So if you are going for an open source Content Management System (CMS), which should you choose: DotNetNuke (DNN) or Umbraco.

Both have the advantage of being open source programs, which means they are constantly updated and improved. There are many plugins and applications created by a core of invested users, increasing functionality and removing bugs with regularity.

Still, there are plenty of differences, as anyone who has used both systems will note.

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Comparing Umbraco and DotNetNuke

So if you are going for an open source Content Management System (CMS), which should you choose: DotNetNuke (DNN) or Umbraco.

Both have the advantage of being open source programs, which means they are constantly updated and improved. There are many plugins and applications created by a core of invested users, increasing functionality and removing bugs with regularity.

Still, there are plenty of differences, as anyone who has used both systems will note.

Here are some things to consider about Umbraco:

  • It can be edited in Microsoft Word, making for easy editing for most users.
  • There are OSS or commercial install options
  • A high-quality, highly functional CMS
  • Install gives you a blank page – no template, not much of anything else – This means plenty of freedom and flexibility – freedom to succeed or freedom to fail. Success of a site is entirely up to a developer, meaning you must have a highly qualified and creative developer who also knows legal compliance and standards compliance.
  • Umbraco has high requirements for hosting, so it is difficult to find a “shared” hosting environment that will support it
  • Still working on good ecommerce solutions
  • Version 4 has better support for Safari and Firefox
  • There are good plugins available, and a management system built into Umbraco

By contrast, here are some items to consider about DotNetNuke:

Has a proprietary feel, despite being open source

  • Dot NET developers like it, those who are not dot NET developers have trouble with it
  • Based on Microsoft’s ASP.NET, which is the most popular web technology currently
  • Cheap to use and reduces total development costs – no ongoing licensing fees
  • Full access to source code so it can be altered to fit individual organizations
  • Can manage text, image, documents, links, events, news, banner ads and threaded info
  • Supports multiple websites
  • Installs easily
  • Can manage site hosting, content, security, web design and membership in one program
  • Multi-language ability
  • Fully extensible and scalable
  • User friendly interface and intuitve site wizards, help icons and interface for those familiar with Dot NET
  • DNN has a large user base (125,000 registered users) and a core programming team dedicated to the system, so it is a large community. There are also an increasing number of third party developers of plug-ins, etc. for DNN

Which open-source hosting program is right for you? It depends on your abilities, wants and business model. Either way you go, using an open source CMS might be the way for you to save money and still have a strong, attractive site.

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16 Responses »

  1. I believe most of the points on the dotnetnuke list are also valid for umbraco.

    For me the main ones for umbraco would be:
    - no skinning but mold the cms around your design and needs, any design can be implemented
    - also perfect cms for flash frontends
    - ultra flexible and extensible
    - plug and play user controls and custom controls

  2. You could also update the stats as DNN has a large user base, of 700k+ users, not 125k.

  3. Chris,

    I agree with you. But after working with content management systems like Sitecore and Umbraco, I dont think I would prefer DotNetNuke (DNN), Kentico and CommonSpot.

    These CMS’s add way too much junk to the page and don’t give the programmer 100% control.

  4. DotNetNuke is loosing support over Umbraco. DNN’s conversion rate (lead to customer) is very low.

    Daniel Bardi
    http://www.dascoba.com

  5. can some run under apache/mono/linux ?
    i think it´s very important point of view.
    database system is very important too.

  6. I am hoping that someone can do a review about kooboo as well.

    1. Probably the first which can support publishing from MS word.

    2. Built based on ASP.NET MVC, easier to extend.

    3. Install easily and works fine on share hosting.

  7. Hard to compare DNN to Umbraco, DNN is antiquated garbage that spits out garbage, Umbraco is modern, clean, streamlined, though not without it’s faults.

    Our company uses DNN on their large websites, it’s an endless list of problems.DNN really makes web development a nightmare compared to Umbraco. It’s such a pity we have to work with it. Guess that’s what happens when marketing makes the decisions.

