Creating a DNN Site In Microsoft Azure


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Microsoft provides a gallery of software that can be installed into a web site, DNN (formerly DotNetNuke) is one of them. This article decribes how to create a web site in Azure and install DNN in it. There are two parts of the procedure, the first part is the Azure part and the second part is the DNN part.

Microsoft allows us to have up to 10 Azure websites for free. There are limitations of course. The size of the free databases are limited to 25 MB. If you need more resources then the cost is likely minimal but if you just want to explore DNN then you can do that for free.You will need to provide two passwords. As far as I know they can be the same but they also can be different.

The password for the SQL Server has some requirements, such as a mixture of lower and upper case and a number or punctuation. I forget the details but be prepared for it.

After creating he web site, DNN will show an initial configuration page. It will ask for a username and password to be created. This will be for rthe SuperUser account. The default username is "host". Keep "host" as the username unless you are sure you want something else. The password is not have as many requirements as the does the password for the SQL Server and you will be entering the SuperUser (host) password very often whereas you will not need the SQL Server password often.

You will need the following peices of information:

  • URL
  • SERVER LOGIN NAME and PASSWORD

Procedure:

  • Go to Azure. Create an account if you do not have one.
  • Click on "Portal" in the top right and log in if necessary.
  • Click on WEB APPS at the top of the menu at the left.
  • Click on "NEW" in the bottom-left. You will see the following in the bottom:
    Create Web App window
  • There are four columns. The fourth column, the right-most column, is just for messages. The top icon in the left will be selected; leave that selected. At the top of the second column is "WEB APP". It is selected; leave that selected. In the third column select "FROM GALLERY". You will then see the following:
  • To make selection easier, click on "CMS" in the menu in the left.
  • Find "DNN Platform" in the list in the middle; click on it.
  • Click the arrow in the bottom-right to proceed. You will then see the following:
  • Provide an URL; this will be part of the URL used to navigate to your site.
  • For the database, select "Create a free 20 MB SQL Database" if possible. If you already have a free 20 MB SQL Database then you will not be able to create another one for that subscription.
  • I am not sure what
  • Select whatever region you want.
  • Click the arrow in the bottom-right to proceed.
  • For the server, select "New SQL database server".
  • Provide a SERVER LOGIN NAME, SERVER LOGIN PASSWORD and enter the password again for the CONFIRM PASSWORD.
  • Click n the arrow in the bottom-right to proceed.
  • The web site will be created; it might require more than a minute to be created.
  • Click on the website URL on the right to browse to the site.
  • You will probably need to wait another minute for the website to come up.

You will now need to complete the DNN installation. The form is a DNN form, not an Azure form, so it is not customized for Azure. We will get the information we need for the DNN installation.

  • Open a new browser window (or tab) and go to the Azure Portal as above and click on "ALL ITEMS".
  • You will see the web site and the database listed. Select the database that was created.
  • Click on "SQL Database connection strings for ADO .Net, ODBC, PHP, and JDBC".
  • Note the ADO.Net Server, Database and User ID.
  • At the botton of the connection strings it says "Allow the connection in firewall rules"; click on "firewall rules". It will show you a window with your IP address. You need to click on the arrow pointing to the right to add your IP address to the Firewall rules. Then click on "SAVE" at the bottom.

For the purposes of thes instructions, assume that the connection string contains:

Server=tcp:jukeboxap1.database.windows.net,1433;
Database=MynameSAyMp20GAA;
User [email protected];

Return to the DNN configuration page. Then fill in the DNN Installation form as in the folllowing:

Username
Leave as "host". The "host"user is the super-user and it typically called "host".
Password
Use whatever password you want to use; it is separate from any Azure pasword.
Website Name
Whatever name you want.
Template
If you choose "Default Template" then you will get a complete sample web site for a bicycle store. It will look like an actual store; you might think there was a mistake. Unless you are already familiar with DNN and you know you want a store web site, choose a blank web site. The blank web site template will create a web site much easier to learn from.
Language
Whatever language you choose.
Database Setup
Leave it set to "Custom".
Database Type
Set to "SQL Server/SQL Server Express Database"
Server Name
Use the server from the connection string. Assuming the connection string is as shown above, then the server name here would be "jukeboxap1.database.windows.net"
Database Name
Use the database from the connection string. Assuming the connection string is as shown above, then the database here would be "MynameSAyMp20GAA"
Object Qualifier
Leave blank
Security
Select "User Defined"
Database Username
The Username you used to create the database (the User ID from the connection string?).
Database Password
The password you used in Azure to create the database.
Run Database As
Leave it set for "Database Owner".

Finally, DNN will be installed. It took more than 2 minutes for my installation to complete.