First things first. If you haven't yet upgraded to DNN 9.4.4, or at the very least to DNN 9.3.2, then we suggest that you do. Now that we have that out of the way....
Because we are at the start of a new decade it is a good time to reflect on what was a big 2019 for DNN and for the DNN Community. Since the acquisition of DNN Corp. by ESW in August 2017, there has been some good momentum from the community in taking back control of the open source project (where it is actually an open source project again after many years), and not just for the sake of being in control, but to position DNN to grow again. What we want are more DNN websites, more active developers and more vendors building modules (to add more funcitonality).
As DNN implementers, we feel that these steps are noticeable and positive. I feel more confident now in DNN as a long term solution for my clients than I have felt in a long time. There seems to be a roadmap in place and plenty of people in the community putting in many hours of their valuable time to improve all aspects of DNN. Here I will touch on some of the improvements and news that has taken place.
There were several releases in 2019 which kept DNN developers and website administrators on their toes applying upgrades. While this is a time consuming process, the positive is that the regular releases are a sign of an active project where issues are raised and improvements are released on a regular basis. In past years where DNN Corp. was the custodian of the source code, there were big bottlenecks in fixing issues raised by the community, where DNN Corp. was the custodian of the code, the greater control provided to the community has meant that issues raised are fixed quicker and improvements are also launched more quickly.
Mitchel Sellers has written an excellent recap on how the Technology Awareness are of focus has improved https://dnncommunity.org/blogs/Post/2848/Major-Infrastructure-Changes-to-DNN-Platform
Groups Areas of Focus
DNN platform is now largely a community driven project. which provides great benefits for DNN developers and website admins. There have also been improvements in the messaging of DNN, with the various Ecosystem Awareness Groups (EAGs):
In December 2019 there was a subtle renaming of these 'groups' to "areas of focus" as mentioned by David Poindexter who is now working on Strategy https://dnncommunity.org/blogs/Post/3492/Strategy-Strategy-Strategy
The release of the DNN Community website by the Awareness Area of Focus, led by Will Strohl, will also benefit the community including people brand new to DNN as well as developers looking for solutions to their various technical issues.
Regularly reading the Community blog is a simple way to stay up to date with the latest releases, helpful info on troubleshooting as well as what's happening with the open source module developers.
Looking ahead in 2020
We seem to be reaching an inflexion point where DNN will have to be adapted to run on newer technology. What this new technology is, I don't believe has been fully decided yet. There has been a lot of talk about a .NET Core base as well as having a more modern front end layer. It isn't clear when this will happen however an interesting development is the imminent launch of Oqtane by Shaun Walker. You can read more about it here https://www.oqtane.org/Resources/Blog/PostId/537/oqtane-vs-dnn. What this means for the the longer term vision for DNN (if it means anything at all) is anyone's guess.
My prediction is that the first half of 2020 will see consistent DNN releases by the Technology and Developer Ecosystem Advisory Areas of focus. The reason we have had so many releases the past few months is because the team can build releases much more quickly than in the past. https://dnncommunity.org/blogs/Post/2862/Improving-the-build-process
The year 2020 will also see some hubub with the release of Vanjaro, https://www.vanjaro.com, where Mandeep Singh has been on a mission to bridge the gap between DNN and other CMS's and site builders such as Wix and Square Space. This, along with regular updates byt he regular and robust DNN developers, DNN Sharp, EasyDNNSolutions and in the open source space, 2sxc by 2sic will make this an interesting year.