as by one of my Uber drivers in Denver who tried to make me feel better). More about the charger later.
So for the Code-Athon, I turned up a few minutes late and it was a packed house. As I didn’t know anybody I took the opportunity to sit in a friendly table of DNN Developers and actively introduced myself as one of the “ideas guys” because I don’t code. Even if they saw right through this, everyone was really nice and welcoming.
Lessons learnt and info worthy of sharing included:
- DNN is huge - I sometimes mention DNN as a niche CMS but at the Code-Athon I met so many people from both the private and public sector, all working with DNN Platform and Evoq (paid enterprise version).
- The DNN community is passionate about DNN - There vibe al the Code-Athon was great and everyone seemed to have a lot of knowledge of the inner workings of DNN. The conference organisers were expecting 250 - 300 people at the DNN Summit and this is only a smaller representation of the active community worldwide. What are the positives of an active DNN community? it means more 3rd party plugins to add extra functionality, better tested software and more places to receive help if you get stuck. You can see more info on the DNN Summit here.
- The latest version of DNN looks great - While DNN has always easily competed with other popular platforms as the CMS of choice for a robust and feature rich web presence, the UI & UX improvements in DNN 9 are intuitive and beautiful. DNN Corp has gone out of its way to provide a great interface and to reduce the number of clicks to perform all of the common website admin tasks. Here is where you can download it https://goo.gl/PhkUzy.
- Laptop chargers for a new Lenovo laptop are currently very hard to come by - Indeed they are! Yes I did end up buying a new charger thanks to the amazing help of Mark Saunders from 10 Pound Gorilla. After a number of trips to Best Buy and WalMart we went to Micro Center and they were the only shop in Denver with the multi-plug charger that fit my laptop.
- DNN is well suited for Enterprise level sites - There were many DNN developers at the Code-Athon in charge of Enterprise level sites. The developers I spoke to maintained very large sites with complex custom modules, lots of visitors and with content rich sites. They mostly ran a version Evoq but there were also developers working with DNN Platform. This highlights the versatility of DNN as a CMS from small to large scale implementations.
- The Code-Athon was a huge success in terms of turnout - There were many people attending the Code-Athon and it did spill over into the hallways. For the next DNN Summit (next year?) I propose a more structured approach with a predefined list of three or so enhancements. It is also inevitable that environments will take a while to set up and this was the biggest holdup during the session. the download of the solution. So I also suggest making the solution available beforehand.
A special thanks to Mark Saunders who took the time to drive me to Micro Center in the outskirts of Denver. And I appreciate the many insights you provided during the drive.