  8. This discussion is beginning to smack of the predjudice that infected OS and browser-wars. So I’ll stay as positive as possible.
    However:
    I have more respect for contributors who have a competency in English punctuation.
    The Umbraco intro’ has the statement “What is Umbraco” (no question mark. I believe the punctuation marks are indispensible for clear English comprehension.)
    I also respect a company more if they have a bona fide website address. (www.umbraco.com has been stolen by url hi-jackers. So much for ‘friendliness’ in the community…).
    On the other hand, DNN does it for me, and has done since 2004.
    It is solid and professional. There are thousands of 3rd-party apps. Anything you don’t get out of the box, you can buy reasonably cheaply, (or using C# or VB.NET) can build.
    Right now, I’m working on multi-touch silverlight apps.
    (So any debate about server round-trips is a bit old now).
    I suspect that from what I’ve seen so far Umbraco needs more hosting horsepower and requires higher skill-levels to build a site. It therefore appeals to developers who see more work.
    Umbraco looks to me like it’s quite convenient for page CMS, whereas DNN looks like it handles containers on pages better.
    Whatever you do, please let’s compare current versions. DNN is currently on 5.4.2. It has excellent version control at article level and page level. If you want a publishing system/ Shop/ helpdesk etc, etc, you can buy an installable module very reasonably.
    DNN is a multi-portal system. A webmaster can sell a system or sub-portal automatically to a user organisation’s webmaster. The site template builds and bills the user webmaster automatically.
    Umbraco is promising MVC (But that’s a complete re-write! Fundamentally different and it is no where near ready so let’s not count that as an asset yet).
    Asperto

  9. DotNetNuke is an excellent development platform. And there are many tools that provide rapid web-based development for the DotNetNuke. XsltDb module is one of them. XsltDb is an XSLT based development environment and also provides database access and ASP.NET controls usage. Moreover, it offers a syntax highlighting and code completion. It is and opensource product, you can find it as http://xsltdb.codeplex.com

  10. I feel Umbraco is more developer friendly while DNN is more user friendly.

  11. Must say im very focused on Umbraco development, and has for the last few months. Im quite happy with the system compared to other .NET environments I have worked with.

    Hoping to get http://www.novicell.dk/produkter/cms/umbraco/ to run on Umbraco one of these days instead of an Inhouse CMS system.

  12. Wow. I just don’t understand all the love for Umbraco. I have just spent 2 days playing with both for the first time and it isn’t even close in my opinion which one is better.

    The biggest advantages to DNN (using the current versions of both as of 3/1/2011) are:

    1) DNN is much easier install, IMO… Umbraco’s separate dependency installs failed multiple times for me.

    2) No client side applications needed. This makes it WAAAY easier to split up development across resources. All you ever need is a browser with DNN.

    3) General bugginess with Umbraco. I’ll I heard was how great it was supposed to be and I’m sorry, it’s NOT. It crashed on me several times… and what’s with not being able to hit the enter key as a “submit” when you are logging in? Javascript errors crashed my browser whenever I tried that.

    4) Skinning (which is very important for my needs) in DNN couldn’t have been simpler for a Visual Studio .Net developer such as myself. I had a fully replicated .net masterpage converted to a DNN theme in about 1 hour. I couldn’t get anywhere with Umbraco.

    Thanks for reading, I promise you I am just not some random DNN troll either… I just had to get these thoughts off my chest after using both for the first time in the past week.

  13. DNN is great if you want 1996 style HTML markup and an antiquated portal module. If you’re actually capable of doing a modicum of decent .NET development you should be using Umbraco. Don’t take my word for it though, install it yourself, kick the tires, it will become apparent pretty quickly that DNN is a “past-its-prime” dinosaur who couldn’t keep up with the times and has to rely on an army of shills to post glowing misleading comments about it on random blogs.

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