DotNetNuke Business Model and Product Roadmap (Part 1 of 2)

April 20, 2009


DotNetNuke Business Model and Product Roadmap (Part 1 of 2)

Development of DotNetNuke 5.1 Community and Professional Editions is progressing at full speed. It took us quite a bit of time to analyze dependencies, evaluate resource availability, determine viability and clearly define scope. As a result, until now, we did not publish a roadmap for DNN 5.1. The lack of published and authoritative roadmap details and a general misunderstanding about our business model has caused some confusion in the community.

In this, the first of a two-part series, I will make an attempt to clear this confusion and bring clarity on two topics:

1) Our business model: I’ll explain our business model and how it underscores our commitment to Community Edition and the overall DotNetNuke ecosystem. This is the subject of my first post.

2) Product roadmap: I’ll review the research, planning and decision-making process on how the roadmap for both Community and Professional Editions is determined. Then I’ll outline the release 5.1 roadmap for both Community and Professional Editions. This is the subject of my second post.

Our business model

DotNetNuke Corp. has an “Open Core” business model. In plain English this means that our free, community product and our paid, commercial product have a common, free, Open Source Core. This begs the question, what exactly is the DotNetNuke Core?

The DotNetNuke Core refers to the base combination of DotNetNuke framework libraries and extensions required to have an operational DotNetNuke website. Any additional extensions included in the distribution, even if they are not enabled by default, are also considered Core extensions.

The Core thus consists of the DotNetNuke framework libraries; all providers; all administrative modules; all control panels; the Text/HTML module; the default skin/containers; all skin objects; and all widgets included in the DotNetNuke distribution.

Both Community and Professional Editions share this identical DotNetNuke Core, which is why our business model is called “Open Core.” Given this context, it is worth emphasizing the implications of this business model:

  • The Core is and will remain free and Open Source. This is essential for the continued success of DotNetNuke.
  • Any enhancements made to the Core framework libraries are ALWAYS available to both Community and Professional Editions.
  • Any enhancements made to any Core extensions are ALWAYS available to both Community and Professional Editions

On the topic of Core enhancements, there have been some questions about whether any will be made in the future. The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” This is clearly evident by reviewing the DNN 5.1 roadmap. Also consider that since 2006, over 95% of the Core development has been done by employees or consultants paid for by DotNetNuke Corp. Given the investment we have already made and the fact that the Core forms the foundation for both our products, continuing to invest in improving and enhancing it is the best decision for the company and the community.

Now, let’s examine each of the editions to understand how they are similar and different purely from a software standpoint.

The DotNetNuke Community Edition package includes the DotNetNuke Core and DotNetNuke Community Extensions developed and maintained by one of the many volunteer-based DotNetNuke Project teams. The result is a complete solution that is suitable for many different scenarios.

The DotNetNuke Professional Edition package includes the DotNetNuke Core, DotNetNuke Community Extensions and DotNetNuke Professional Extensions. The result is a complete solution that is suitable for mission-critical business scenarios where the desired level of performance or functionality is not achievable using only the Core or Community Extensions. In such situations, the user can purchase the desired extensions from a third-party, develop them in-house or opt for the convenience of getting a single package – DotNetNuke Professional Edition.

Let’s address the questions this raises:

Q: Why is it necessary for DotNetNuke Corp. to bundle its extensions into a separate package instead of making them available separately for purchase like other extensions made by third-party vendors?

A: Our target customer is a business that is looking for a fully-integrated, supported solution and not a build-your-own package. By offering a packaged solution, we address this need. A good analogy is the automotive industry. Consumers do not have the time, skills or resources to assemble a safe and reliable car even though parts are available. They prefer to buy a fully assembled, tested vehicle that has a warranty and which they can start driving immediately.

Q: Does this mean that DotNetNuke Corp. will no longer enhance any of the Core Extensions?

A: That is certainly not the case. Since we have an Open Core business model, we absolutely must continue to enhance the Core Extensions as they are vital to the continued success of both DotNetNuke Community Edition and DotNetNuke Professional Edition. For example, our roadmap for this year includes significant enhancements to the user experience of Core Extensions the scope of which is greater than any prior effort to improve DotNetNuke’s usability.

Q: What types of extensions will DotNetNuke Corp. include with Professional Edition?

A: In general, we will include extensions that are clearly of interest to larger, more mission-critical business. The feature areas will include advanced security, performance, commerce and scalability.

Q: Can third-parties build extensions for Community Edition that provide similar functionality to DotNetNuke Professional Extensions?

A: Of course. Since the DotNetNuke Professional Extensions leverage the extensibility built-into the DotNetNuke Core that is common to both editions, third-parties have an equal opportunity to build similar (or better) extensions. This is no different than what many third-parties are doing today given the vast number of extensions — free and commercial — already available to DNN users.

Q: Will source code for DotNetNuke Professional Extensions be included with Professional Edition?

A: No. Source code will not be distributed; however, it will be held in escrow for Professional Edition customers.

Q: Will DotNetNuke Professional Extensions ever be available in Community Edition?

A: Yes. In some cases we may choose to migrate specific extensions from Professional Edition to
Community Edition.

Q: Will third parties be able to build functionality on top of DotNetNuke Professional Extensions?

A: Yes. However, at this time there is no extensibility provided in DotNetNuke Professional Extensions. This does not stop ISVs from building product versions which are targeted at Professional Edition customers.

To summarize:

  • DotNetNuke Corp. has an Open Core business model
  • The DotNetNuke Core will continue to be enhanced, benefitting both Community Edition and Professional Edition users
  • DotNetNuke Community Edition is applicable to most usage scenarios
  • DotNetNuke Professional Edition is applicable to larger, more mission critical business environments

Hopefully this post answered many of the community’s questions about the DotNetNuke Corp. business model, specifically as it pertains to the similarities and differences between DotNetNuke Community and Professional Editions.

In my next post – DotNetNuke Business Model and Product Roadmap (Part 2 of 2) – I will provide some background and insights into how we develop the DotNetNuke product roadmap and also share the roadmap for DotNetNuke 5.1 Community and Professional Editions.

Founder NftyDreams; founder Decentology; co-founder DNN Software; educator; Open Source proponent; Microsoft MVP; tech geek; creative thinker; husband; dad. Personal blog: Twitter: @techbubble
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