It Takes A Fork To Stir A Community…
It is nice to see the community talking.
There has been some talk about DotNetNuke and Windows Azure for quite some time, so the topic isn’t really new. However to learn about DNN putting specific effort and custom code into getting DNN Evoq running on Azure was - thought provoking.
Windows Azure has never been important to Sprocket Websites. We know what it is, we know what it does, but it just doesn’t fit our business model or our customer’s business model. We host numerous websites through PowerDNN and we just haven’t had the need for anything like Azure. I’m sure there are websites that need the scalability and I am sure there are people that want to run there websites on Azure so I realize that this is of benefit to a relatively small few, but as the larger community ask yourself - do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?
Let’s look at this from a business perspective - what is the market for DNN Evoq on Azure? What are the benefits for DNN Corporate and Azure? And the $64 million dollar question - what has the community given up to have DNN Evoq running on Azure? Well, I see a lot of time, energy and money being spent on Azure throughout the ecosystem. DNN Corporate must have put considerable top-level resources into this endeavor to get it working. So they must think there is value in doing this. But is this valuable for the community? Didn’t we miss out on other things that could have been enhanced, developed, and/or fixed in the product instead of Azure support? Bottom line - we as an ecosystem got Azure support and we didn’t get something else that might have better served the community overall.
But that’s not all; I am seeing a lot of third party module developers coming out with releases that are Azure compatible. Head over to the DNN Store, type in Azure in the search field and you will see a bunch of modules that have been recently updated to support Azure. One of the module providers that we use a lot just released updates to several of their products – we were excited about the new updates, it had been many weeks in development, many more weeks in testing – but in the end, what did we get? We got a couple of minor features (one we paid to have developed) and Microsoft Azure support. So there you have more lost development cycles in the ecosystem devoted to Azure and more lost cycles to come because of additional testing, additional support, etc. Who is all this good for? It’s good for Microsoft, good for DNN Corporate, but a benefit to the community? Maybe… guess we’ll see.
I liked PowerDNN’s reference to Toyota/Lexus and how a top-secret project called F1 (Flagship One) caused Toyota to diverge into two separate automobile companies, after some market research, that now cater to two different market segments. The thing to remember here is that new “state-of-the-art” features are developed and tested in the luxury vehicles long before they find their way into the mid-market brands. This is my fear of where we are headed.
I am all for DNN Corporate making money and having different, what I’ll call “marketing versions” of the software in which some features are premium and where service and support levels can cost extra. I can even get in alignment with DNN Social and how it is a separate product, which is built on the core product, but sold - “marketed” - differently. But what I am afraid of is the need for separate code bases, different installers, different management interfaces and the need for modules to be “compatible” just to support Azure. It is a short journey to divergent products, longer release cycles, and less functionality available to the community.
Who am I? Before I started building websites 7 years ago on DotNetNuke I spent over 20 years in software design and development at the executive level in both the Pharmaceutical and Automotive fields. One thing that I learned a long time ago is that you do not fork the code. One version of the code, moving forward, being enhanced is the only way to keep everything aligned and moving together. The ecosystems built around these complex environments will not be able to support multiple versions for long and diversion will happen.
These are of course just my opinions and I could be totally wrong – so what are your thoughts?