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Document Exchange 5.3.0 Released


Multiple file upload

This request pops up regularly. For a long time users wanted to be able to select multiple files to upload despite the fact that you can already zip/upload/unzip. And the RadUpload component we use actually supports that scenario. But this feature required a significant rewrite of Web UI editing logic. At long last this has now been done. So in this new version you can upload more than one file in a single upload action.

Sprites and Ajax UI overhaul

Due to its media rich nature, the Ajax UI needed to download many images. The menu has small icons in it. The file list shows files with their respective icons. Etc etc. There is an exciting new trend in web design and that is the use of sprites. Technically this is not trivial and involves merging all icons into a single image file and then making sure a stylesheet knows exactly where they are on the big image. The result is faster load times as only a single call is made to the database for the larger image. In DMX 5.3 most icons are now in a single sprite. Css has also been merged into a single file to decrease the number of server calls. In all we managed a reduction of around 50% in calls for a single DMX page load (most remaining calls are due to the underlying technologies supplied by Microsoft and ComponentArt). Please refer to the installation notes in the forum if you're using templated view and you see missing images.

At the same time as implementing sprites we decided to sink our teeth into another one of those lingering issues: the nagging little glitches in the Ajax UI. It has been very hard to get rid of unwanted whitespace and the odd line of pixels that could inject itself. Especially when viewed in different browsers and with different doc types (HTML/XHTML) there were little discrepancies. The main reason this part of the module is not touched on the “small” releases is that this is extremely time consuming. Fixing something for one browser/doctype usually means it breaks in another. For this release many days were spent trying to iron out all these issues for this new release and make it faster at the same time. The grid now scrolls faster, the details screen appears faster and the menu loads faster than in 5.2.

Settings management

DotNetNuke is a terrific system to program in. But we quickly did find some boundaries. One of those is that DNN was not designed to handle modules that share their content across multiple instances. DMX shares its document tree across a portal. And the categories, attributes, etc. Subsequently there are also settings that need to be stored/retrieved/cached across the portal. Because DNN only knows a settings container for a single module instance, DMX used to store its settings in XML config files on disk. A downside to this was that files can become read-only if a customer moves a complete site from one place to another. Time and again we had to explain that the file permissions need to be properly permutated to all files of the installation or the settings won't "stick". In DMX 5.3 we moved all settings (and license details) to a table in SQL. So the errors due to site moving should be a thing of the past now.

Viewing files

An oft heard request is to see the contents of files online. A competing product would do this whereas DMX was more focused on management and security. Now DMX 5.3 introduces inline viewing of files. And this is extensible. A trademark of the DMX system. Several viewers have been included in this version: text, html, images, and PDF. Expect to see this list grow in the future. Note this feature is currently only available in the Ajax UI and not in the templated UI.

Editing directly

Some file formats are so simple we could edit them online. I'm off course referring to text and html. DNN comes with an integrated html editor so why not use that to edit html files. And a simple textbox is trivial to implement, so we can edit text files online, too. DMX 5.3 introduces "Create" to create a text or html file in the current folder. It also allows for editing a new version of an existing text or html file.


Although DNN 5 is almost 2 years old we realize there are still a significant number of you on DNN 4 installations. But as we move forward we want to start leveraging new features of the framework. This is the basic push and pull that makes dependencies complex. For several years DMX has had a dependency on DNN 4.6.2. This was necessary to introduce the templated view that uses a DNN API feature called "token replace". Although many colleagues of mine have begun enforcing DNN 5, I feel we can still do one cycle on DNN 4. There was one feature I wanted to capitalize on: jQuery. That was introduced in the DNN 4.9 cycle. So the new dependency is 4.9.2. This means you have to have a DNN with that version or higher to run this module! Do NOT install it on a DNN that has a lower version number. Note that I urge anyone to keep up with DNN releases and if you are stuck on DNN 4 to at least attempt to migrate to 4.9.5. This release of DMX was extensively tested on DNN 4.9.5 and 5.5.1. I expect that this will be the last major release for DNN 4 and that the next major release will have a DNN 5 dependency. We also updated the ComponentArt dll from a 2008 to 2010 version. I don't expect you will notice anything different as the control set is basically the same.

.Net versions

A final note about .net framework versions. Since a number of major releases DNN depends on .net 3.5. This includes MS Ajax. In previous releases DNN would ship with the MS Ajax 1.0 library. Our support for DNN 4.9.5 means DMX needs to run on both MS Ajax 1.0 and 3.5. And as far as we can tell this has been achieved. We did, however, notice that sometimes a yellow JS error triangle could appear at the bottom of your IE if you're on MS Ajax 1.0. This did not impact any function or even the UI. But it seems to be impossible to get a complete transparent compatibility. This will be the reality until we stop supporting DNN 4 I believe.


Find the module through the regular channels: on this site (download link on the home page or here) or through your Snowcovered account. Please read the release notes in the forum post here:

I hope you will enjoy this product and I thank you for your support over the years.

Peter Donker