We’ve been playing with DNN the last few months and so far it is proving to be worth the effort.

On the good side it is reasonably straight forward to get up and running, has all the basic building blocks we need in a content management system including security and simple workflow, and is reasonably easy to customise.

On the bad side, it is free (ie support is difficult) and documentation is very poor (in comparison to good products that is). Upgrades are tricky (they shouldn’t be) and because it has ‘a community of over 100,000’ behind it coordination of forums appears to be proving difficult for the core group (just try to find a solution to some of the quirks and you’ll be out of action for a while).

My favourite issue: when trying to get the forum component going I kept getting a null object reference. To cut a very long story short it was due to Norton Internet Security on my laptop. Turn off Norton and all was good. Bizarre.
There are a fair few bugs that I have workarounds for but to the team’s credit they are continually improving the core product. Releases are coming reasonably quickly.

Back on the good side, there are so many cheap components being developed for it that no matter what you are after for a portal site there is something out there already (see for example). And you can build your own modules aswell ofcourse. Even for our clients (we focus on the heavy database driven stuff) DNN is a compelling option to be incorporated into a solution for them.

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