In 2005 when the BlueBolt partners founded our Chicago interactive agency, we quickly realized that whether or not our prospects realized
it, they needed a CMS to manage their website content. After doing a
deep discovery into all things CMS, we chose to support DotNetNuke
(DNN). We were (and are) a Microsoft shop, and it was open source/free
to us and our clients. Since then, BlueBolt has developed its own brand
of DotNetNuke functional modulescalled PackFlash, which we think are
best-in-class within the DNN Community and marketplace. Later, we
realized we needed to support an enterprise-level CMS, so we forged a
strategic relationship with Bridgeline Digital, and now also support
Bridgeline’s iAPPS suite of products in Chicago and beyond.
Shameless Plug: I will be co-hosting a webinar on CMS selection with Bridgeline’s SVP
of Sales on Wednesday, April 19.
Use this link and Tune in!
ok, we needed to confidently pick a few products to suggest for our
clients. But, how did we land on DNN (and why did we develop our own DNN
content module suite?) and Bridgeline?
Answer: Integrated Extensions. As in, real integration between the modules.
are thousands of Content Management Systems to choose from. A developer
like BlueBolt simply cannot learn how to use and support ALL of them.
We chose DNN and iAPPS because we think they are the best suited to
satisfy the needs of our clients.
No, neither platform is perfect for everyone. You can’t buy perfection at any cost, at least not out of the box.
So, Why Dotnetnuke and Bridgeline’s iAPPS?
Dotnetnuke is the most widely adopted Web content management
platform for building websites and Web applications on Microsoft .NET.
We quickly realized DNN has a large user community and they have a
vibrant marketplace for functional extensions (now called the DNN store, it used to be Snowcovered).
Still, we found that while there are
countless modules developed specifically for DNN, almost none of them
were architected to work with one another. Sure, it can be assumed that
3rd party DNN modules adopt the DNN core elements (e.g.,
user/permissions, upgrade potential, similar content editor, common
templating system, etc...), but what about relating content to each
other, and providing advanced ways of categorizing that content across
content types? There were no out-of-the-box, all-encompassing, dynamic, content publishing solutions for DNN.
So, unless a client had ample
budget to include a whole lot of customizations to module code,
developers like BlueBolt were challenged to use DotNetNuke for some
clients who had advanced online publishing requirements. Some of those
challenges included the following:
Modules from different vendors likely have inconsistent database structures, making it hard for them to “work together.”
Searching content across modules becomes challenging.
Extremely difficult to relate content across modules, such as serving up a video that is related to a specific blog post.
User Experiences for different modules were inconsistent, making client training and adoption more difficult.
So, seeing those limitations to existing products in the marketplace, we
founded another brand, PackFlash, to create our own DotNetNuke modules.
Like most of the other 3rd party content modules available to the
community, our modules use DNN’s core, but we built them to be aware of
each other and INTEGRATED to each other to solve the challenges above.
Finally, in January 2012, we launched our new DNN module Suite called
PackFlash Constellation. In so many ways, it is what we needed seven
years ago when we started our web consulting business, and it is
available for sale now to those who also see the value of integration
Bridgeline Digital’s iAPPS
We have realized that DotNetNuke, even with PackFlash
Constellation, may not be suitable for all web development clients.
Sometimes, instead of strong online publishing needs, clients require
enterprise document management, maybe even to include a fully INTEGRATED
ecommerce engine, integrated analytics, marketing automation, and email
communication tools. These are the areas where iAPPS excels.
still, there are a multitude of other ASP.net CMS solutions that we
could partner with and support. Why iAPPS? The short answer is because
Bridgeline architects and develops iAPPs themselves. They are not like
some of the major CMS vendors, who acquire, not build their own
components, seemingly with no care for how hard it might be to “cobble
together” those products to make them work as one piece of software. The
point is that Bridgeline builds their own tools, architecting them to
work together seamlessly. The Bridgline iAPPS suite includes their CMS,
an ecommerce module, an analytics product, and an email marketing
extension. This grouping provides for a solid module suite, an unmatched
user experience and a straightforward approach to extending those
elements further to match exact client needs.
The reasons we
developed PackFlash Constellation (or extending DotNetNuke) are similar
to the reasons why Bridgeline’s team developed their own tools: because
the CMS market needs dynamic, integrated extensions that provide for
rich online experiences and content delivery mechanisms across modules.
For some website solutions, integration between modules makes all the difference.