October 17, 2007

Glossary of DotNetNuke Terms

Recently on DotNetNuke.com I have noticed a number of requests for a "DNN Definitions" document, or something of similar nature.  For those of us that have been using DotNetNuke for a while we become used to the terms that are used in everyday dealings with DNN and sometimes forget about the learning curve that comes with the first starts with DNN.  I have decided to try and build a listing of some of these terms, both from the infrastructure side of things as well as general admin functionality.  If you have additions to this list please post them in the comments or send me an e-mail!  I will try to update this more items come to mind.

Term Definition
Action Menu The action menu is a module level menu that appears typically in the upper left corner of the module, it is usually noted by a triangular icon pointing downwards.  After hovering over this icon you will see additional functions available to you for this specific module.  Import/Export functionality along with module settings are implemented here.
Admin Account This account is one of the default accounts created when you install DotNetNuke.  This account (username = admin) is the default site administrator account for your default portal.  Each portal is given a portal administration account when it is created.  This admin account has permissions to approve/edit/delete users, add/edit/delete pages, the ability to view the site log and other utilities.  This account CANNOT set SMTP settings or install new modules.
Admin Menu The "Admin" menu is a collection of menus that are only visible to admin or greater accounts.  This menu provides access to items such as "User Accounts", "Site Log" and "Langagues"
Child Portal A child portal is a portal account that is created UNDER a specific portal. For example if you have a website www.mysite.com, you could create a child portal for jobs as www.mysite.com/jobs/. This would be considered a child portal as it is fully contained within the parent.
Container A container is the object that a module is placed in, and is something typically created in conjunction with the sites skin.  For example the DNN skins come with 4 containers per skin package to help you get the exact look and feel that you want
Control Panel The control panel is the area that appears at the top of your site when logged in as a user with edit permissions to a specific page or the portal in general.  This panel is where you select modules for addition to the page as well as provides hotlinks for common administration functionality including the addition of new pages.
Design Mode Design mode is an option that is typically enabled by accident and can cause a lot of problems.  When enabled design mode will render ONLY the module containers and will not render any module content.  This is said to be helpful when organizing a page allowing you to see the modules close together and not cluttered with data.

This is a helpful feature if you have a non-functional module that cannot be deleted due to a javascript or other error when it is displayed!
Edit Mode Edit Mode is the mode that is typically used to view the site when logged in as an admin or host user.  This mode ensures that all administration functionality is available to you
Event Viewer The event viewer is a log available under the "Admin" menu that keeps track exceptions that have occured during the running of your DNN site.  Additionally information regarding application pool startups and shutdowns and user logins are all recorded here as well.  Admin users may only see messages relating to their portal in this log, host users may view ALL entries.

NOTE: If this becomes excessive in size it can cause performance issues.
File Manager The file manager is a utility availabe for both Admin (Portal) and Host levels.  It is a facility where you can upload files specifically for your portal via the DNN interface.
Host Account This account is one of the default accounts created when you install DotNetNuke. This account (username = host) is the default Superuser account for your DNN installation. This account has the highest permissions in your portal and is used to configure portals, configure SMTP settings, install/upgrade modules and other administrative duties.  This account also has all permissions of an "Admin" account.

This user can log into ANY portal in your DNN site.
Host Menu The host menu houses all "host" functions including; host settings, schedule, SQL, language, and other options
IPortable This is an interface that if supported by a module will allow users to import and export data from the module to transfer between module instances and portals
ISearchable This is an interface that is supported by a module will allow the modules content to be indexed by the DNN search indexer.  This will allow the content to be searched using the standard DNN search features
Language Editor This is the editor used to changed localized content.  You can modify the existing English values to change the default view or you can create new langage packs to allow additional langagues.  You can access this via both the Admin and Host menus.  Accessing it from the Admin menu will result in changes only affecting the current portal.  Access via the Host menu will result in all portals being modified.
Module A module is a specifically developed set of controls that provides functionality inside of a DotNetNuke. Modules are placed on pages and provide a specific function. Examples of modules include the text/html module (for text display), the documents module (for sharing documents), and the forum module. Modules must be installed by a Superuser or the "host" account.

Modules may be developed with C# or VB.net.
Module Settings This is the default settings section where you can configure the module container and any additional module level configuration.  You access this option using the Module's action menu
Panes References to "ContentPane", "LeftPane" etc all refer to the placement of a module inside the current skin.  Skin developers can create one or more "panes" for holding module instances. 
Portal A portal is one specific website.  Each DNN installation can handle multiple portals.

A portal can easily be identified as a collection of pages associated with a specific url, or sub folder.
Portal Alias A portal alias is used to link a specific input domain name or IP address to a DotNetNuke portal.  Each portal can have multiple aliases allowing you to serve the same content to multiple domains
Querystring The querystring refers to values that are passed via the website URL. Typically you will see the querystring as an ampersand delimited collection of name value pairs that are found just after the desired filename and a question mark. For example two querystring items itemId and productId would be displayed as follows. http://www.mysite.com/home.aspx?itemid=1&productid=2 when trying to view home.aspx. DotNetNuke contains a re-writer system that takes those values and embeds them into the URL so it would be like this within DNN http://www.mysite.com/itemid/1/productid/2/home.aspx
Schedule This is a menu option under the "host" menu and is where you can configure the time delay between execution for scheduled tasks such as the search engine scheduler and the users online purge methods.
Site Log This is an option available from the Admin menu and if enabled will allow you to view statistical information regarding user activity on your portal.

NOTE: if this grows to a large size it can cause performance issues with your site
Skin A skin is a collection of designs that are used to change the look and feel of a DNN site.  The skin defines the overall look of the site including a majority of the colors and the menu.  DNN Ships with two different packs of skins; dnn grey and dnn blue, within each package there are multiple layouts to choose from

Skins can be developed using standard HTML and tokens or you may modify the .ascx files created by DNN.
Skin Object A skin object is something designed to be included in a skin.  You install it like a module, but it is not something you can add to a page.  Examples of skin objects include the menu and logo controls.
Superuser Account A superuser account either refers directly to the "host" account created by DNN or any additional accounts created like it. Please see "Host Account" for details on permissions
Tokens Tokens are used in multiple locations within DNN.  They are used in the resource files for localization and allow you to put user specific informaiton into messages.  An example of a token is [Membership:Username]. 
View Mode This is a view option presented to individuals with edit permissions to a page allowing them to view the page in  the stanard view so they can see how the page will be displayed to users without edit permisions.
tags: DNN
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