I have been interviewed for a number of shows and articles recently and while sharing my open source career, I realized that I always end up mentioning the IBuySpy Portal. Although the IBuySpy Portal was not a true open source project, it was a hugely influential application for the initial .NET ecosystem as it provided one of the first functional ASP.NET applications that developers could get their hands on.
Here is an excerpt from the "Professional DotNetNuke" book series I participated on for WROX Press:
"Realizing the educational value of sample applications, Microsoft built a number of source projects that were released with the .NET Framework 1.0 Beta to encourage developers to cut their teeth on the new platform. These projects included full source code and a liberal End User License Agreement (EULA), which provided nearly unrestricted usage.
Microsoft co-developed the IBuySpy Portal with Vertigo Software and promoted it as a "best practice" example for building applicati ...
It is hard to believe that it was less than 5 months ago that a previously undiscovered virus, now widely known as Coronavirus or COVID-19, was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak in Wuhan, China. That virus has since spread worldwide with the World Health Organization officially declaring Coronavirus a global pandemic in March 2020. The first global pandemic in over a century, the virus has been able to rapidly spread via respiration from person to person, and even with social distancing measures in place the number of confirmed cases will soon exceed 6 million across 220 countries with 350,000 fatalities worldwide. The virus has effectively disrupted the every aspect of life as we know it, from large urban cities to small rural communities, from global supply chains to local economies, the consequences have been devastating and unpredictable.
When I started the DotNetNuke project back in 2003 I needed a website for managing the open source community. I was determined to "eat my own dogfood" so I used the very early versions of DotNetNuke to launch www.dotnetnuke.com and then upgraded the site through each successive release. This approach allowed me to experience the product in a real world environment... which, of course, was a double-edged sword.
Last week I attended the //build conference in San Francisco. On one of the evenings, Microsoft extended an invitation to user groups around the Bay Area to come to their new open space for developers at 680 Folsom Street known as the Reactor. The party was focused on open source and community engagement and I was privileged to kick off the Lightning Talks with a short presentation about the .NET Foundation. The goal of my presentation was to promote the Foundation and try to clear up any misconceptions which may exist about its purpose or mission. I also used the opportunity to share a story about how a presentation that I did for a Bay Area user group ultimately led to the initial round of funding for DotNetNuke.
To set the stage it was important to note that there would be no need for a .NET Foundation if Microsoft had not created the .NET Framework. Since its release in 2001, the .NET Framework has had tremendous adoption - with current estimates of more than 1.8 billi ...
As much as DNN is an open source software application written for the Microsoft ASP.NET platform, it is also an online community with developers, end users, vendors, and volunteers - all working together collaboratively in a rich and diverse ecosystem. This chapter attempts to capture the essence of the project, expose its humble beginnings, provide insight into its evolution, and document its many achievements, but not shy away from some of the hard lessons learned in the process. The lifeblood of any community is its people; therefore, it is a distinct honor and privilege to be able to share some of the emotion and passion that have gone into the DNN project so that you may be able to establish a personal connection with the various stakeholders, which may ultimately motivate you to join this vibrant ecosystem.
In 1979, when I was 9 years old, my family relocated from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, to Ashcroft, a tiny community in the south-central interior of British Columbia with a population of approximately 1500 people. We relocated with a grand vision - to start a commercial vineyard. My grandfather had owned a vineyard in Kelowna and he had sold it with the idea that the hot arid climate in Ashcroft, combined with cheap abundant land, would be a perfect environment for him and his children to establish a large, successful vineyard.
In 2001-2002, I was working for a medium-sized software consulting company in Abbotsford, British Columbia, that was providing outsourced software development services to a variety of large U.S. clients specializing primarily in e-Learning initiatives. The internal push was to achieve CMM 3.0 on a fairly aggressive schedule so that we could compete with the emerging outsourcing powerhouses from India and China. As a result there was an incredible amount of focus on process and procedure and somewhat less focus on the technical aspects of software engineering. Because the majority of the client base was interested in the J2EE platform, the company primarily hired resources with Java skills - leaving me with my legacy Microsoft background to assume more of an internal-development and project-management role. The process improvement exercise consumed a lot of time and energy for the company, attempting to better define roles and responsibilities and ensuring proper documentation throughout the project life cycle. Delving into CMM and the PMBOK were great educational benefits for me - skills that would prove to be invaluable in future endeavors. Ultimately, the large U.S. clients decided to test the overseas outsourcing options anyway, which resulted in severe downsizing for the company. It was during these tumultuous times that I recognized the potential of the newly released .NET Framework (beta) and decided that I would need to take my own initiative to learn this exciting new platform to preserve my long-term employment outlook.
Realizing the educational value of sample applications, Microsoft built a number of source projects that were released with the .NET Framework 1.0 Beta to encourage developers to cut their teeth on the new platform. These projects included full source code and a liberal End User License Agreement (EULA), which provided nearly unrestricted usage. Microsoft co-developed the IBuySpy Portal with Vertigo Software and promoted it as a "best practice" example for building applications in the new ASP.NET environment. Despite its obvious shortcomings, the IBuySpy Portal had some strong similarities to both the Microsoft SharePoint Portal, Content Management Server, as well as other open source CMS applications on the Linux/Apache/mySQL/PHP (LAMP) platform. The portal allowed you to create a completely dynamic website consisting of an unlimited number of virtual "tabs" (pages). Each page had a standard header and three content panes - a left pane, middle pane, and right pane (a standard layout for most portal sites). Within these panes, the administrator could dynamically inject "modules" - essentially mini-applications for managing specific types of web content. The IBuySpy Portal application shipped with six modules designed to cover the most common content types (announcements, links, images, discussions, html/text, and XML) as well as a number of modules for administrating the portal site. As an application framework, the IBuySpy Portal (see Figure 1-1) provided a mechanism for managing users, roles, permissions, tabs, and modules. With these basic services, the portal offered just enough to whet the appetite of many aspiring ASP.NET developers.
Shaun Walker has 25+ years professional experience in architecting and implementing enterprise software solutions for private and public organizations. Shaun is the original creator of Oqtane and DotNetNuke, web application frameworks which which have cultivated the largest and most successful Open Source community projects native to the Microsoft platform. He was one of the original founders of DNN Corp, a commercial software company providing products, services, and technical support for DotNetNuke, which raised 3 rounds of venture capital from top tier Silicon Valley investors. Based on his significant community contributions he has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) as well as an ASPInsider for over 10 consecutive years. He was recognized by Business In Vancouver as a leading entrepreneur in their Forty Under 40 business awards, was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Outercurve Foundation, and is currently the Chair of the Project Committee for Microsoft's .NET Foundation. Shaun is currently a Technical Director and Enterprise Guildmaster at Cognizant Softvision.