After completing this tutorial, you will have successfully downloaded the Install zip file, created a website, created the database and login for MSSQL 2000, setup the web.config file to work with the database, added an object qualifier (a prefix for all of your table names in the DotNetNuke database), and set up the installation so that you can do multiple installs of DotNetNuke (by making the cookie names unique for each install).
In short, you will have a running DotNetNuke website that is ready to build out.
As someone who has worked with DotNetNuke for over two years, I’ve seen and experienced many issues related to installing DotNetNuke. Consider all the variables involved in a real-world DotNetNuke installation:
The above list guarantees that there will continue to be issues with installing DNN. The documentation has improved with each release, but one could write hundreds of pages—focusing solely on the install process—and still there would be ambiguity.
- ASP.NET 1.1 and 2.0
- Microsoft SQL Server 2000, 2005, MSDE and SQL Express (and this doesn’t even cover the 3rd party Data Providers for Oracle and MySQL)
- OS platforms such as XP, XP with SP2, Windows 2000 and 2003 Server (and soon to be more!)
- IIS 5.x and 6.x
- Installations on virtual directories and websites
- On local machines and remotely via web hosts, the latter with a number of different operating procedures and experience with DotNetNuke installations
- Different types of users—those who just want to install and use DotNetNuke, and those who want to write modules, skin objects and skins. Some want core source. Some want project module sources
- Various IDEs, including Visual Web Developer (VWD), Visual Studio 2003/2005, and perhaps even Sharp Develop’s IDE
- Various levels of security required for different installations
- The mentality of ‘I don’t need to read the documentation’
It’s easy to say: “Everyone should read the documentation”—and it needs to be said again. One should never try installing DotNetNuke until after they’ve thoroughly read and digested the Installation pdf. Yet, if one visits the DotNetNuke forums and reads the installation threads, it’s not difficult to see there are a fair share of people that either do not read the documentation (hey, it’s human nature!) and/or read it and see the inevitable gray areas for their particular installation needs.
And there are more than a few excellent tutorials already available for installing DotNetNuke—one has to know or hear of them and then search for them, which of course is another ‘gotcha’—but they’re not always easy to find, and it’s the nature of the beast, that installation tutorials become outdated faster than rabbits reproduce.
The goal of this article is not to try to discuss all of the many permutations—as the above list proves, that’s nigh on impossible. Instead, I’d like to discuss in general the order of the installation steps I would recommend (and why the order is important), and then go through the steps for a specific installation—installing DotNetNuke using the Install zips on SQL 2000 (although the same steps would apply for SQL 2005), on a Windows 2003 Server (with comments for installing on XP SP2. If you have not yet installed SP2 on XP, you should do it before you do an install).
I should add that everything I write here is simply my opinion, based on experience. I’m sure there are many programmers and others who have worked with DotNetNuke longer than I, have memorized the core, and could switch some of these logical steps around and still end up with a successful installation. But that’s the goal—a successful DotNetNuke installation (and still having the same amount of hair on your head at the end of the install as you did when you downloaded the install files).