Professional DotNetNuke 5, published by Wrox, is the first major book to cover the new 5.x release of DotNetNuke, and it’s assuredly the best book on the subject. With the exception of the first chapter, which covers the evolution of the DotNetNuke framework and appears to be in the book only to justify Shaun Walker, Wrox DotNetNuke Series Editor, getting a portion of the royalties, this book is packed with useful information. From installing DotNetNuke through administering the portals to using DotNetNuke as a development framework, the materials are covered in detail and in suitable depth for the audience.
The audience for this book is not those users or administrators who simply want an out-of-the-box product, and to be honest, the DotNetNuke framework isn’t really intended for that audience either. The framework is just that, a development framework, aimed at developers. And for that audience this book shines. The second half of this book is almost exclusively aimed at developers writing custom modules for the framework and, if you’re going to get much out of this book, there is an assumption that the reader is a reasonably proficient ASP.NET developer.
Much of the development that programmers would do within the DotNetNuke framework hasn’t changed since version 4.x of DotNetNuke, but the limited changes are significant to developers. This book dives deep into the use of the DotNetNuke core APIs, especially as they apply to module developers. It also extensively covers the use of the ASP.NET membership functions, including roles and profiles, as well as the additional attributes added by the DotNetNuke framework. The latest versions of the DotNetNuke framework incorporate ASP.NET 3.5 features and, in addition to the membership and security enhancements in the ASP.NET 3.5 framework, LINQ now plays a prominent role in module development.
The last quarter of the book is a walk through of developing a simple module for the DotNetNuke framework. While this module could easily be developed in the DotNetNuke 4.x framework version, the walk through does cover changes to the framework found in the new version. The book finishes with a simple explanation of skinning the DotNetNuke portal, although the explanation is too simplified and reads like it was stripped from the DotNetNuke documentation.
And that’s the beauty of this book and those like it. DotNetNuke has always had woefully pitiful documentation, rarely updated and released well behind the updates to the framework. Books like these are often the only documentation available to users of the DotNetNuke framework. And unfortunately, in a few months much of this book may be out of date as the framework is updated.
Professional DotNetNuke 5: Open Source Web Application Framework for ASP.NET
By Shaun Walker, Brian Scarbeau, Darrell Hardy, Stan Schultes and Ryan Morgan
Published February 2009 by Wrox
Paperback, 600 pages
This review is solely based on the opinions of one, somewhat insignificant, blog. While we would love to believe that we are the most important influence in your life’s decisions, in reality we probably don’t know what we’re talking about. So if you rely on this review to purchase, or reject, this book, don’t blame us if you think you made a bad decision. We’re not threatening to give you a wedgie if you don’t see things our way.