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DotNetNuke 5 Compatibility Issues

A recent change to the PageBase class in DNN has caused aspx pages to break in 3rd party modules.


In Document Exchange that means that scripts will not run, RSS will not work, and even some of the Ajax callbacks (getting new nodes on the folder tree) are also broken. Enough has been said and complained recently of changes at DNN Corp. Instead I’d like to elaborate a little on how we are working to avoid this from happening again. As most of you know I am also a Core Team member with the DotNetNuke project. Some of my tasks include involvement in core module development (Newsfeeds, Blog) and localization. Another effort I’m involved in is the so-called “health team” which signals issues relating to the health of the DotNetNuke community/eco-system and proposes solutions. The recent mishaps in DNN releases (05.03.00 broke a number of “social’ modules) fall into this category. They threaten the future of the project and need to be addressed.

A principal cause of the breakages is the rigid release cycle to which DNN Corp has committed itself. Every quarter there is a minor release, every Month a bugfix release. The dates for these cannot be missed. And they didn’t miss these dates, it has to be said. But what has suffered as a result is “public beta testing”. Although DNN Corp now has its own Q&A team, that can not replace the Q&A of a public beta release. The internal Q&A team only can and will focus on functional testing of the framework (i.e. can you add/manage pages/modules etc). What it can’t do is to see if it breaks existing stuff out there. This is also a good place to inject a note in their defence. Since receiving funding they have embarked on a very ambitious re-architecting and extension of the platform. Notably the inclusion of the Telerik control suite (and the hiring of UX experts) promises to enhance many UI aspects. But by now DNN, like any complex piece of software, is like a game of Mikado. You pull one stick, and other bits begin to move. Despite valiant efforts to keep the API backward compatible, some changes cause breakage. Rather than focusing on avoiding breakage, we should focus on having a process to detect and repair them.

This post is to let you know that currently we are working on establishing such a process. Elements will most likely include a fixed period of public beta testing, better broadcasting of changes and better communications about the framework roadmap. I’m not in a position to commit to any of this as that is for DNN Corp. But I am committing to doing all I can to keep this on the radar of those concerned and helping where I can to get this in place. For my sake and yours.

In the meantime I strongly urge that you only use DotNetNuke 04.09.05 or 05.02.03