Will "the Mighty" Strohl

OpenForce Connect - Orlando a HUGE Success

Whoa!  If you missed OpenForce Connect - Orlando this year, you REALLY missed out.  Not only were there some very knowledgeable folks in the DotNetNuke® Community in attendance, there were also the Core Team Members, excellent speakers, and many thousands dollars worth of giveaways.

Even though I was a speaker, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Active Purchase from Active Modules.  Cool!

I filmed the entire event.  While I am not a professional videographer, I think I did okay.  I plan to make those videos available on the OpenForce web site, as well as the Orlando DotNetNuke® Users Group web site.  Look for the videos to appear in about 2 weeks.

Brian ScarbeauThe first session was handled by Brian Scarbeau from the Orlando DotNetNuke® Users Group, and Mike Webb from DnnSpired.com.  They spoke about some of the better resources and methods used to learn about and become proficient with DotNetNuke®.


I was slated to speak next about the Skinning Engine and some of the tips and tricks used to make it work better for you.  I think it went pretty well.  While I did not get the level of participation during my session that I wanted, I did get a lot of great feedback and participation afterwards.  Thank you to everyone who attended my session.  I sincerely hope that you learned something that will make your life easier.  :)

Raul RodilaRaul Rodila from Arrow Consulting & Design was up after me to talk about a powerful alternative to the current module settings.  It was great to see the amount of flexibility and power they leverage with their approach.  I am highly impressed.


Tracy WittenkellerTracy Wittenkeller from T-Worx was next.  He went over some of the lesser known management techniques in DotNetNuke®.  There were things that he went over that not even some of us that have been using DNN a long time knew about.  He is super talented!  Be sure to pick up his book, due out next month.


Darrell HardyDarrell Hardy from a consulting firm of the same name, spoke about securing data connection strings in DotNetNuke®.  His sessions are always impressive, and he has a ton of knowledge. 

After a while of looking at someone's work and style, you begin to recognize it in other places.  If my eyes don't deceive me, it looks like Darrell Hardy's site is using a T-Worx skin.

Nik KalyaniA DotNetNuke® Core Team Member, Nik Kalyani was up to bat next.  His presentation was about what the next version of DotNetNuke® version 5.0 (codenamed Cambrian) has to offer us in terms of the skinning engine. 

I don't know about everyone else, but he FLOORED me with the amount of work and features that will be ready to go in the first Cambrian release.  I think most noteable is the fact that this next version will make Pure CSS or semantic mark-up a no-brainer for everyone - even me who uses tables! 

Thanks a lot, guys!  You are spear-heading an enormous business requirement out there.  This feature will have an immeasureable impact on how all web sites are done, but most importantly, it will give the DotNetNuke® project immense value to those who are choosing an online CMS for the first time, as no one else offers that level of support for Pure CSS designs out of the box.  (Before you comment, reader, watch the video on this. It will completely illustrate to you what I mean by that.)

The sessions ended with an Open Panel discussion where the four DNN Rock Stars got up on stage (Shaun Walker, Joe Brinkman, Scott Willhite, and Nik Kalyani).  They spoke about the current DNN road map, and they also fielded all questions that came up.  What made this even better, was that they continually solicited input from the community.  They genuinely wanted to know what we thought about features, the current version, and everything else DNN-related.  Not that I thought otherwise, but I later saw how sincere they really are, as I got to see the list of notes that one of them had compiled.  It was very comforting, exciting, insightful, and informative to have that kind back and forth from community members to the core team, and vice versa. 

DNN Core Open Panel Discussion (From left to right: Nik Kalyani, Joe Brinkman, Scott Willhite, Shaun Walker)

Thank you SO MUCH to the DNN Core Team for attending and adopting this event.  It was a pleasure to meet you all, and to speak with each of you one-on-one. 

Thank you to Brian Scarbeau and Mike Webb for really spear-heading all of the local details and getting the ball rolling.  Finally, thank you to Microsoft for making this event possible by opening up your doors to us at the convention center.  This event wouldn't have been possible without any of you (including the very generous sponsors).

From Left to Right: Darrell Hardy, Nik Kalyani, Shaun Walker, Joe Brinkman, Raul Rodila, Me (Will Strohl), Kurt Amstutz, Scott Willhite

I hope to see more DNN events like this in the future.  It will serve the community VERY well.

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