I’ve been a fan of DotNetNuke for several years, but I haven’t had many opportunities to use it in the real world until recently. As I run into different business needs, I often face the eternal question about DotNetNuke modules: “Should I built it or buy it?” True, there are a lot of great modules available for sale, but there are also a surprising number of free modules available. I intend to catalog some of my favorites through this series.
When looking for a DotNetNuke module, most people start at SnowCovered.com which is the official DotNetNuke Marketplace. This is the most common place to find modules available for purchase. However, it occurred to me that if you go to their Modules category and sort by price, there are a number of modules listed for $0.00. If you click this link, you’ll see that the first 3-4 pages of results include dozens of free modules.
Another popular place to look is the DotNetNuke Forge which has a mix of free open-source modules and commercial modules for sale. It also provides downloads for official DotNetNuke projects that are not included in the main DNN installation process. On the main Forge screen, click the “Filter By” drop-down and select “Core DotNetNuke Projects” then click “Go” to search. You can also find Core Project updates on the New Releases page (note: you may need to register or log in to see the module downloads).
There are quite a number of open-source DotNetNuke projects available on CodePlex. Beware that these projects are in various stages of development, so unless you’re a developer willing to do some of your own quality assurance, I would stick to popular projects that have an active development community. If a project hasn’t been updated in a year, you should probably find an alternative.
In addition to these well-known freebie sources, there are quite a number of free modules and upgrades available from individual developers and companies. Following are a handful of my current favorites:
- Advanced Control Panel – by Oliver Hine. This is a replacement for the standard DotNetNuke control panel. It is a great step forward in ease of use for non-technical site administrators. The author also published several other free modules including a photo gallery, weather, file upload, Google Analytics enhanced tracking, and an enhanced permissions/workflow for content editing.
- Friendly URL Provider – by iFinity. While DotNetNuke did incorporate “friendly URLs” some time ago, this free module produces much shorter and cleaner URLs than the standard DNN provider. It even supports “extensionless” URLs and 301 redirects for non-friendly URLs. The author also sells the iFinity URL Master module for greater fine-tuning.
- NB_Store – on CodePlex. In my experience, the official DotNetNuke Store module has been clunky and flaky (and it caused my portal to be painfully slow until I manually deleted the module). NB_Store is a nice open-source alternative.
- DNN Menu – by DNN Garden. This is a search-engine friendly alternative to the default SolPartMenu and DNNMenu. There are commercial alternatives (like Snapsis Menu) but free is hard to beat.
- Amazon S3 Folders Provider – by Brandon Haynes. This is a file storage/retrieval provider using Amazon S3 to store files remotely. It adds remote storage to the regular file management of DotNetNuke and essentially allows websites to have unlimited file storage.
- DNN SiteMap Module – by Derek Trauger. This module displays a real-time HTML site map which is useful both for end users and search engines to find relevant content.
That’s nowhere near comprehensive, but it’s a good start. I’ll add more articles as I discover more noteworthy freebie modules. Please use the comments area to suggest your own favorite free DotNetNuke modules (no commercial advertisements, please). Happy coding!