December 06, 2007

DotNetNuke Folder Types Explained

DotNetNuke includes 3 separate folder type options for portal administrators.  I have noticed recently that this is a function that not very many individuals were aware of; so I thought I would take the time to quickly explain the differences between the three and when you might use one over the other.  This article wil only cover what the different folder types are and their usage.  Not the actual implementation.

Via the DotNetNuke File Manager functionality the three options you are given for folder security are; standard file system, secure-file system, secure-database.  Below I will discuss each of these security levels in detail.  Please keep in mind that these values ONLY apply to specific folders inside your DNN folder structure they do not actually branch out and create any separate file structures.  You can see these options via file manager as in the image below.  (Taken from a DNN 4.6.2 install)

File Manager Folder Types

Standard File System

The standard file system is exactly what you might expect.  This is a method where you have a standard collection of files and folders and any files you upload will simply be available via the path to that folder.  This is the file system that most individuals are familiar with.  You would use this file system option when you are not concerned about access to your files, for example this is where you could place your logo file for your portal or a freely available image file.

Secure File System

A folder that is created as a "Secure File System" folder within DotNetNuke is a folder that will still store files in the logical file structure that you layout, however, the files within this directory will have .resources appended to the filename when it is saved.  This method prevents any person from linking directly to those files as ASP.NET will NOT serve .resources files to a remote browser.

Now, you can use this functionality to protect files that you don't want others to hotlink to.  You can utilize the DNN LinkClick.aspx file processor to actually serve the file up when it is needed which makes it possible for you to set the file view permissions to restrict the viewing to just authenticated users or any other selected role.  This provides a great means for you to protect your important data.

Secure Database

This final option is similar to the secure file system in that it provides a secure location for your files to be saved.  The difference is in where the actual files are stored.  With this option all files are actually stored in your sites' SQL Server database and are extracted and served to your users when needed.  Due to this I would only recommend using this option or HIGHLY secured files that you want to be 100% sure are embedded into your applications database.  If you are storing large files using this method you might notice that its performance is the slowest of all three options.

I hope that this has provided you with a helpful overview of each folder type available in DotNetNuke.

tags: DNN
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