Maybe you know DNN as a framework. Built to extend, to connect with other applications leveraging API’s etc. But it is also a full blown CMS where editors feel right at home. By default there is a WYSIWYG editor having all features you may expect. Editing text, including images, videos, all text options you know so well from Word, importing text…But maybe you want more control. In charge of what buttons are available in the WYSIWYG because you want to avoid people abusing them. DNN has an editor for the editor. And for the tech savvy editors…you can always switch to HTML or raw mode to include your snappy code. Still not enough? There are some awesome (free) plugins to support more advanced scenarios like structured content or classified content.
Context is everything. So, what better way to edit your content by just browsing to the page you want to edit? Click on the edit icon of the part you wish to edit and you’re good to go. It’s that simple. Do you prefer an admin back end? No worries, we’ve got you covered as well. All feels comfortable with drag&drop for sorting, right mouse clicks for options and all without page reloads.
Page management (in the Content section in the persona bar) gives you an overview of all pages in your website. It is structured like a site tree, so you can easily see if a page has child pages. Furthermore, page management gives you access to kinds of feature you want. Some of the most used:
Disable a page
Set permissions (view/edit) to a certain role or individual
Turn off indexing by search engines
Set the page as a link to another page or file
Add Title, description, meta tags
Move or delete the page
If you delete a page or a module and you think you shouldn’t have…happens to the best of us. Thank DNN for the recycle bin (Content section in the Persona bar). You can easily choose a page, a module or a user and restore this.
User management, roles & granular permissions
One of the great features of DNN! Of course, you can create users. And you can create roles. The great thing is that you can combine this with permissions to whatever you like. This allows you to create a page for your HR department and have them manage their own content. Or maybe a special section for your management team that only they can view.
You can even take this one step further as the permissions can also be applied to a single module. This would allow you to grant your HR department edit rights to the job opening module on the homepage and not the entire homepage
You want more? We got more. Thanks to social groups (another module) you can create interactive pages for people within the same social role or security role. There are even vendors that have implemented this structure of roles & permissions to their modules. This allows you to grant edit right to a single line within a table of your database.
Digital asset management
Usually a cms has the abillity to upload pictures. The difference with the digital asset manager (DAM) is that DNN offers much more flexibility.
You can create (sub)folders
You can upload any type of file that you want, provided that you don’t want to upload a ‘forbidden’ extension although you could even allow those as well.
You can rename your files
You can set permissions on folders (only HR department or members of project X can view)
Download the file
Get the url
Create database folder or secure folder (by default when a file is uploaded, anyone with the link can view and these types of folders allow you to restrict that)
Multi sites, multi tenancy…there are several terms for the same thing. You want to be able to run your corporate website, your marketing website and your special project website on the same DNN host. And your boss just arrived: can you create another website about the company & sustainability? Yes, you can. In fact, it’s just a button click away and all existing themes and modules are at your disposal.
Full text search
The full text search in DNN is packed with features. For instance, you can flag which modules should be indexed. This way you can index your knowledge base but exclude users, for instance. But also allow wild cards, show description and show a content snippet where your keyword is highlighted. Are we done? No, sir/madam. We also have the ‘last updated’ indicator, show the source and even tags if you have tagged the page or the content. Clicking this tag will refine your search within the search results.
If you have a CMS/framework/platform that is highly customizable, you might want to customize the user profiles too. And of course, you can. Create a new field, choose the type like text field, option list, text area, decide whether it is a required one and you’ll be off in no time. If you find yourself creating lots of fields, you’ll want to combine them in tabs for better UX. Great thing about these profile fields: many of them can be reused in tokens.
Whether there is an error in the content to be fixed or you have no idea who was in charge of a particular section of the website 2 years ago, you want to have insights. In DNN you have version control: insights of who changed the content and when. And of course, you can roll back if the previous version is the better one. But there is more…In the admin log there are over 130 events that can be logged. And you can get an email if you want for each instance. or set a threshold because you don’t want a billion emails. And those emails can be set per event so the one in charge of security gets different warnings than the chief editor.
Yes, DNN is GDPR compliant. Besides the technical stuff, you still need some work yourself to be fully compliant. A comprehensive rundown can be read on https://dnndocs.com/content/features/privacy/data-consent/index.html
By default DNN supports multi language. Add any language you want, have translators in the workflow and publish a page or an entire language when you’re happy. You can even set the fall back language per language…This way Poland can have German as fall back language whereas The Netherlands have English as a fall back. Good to know: most extensions that are out there, support the multi language feature as well.
Yes, we know…editors should stay away from the CSS. But some tech savvy editors do want that kind of freedom. So, we tucked it away a bit. Not for all editors (who are more than likely to have their own opinion about colors. fonts and tables) but for admins. Create your own classes, save and your work is the last of the cascade so you can actually admire your work.
Where to start…DNN might be one the most feature rich SEO supporting content management systems out there. Have a cup of coffee for this one:
Titles, descriptions and key words on all levels. So, site, page and even modules
Sitemap, Sitemap settings
Search engine priority on page level and module level, also exclude from indexing
Search engine submission (perfect if your company or institution has no Google Search Console)
Convert urls to lower case
Convert accented characters
Redirect mixed case to prevent duplicate content
In some cases you want to take a look at the database. And it can be annoying to startup your SQL management studio, get the credentials etc. Just slide in the SQL console and do the work. Of course it does not have all the bells and whistles but it is a huge time saver. No need to say this feature is not for everyone…
Export / Import
So, you just created your awesome application form on your local machine. All things you wondered if they were possible…yes, they are. But now, it needs to be on the live website. Surely, you don’t have to start from scratch? Indeed, you don’t have to! Export the module from you local machine and import on the live website. That’s it. All modules that support iPortable offer this feature.
We are taking this one step further. You can even export an entire website as a template. And import the website when creating a new website in your multi tenant setup. Common scenario for this is project websites. The base structure is often the same for all projects. From there you can divert if you want to but site template can save a lot of manual labour.
Because DNN is built for extensibility, there is a seperate section for connections. By default we have Google Analytics and a Azure connection for you, but you can add more if you want to. You want to connect Marketo, Hubspot or Sharepoint? This is the section for you.
If you can automate stuff you don’t like doing by hand…we have the DNN Scheduler. Indexing the search engine, purging cache, send emails etc. There is a whole bunch by default but you can easily add your own.
Ok, here’s a combo of extensions that work together and leverage other core functions like users and roles. Ready for this ride?
First of all we have groups. This is different from roles as it does not need to implicate restrictions or permissions. One can simply belong to a group, like a project or department.
Second we have the member directory. This extension does what it sounds like: it shows members. And it does more. You can filter your members, sort them and display in all kinds of ways. If you combine these features with groups or the file manager or a forum…Imagine the possibilities!
You can setup an entire site or a project group, only accessible for people in a certain group where they can discuss, find their files and profiles. And to add more social experience you can add the Journal. This feels very familiar as it resembles the Facebook timeline. Automatically, it aggregates what’s happening in the forums, the blog, event registrations and all your goodies. But it also offers a place where people can post, reply, like attach files etc. See someone you like? Add him/her as a friend and you can send messages and view their posts that are tagged as ‘for friends only’.