Introduction To DNN

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DNN is often called a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS is often described as providing the features of managing documents and providing colaboration. I am unfamiliar with most other CMSs but that description of CMSs is very misleading relevant to DNN. I hope to provide a much more relevant description of what DNN is.

DNN provides a way to develop web sites. It can be used for many types of web sites; including:

  • Stores
  • Orgnaizations, such as universities and churches
  • Social Networking

Originally web sites were developed using just HTML. Later CSS was developed for sytles. Programming languages were developed, including Java, JavaScript and Perl. Components of web sites, such as menus, typicallly consist of a combination of HTML, CSS and programming. When working at the HTML level, a web site developer typically must work with the HTML, CSS and programming separately. DNN provides a way for non-programmers to work with pieces of web sites (such as menus) that consist of HTML, CSS and programming. The pieces are called modules and skins. DNN provides an architecture for programmers to develop modules and skins. At the programmer level, modules and skins are very much alike but they are typically used very differently. DNN modules can provide a very wide range of capabilities. Therefore DNN supports a very wide range of possible types of web sites. Some modules and a few skins are installed with DNN. Some of the modules support management of documents and allow collaboration and there are very more modules available for those features.


DNN provides account management in the sense that everything is done using an account, also known as a user id. The showing and use of a DNN web site can be configured based on the account the user is signed in with.

The various types of accounts available by default are:

  • SuperUsers
  • Administrators
  • Page Editors
  • Module Editors
  • Others

The installation wil create a SuperUser account with the name "host" by default. SuperUser accounts have the most privileges.

Page Layout


When signed in using a SuperUser, Administrator or Page Editor account then across the top of the page is a Control Panel with a menu, or more specifiaclly, a row of links with drop down menus. The Control Panel can be either a ControlBar, RibbonBar or Iconbar. ControlBar is the default and Iconbar is not availalbe for new installations.

If you hover over an item in the menu then a pop-up will appear showing the relevant items that are used the most often. If you click on any of the menu items then you will be taken to a page with all possible choices.

Note that pages and the contents of pages have permissions associated with them. If the permission for a page or anything in it is set to allow the public to edit it then everyone will be considered to be a Page Editor for that page.


If, when signed in as a SuperUser, you hover over the "Edit Page" button then click on "View in Layout Mode" to select Layout Mode then you will all the many panes in the page. The main pane is the ContentPane. To the left and right of the ContentPane are the leftPane and rightPane. Under the leftPane and rightPane are the leftPaneLowerLeft and leftPaneLowerRight. There is also a leftPaneBottom pane. There are five "footer" panes across the bottom.

Page Management

First login using the host account.


what it is
Settings icon
what it looks like

Since DNN is a Content Management System, it manages the menu at the top of the page.

Page Settings

There are at least two ways to get to the Settings for a page; they are:

Hover over the "Edit page" button then click on "Page Settings".

Select "Admin" in the toolbar then select "Page management". Then in the tree view in the left right-click on the page and select "Page Settings".

In the Page Settings is a Page Details tab; the following are in the Page Details tab that are commonly changed:

  • Page Name
  • Page Title
  • Description

If the Page Name is changed then it will affect both the name in menus as well as the URL of hte page.

Location in the Menu

To change where in a menu a page occurs, go to "Page management" from the "Admin" menu. Using the tree view in the left side, just drag the page from where it is at to where you want it to be in the menu hierarchy.

Delete a Page

The following are two ways to delete a page.

  • In Page management select "Delete page" when clicking on the page in the page hierarchy
  • Navigate to the page to be deleted then hover over the "Edit page" button then click on "Delete Page".

To recover the page,  go to the "Recycle Bin" from the "Admin" menu.

Excluding from the menu

To exclude a page from the menu, go to "Page management" from the "Admin" menu then right-click on the page then select "Hide from navigation".

Home page 

By default the Getting Started page is the home page. That can be changed in the context menu of a page in the tree view of the Page management page.

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