Last night we had another great meeting! The meeting started out with David Poindexter of nvisionative and nvQuicksite fame covering the announcements portion of the meeting.
- ManDeep - David gave kudos to our sponsors and since ManDeep Singh was on the meeting he gave a special shout out to ManDeeps for sponsoring our group by providing a Porto skin file + LiveBlog module. Both are great and very flexible if you have not worked with them before.
- WhenHub – Many of you are familiar with Nik Kalyani, one of the co-founders of DNN. Nik and his team have released a beta version for one of his new startup initiatives. This one is called “WhenHub” and they provide an app called Approach. David and I used Approach last night to see how close we were to arriving to the user group meeting. You can sign up for the WhenHub Beta here.
- Ralph’s Blog Series – During the announcements section, there were rumors of an upcoming SPA blog series by the one and only MC Ralph Williams. Be expecting that buried somewhere in between the 3SXC blogs ;-)
- Geoff Barlow’s Themes – David pointed out that we have a European community member who has dropped some neat, open source themes lately. Geoff Barlow recently released DNN Bootster and DnnMDesign themes. David has worked with and seemed to like the DnnMDesign theme as it works under Google’s “Material Design” principles.
Featured Speaker – Joe Brinkman
Our main speaker for the evening was DNNCorp co-founder, Joe Brinkman of LeBron James fanboy fame! Joe’s topic was “Thinking Outside the DNN Box” and it was an interesting look at things. This session expanded upon Joe’s DNNCon Ignite session and was a pre-cursor to his upcoming DNN-Connect session.
In Joe’s session he encouraged us to think differently about what we can do with DNN. He noted that not thinking outside the box often limits the types of things we can do with DNN. Striving to push the DNN envelope of creativity Joe stated “I often find that if you dig deeper, the limitations are more perceived and those limitations constrain us”. Joe gave examples of us being constrained by page layout, containers, and available space on the screen and provided some examples of how developers are breaking out of that mindset.
Joe got to the meat and potatoes portion of the session and showed us 3 examples of modules that break the mold when it comes to conventional module design patterns and techniques. These 3 modules all jump out of the envisioned container space and go full-screen. This technique allows module developers to present any UI or experience they want without worrying about the site that lays just beneath the pop-up. In some cases you don’t even see the DNN control panel.
I’m not including screenshots of these because they don't do them justice, but be sure to see them in action on the video. Also you can download these modules to test them out:
- DNNDevTools – Jan Jonas & Matthias Benfer
- MyDNNLiveChat – Mohammad Mehdi & Eskandari Jajarm
- UManage – Davide Espertini, Davide Galimberti, Paolo Roth, & Matteo Benedusi
After showing us these 3 examples Joe again restated that we should really free our minds and think differently about how we build modules. He then moved to using Google Analytics as an example. Often times we think of Google Analytics being a simple embed script and then we see the analytics, but it is also possible to leverage the same API to embed charts and graphs in your site. It’s really just how we look at it and what our use case is and Joe noted that ultimately all of the code runs on Google’s infrastructure.
Cloud Apps in DNN
Joe’s Google Analytics example lead to the next topic of Cloud Apps in DNN. He then broke bad and opened up Visual Studio Code to create a quick app. Within minutes he created an app that referenced an external form from WuFoo. He created a view.html & a DNN manifest file and he had a working module!
After that example he shifted to Microsoft’s PowerBi tool. He showed us an example module that pulled charts and data from PowerBi into DNN. Here again the bulk of the code for the module is running in Azure and uses Microsoft’s Azure Service Fabric. Joe discussed building services in the cloud and then essentially tying those into DNN modules. He didn’t get into many details, but did say he would expand upon those micro-services at DNN-Connect.
It was definitely a different take on module development and it seemed that one way to create modules of the future may be simply tying various services together and leveraging them from within DNN. Joe noted that going about it this way allows for dynamic scaling in the cloud and allows DNN to offer features to other platforms and systems.
In the end Joe restated his goal with this talk by saying “All the things we’ve historically perceived as limitations of the platform are just perceived. It’s not as hard as we think”.
Ryan Moore of XMOD and Moore Creative Co fame got up and wound the meeting down for everyone. In Ryan’s section he again thanked the DNNCon sponsors, asked people to take the DNNCon survey (if you haven’t yet) and spoke to how he and his company really love going to DNN conventions and conferences because they refuel him. He noted that the part he loves is connecting and networking with everyone at events. He gave shout outs to the newly revived Minnesota DNN UG lead by Brad Murray and Erik Hinds and again encouraged people to check out Ron Miles’ Ignite Session which was one of the greatest ignite sessions ever presented at a conference!
Thanks to all who attended in person and online… see you next month!