The Engage Weblog

Brian Dukes
Brian Dukes has been working with Engage professionally since 2006, but has been writing code since around 1998. Brian is very passionate about writing code that is easily maintainable, and helping others to do the same. He has been a leader in the DotNetNuke Community, and can often be found speaking at conferences and helping others on twitter, github, and stackoverflow. DNN recognized his community efforts by awarding him the DNN MVP in 2012. Outside of work, Brian spends time with his family, serves Jesus at City Lights Church, as well as supporting social justice, fair trade, local, seasonable food, and international adoption.

Using JavaScript Libraries in DNN

by bdukes on Friday, January 23, 2015 1:00 PM

I've written a post about using JavaScript Libraries in DNN on the DNN community blog. We're excited about what it will look like for the community to start making use of this feature of the DNN Platform. Check it out!

Reviewing the Engage DNN Hackathon

by bdukes on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 1:00 PM

A couple of weeks ago, Engage shut down our offices for a day so that everyone in the company could work on making DNN better. The primary component that we wanted to focus on was the rich text editor, specifically making some investments in the CKEditor provider, so that it can replace the Telerik RadEditor provider (the community had already decided to migrate to the CKEditor for a number of reasons, so we wanted to ensure that we were migrating to something that we would want to use). I wanted to give a quick rundown of what we accomplished and what's next for the CKEditor in DNN.

Firstly, we contributed a new HTML Editor Manager module to the DNN core, which provides a place for any HTML Editor Provider to configure its settings (the current/old HTML Editor Manager page/module is specific to the RadEditor).

Secondly, in addition to that core contribution, we had a few contributions specifically to the CKEditor provider. Ingo Herbote has a well-thought-of provider for the CKEditor, which we used as a starting point. We standardized the editor's settings to use DNN's form patterns. We also adjusted how it renders content by default, so that as you're editing content, the site's styles are applied (including pulling in CSS from default, module, skin, container, and portal style sheets, as well as a custom style sheet just for the editor, if configured).

We also made some progress in other areas, but not enough to submit those changes as complete contributions. We're hopeful that we can finish that investment in the short term and get some more clean up into the project.

At this point in time, the HTML Editor Manager contribution will ship with DNN 7.4.0. In addition, the CKEditor provider will also ship in DNN 7.4.0 as an additional provider (i.e. RadEditor will still be installed by default). At some point in the future (probably no later than the DNN 7.5.0 release, but potentially earlier, in a point release to DNN 7.4.x), the RadEditor provider will no longer be the default, and new DNN installs will get the CKEditor provider by default.

One of the major tasks that DNN is undertaking for version 7.5 is to separate the Platform itself from the extensions that plug into that platform. As we were working on this provider, we realized that it made sense to start that task now by putting this provider in its own project, rather than within the DNN Platform repository. After some discussion among various folks, we settled on having the provider owned, managed, and maintained by DNN Connect, the non-profit association whose mission it is to promote and stimulate the open source DNN Platform. So, all of the work on the provider is now hosted on GitHub as part of the DNN Connect organization.

We think that this exercise ended up as a success. It was great to have everyone at Engage investing in the Platform, and getting used to both the mechanics of how to contribute and the idea of enhancing the open source projects that we depend on. I'd like to issue a challenge for other shops in the DNN ecosystem to consider taking some time to contribute, as well. As we work together to make our shared components better, we all win together. If you have any questions on how to get started contributing, personally or corporately, feel free to contact me for some guidance.

Come Hack on DNN with Engage

by bdukes on Friday, November 21, 2014 4:48 AM
Engage is hosting a hackathon in our St. Louis office to work together to better the DNN Platform.

What's been going on in the world of DNN development?

by bdukes on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:36 PM
A number of big changes have been going on in both the DNN and Microsoft communities.  I provide a run-down on my blog at

DNNCon 2013 Recap

by bdukes on Monday, October 21, 2013 3:51 AM

The Engage team just got back from attending DNNCon, where I gave two presentations, Creating URL Providers for Your Custom Extensions and Contributing to Open Source Projects on GitHub and CodePlex.  Jason Stone also presented Enterprise Social Networking - A Primer.


Speaking at DNNCon

by bdukes on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 11:00 AM
I'll be speaking at DNNCon in October, but maybe you should've been.  A call for more diversity in the DNN community...

Logging into DNN with Social Networks

by bdukes on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 10:00 AM

For I ♥ DNN, we wanted to bring the barrier to entry very, very low, so that anyone could join the conversation simply and easily, without having to create yet another website account. To that end, we wanted to allow folks to sign in with their existing social network logins: Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Since these are provided with DNN, we assumed it would be fairly simple to achieve our vision. However, we ran into a handful of obstacles that we worked to overcome in implementing the core social login providers, ultimately copying and extending them to better meet our needs.


DotNetNuke gets Southern Fried (again)

by bdukes on Monday, April 15, 2013 6:41 AM
The Southern Fried Day of DotNetNuke was a very well put-together conference hosted by QCDUG in Charlotte, NC.  I spoke for a couple of sessions, and enjoyed the time with the community, seeing what others are doing with DNN, and enjoying some great southern hospitality.

Razor Templates with DDR Menu in DNN 7

by bdukes on Friday, March 15, 2013 8:49 AM

At Engage, we've really enjoyed using DDR menu for our skins.  It gives us a lot more control than we had before with the DNN menu (or SolPart before it).  One of the great features that we enjoyed was the ability to define a menu template using the Razor template language.  This gives us full access to C# code within the menu template, making it simple to do whatever we want the menu to do.  However, we ran into a snag when we started trying to update our sites to DNN 7.

Back from DNN World 2012

by bdukes on Monday, October 15, 2012 10:44 AM

I just got back from presenting at DNN World 2012.  It was a good time to see all of the folks in the DNN community who love DNN and are working to move it forward.  DNN 7 is shaping up to be a wonderful major release with some well thought-out user experience changes, some great professional features, and developer productivity features, and the introduction of the forth-coming Nebula product is one to keep an eye on.

I started off the conference by presenting on developing functionality using the Knockout JavaScript library. I've embedded the presentation below, and used some demos which are now hosted on jsfiddle: Demo 1, Demo 2, Demo 3, Demo 4, Demo 5

In addition to presenting, I was able to walk away from the conference with a couple of awards. I was presented with one of ten DotNetNuke MVP awards for community contributions, which was very special. I've heard the sentiment from a few others, but it really is humbling and surprising to stand on the stage with folks whose work and dedication you respect. I don't see myself belonging with that group, but I'm pleased that the kind folks at DNN Corporation have a different view of it. I'm excited to see who joins the MVP ranks in the spring (they indicated that there will be MVPs names twice a year), as there are still quite a few folks who really deserve the title.

So, in addition to that award, I was able to get up on the stage again (with the rest of the crew from Engage) to help accept the Site-of-the-Year award (non-profit category) for Visit Yellowstone. This site was a lot of work, and we're really proud of how it came together. It's great to be recognized for that work.

We were also really proud of Clint for winning the DNN SuperFan award (as well as being a fellow MVP). We were all rooting for him at the office; he is, without a doubt, the biggest, most active and genuine fan of DotNetNuke that I know. Overall, the conference was a really enjoyable and gratifying experience that we're looking forward to for next year.