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ARCast.net - DotNetNuke on the forefront of SaaS and modular software with Shaun Walker

3 years ago I first heard Pat Helland delivering a very interesting talk titled "Metropolis" where he spoke about how most people today are still building custom software like artisans and craftsman who built most things prior to the industrial revolution. This means that software is difficult and expensive to build, prone to delays and missed estimates. One of the key factors in changing this for manufactured goods was the ability of standardization to introduce ways that manufacturers could buy rather than build most of the components that they need. On today's episode we meet with Shaun Walker and the team from DotNetNuke corporation to discuss how DNN is on the forefront of SaaS and modular software.

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-Ron

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  • smabressmabres Sergio

    Has any one noticed a change in the MP3 format? My old MP3 player gives me a "FORMAT ERROR" when I try to open ArCast, this is happening for two week now, any ideas? I used to listen to Ron's shows every week it worked fine.Perplexed

  • Ron Jacobsrojacobs Ron Jacobs
    One thing I started adding recently was album art to the MP3 files.  Perhaps this is causing the problem?

    Can you listen to the wma file?
  • smabressmabres Sergio
    No I can not do wma my MP3 player istoo old, but do not worry Art in the MP3 is a good thing, I do not want to get in the way of progress, I will try to buy an MP3 player that can handle pics in the file, thanks so much for your kind help, Sergio from Argentina
  • Ron Jacobsrojacobs Ron Jacobs
    Ron Jacobs: It's Thursday, December 7, 2006, and you're listening to ARCast. I'm your host, Ron Jacobs, so welcome, welcome once again to the party. That's right. This is like a big worldwide party where we're learning about architecture and interesting things from talking to interesting people, like the guy you're going to listen to today.


    Shaun Walker is one of these people that's all about right place, right time. You remember when ASP.net first came out and there was this little sample app called IBuySpy? Well, a lot of people were taking that and modifying it. Shaun Walker came along and gathered all the community together and built this thing. It's become an amazing success story. It's called DotNetNuke. If you haven't heard about it, it's an ASP.net web development framework. Today we're going to go to the offices of DotNetNuke Corporation. So let's welcome Shaun Walker and the DotNetNuke team.


    [applause]


    Hey, welcome, welcome back to ARCast. This is your host Ron Jacobs. Today I'm at the rather elegant offices of DotNetNuke Corporation. I'm joined by the team here at DotNetNuke and Shaun Walker. Shaun, what are you to DotNetNuke Corporation?
    Shaun Walker: I'm officially the president of DotNetNuke Corporation.
    Ron: Yeah?
    Shaun: Yeah. And DotNetNuke Corporation was incorporated in September, 2006. So we are just getting started on our hopefully long history.
    Ron: Wow. OK, now I have to say, when I came up here in the 42nd floor of Two Union Square--wow, I thought this was like a free software thing, DotNetNuke. I thought you guys had a meeting in the garage of your house or something. [laughs] What is going on here?
    Shaun: I don't know. DotNetNuke Corporation's all about accelerating adoption and growing the DotNetNuke community. We are all about the serious side of developing the application and increasing its adoption.
    Ron: So there's a real business to be had here. It's not just like some volunteers who work late at night and write a few lines of code. There's actual serious business going on.
    Shaun: Right. There is a serious business ecosystem, which has grown up around the project over the last three years, and we're here to help facilitate that in terms of its growth.
    Ron: OK, so this is like one of those stories of right place, right time, things happening. Tell me a little bit about the history of this whole DotNetNuke phenomenon, because I've seen lot's of Nuke things. I saw the other day PHP Nuke and whatever. Where does this all come from?
    Shaun: Right. So there's the way back story, and then the way, way back story, but I can do a short synopsis. Microsoft actually released a sample application, a starter kit, way back in 2001 called the IBuySpy Portal. There were a lot of.NET developers at that time who were interested in learning the new technology, so they downloaded that application and started making modifications to it, because Microsoft was smart enough to release it under a very liberal license that allowed you to do whatever you wanted with it.


    Various people started coming up with enhancements to it, but basically at that point nobody was really pulling all those enhancements together, and Microsoft wasn't obligated to enhance that application on an ongoing basis. So basically, what I did, is pulled a bunch of enhancements together and I released it to the community as an open-source application, allowing anybody in the community to download it and use it as an open-source application to enhance it.


    From there it's really just taken off. That happened in Christmas Eve, 2002. So it's my Christmas present to the.NET developer world, but since then it's grown quite substantially to what it is today. Now we're moving forward with a whole new corporate focus for the community under the DotNetNuke Corporation.
    Ron: Well, and I would say it was a Christmas present to yourself, too, right? This changed your life, didn't it?
    Shaun: It definitely did. It definitely changed my life. I've been living, breathing, eating DotNetNuke for the last three years, as have the rest of the management team and many other people in the DotNetNuke community. We really have a very loyal and active community.
    Ron: So this is a good story for people who say like, "Well, why should I be involved in all this community stuff?" I mean, it could happen to you, right?
    Shaun: Absolutely. Absolutely. You can put stuff out there, and depending on the quality of the code and stuff, you can find that lots of people are interested in what you've created, and it can go places where you never even would've imagined.
    Ron: True. OK, so you said DotNetNuke is doing well. How well is it doing? Can you give me some numbers?
    Shaun: Sure. Anybody who downloads the application has to register on our site, so as of recently, we have just over 350, 000 registered users of the application. And the growth rate of the membership continues to grow at an exponential kind of rate. And so we see more people downloading the application now than we ever did before, which is an interesting fact.


    We have more than two million downloads of the application over the last three years, and we track that through our home on Sourceforge.net, where we consistently rank as one of the top 10 most active open source projects in the world.
    Ron: Wow. OK, so I have to ask: why the name DotNetNuke?


    [laughter]
    Shaun: Well, the original application was, obviously, IBuySpy Portal...
    Ron: Uh-huh.
    Shaun: And that was a Microsoft name--just a fictitious name, much like many of the fictitious names which Microsoft comes up with. I re-branded it as IBuySpy Workshop when I originally released the open source version, and that wasn't a very good name either. [laughs]


    But on other platforms, there are nuke-related systems, mostly related to content management. So there's PHP-Nuke, which was the first; PostNuke--there are nukes on almost any platform that you could imagine, so DotNetNuke seemed to be an appropriate title for the type of application. Although, in the.NET community, it doesn't have a lot of recognition, I guess--until we came along.
    Ron: Oh, OK. OK. So just to be clear, then, all these other things that are named "nuke" don't come from you guys? It's not like DotNetNuke is a port of something else that started somewhere else, right?
    Shaun: No, it's not. It just bears name resemblance to some of these other applications and other platforms, but it has no IP resemblance at all.
    Ron: Oh, OK. I got you.


    Recently, I had a chat with some people who are kind of in the module developer business. And it's intriguing to see that there's a whole kind of ecosystem springing up of little small outfits--sometimes one, two, three people--who just make a living writing little modules for DotNetNuke. Now, tell me about this. Have you seen this phenomenon?
    Shaun: Absolutely. The DotNetNuke application was designed as an extensible framework, so there are plenty of different ways that developers and designers can plug into the frame work to provide additional functionality. Some of these ways involve writing mini-applications for managing different types of content, which we call modules.


    Other things involve creating skins; so designers can create skins and sell them, and people can apply those skins to their site to get a whole new look and feel. We have other areas of extensibility as well, in terms of language packs and providers, but those make up the extensibility options that are out there today.


    And you're absolutely correct that there are a lot of businesses out there, small and large, that are building extensibility options for DotNetNuke and doing it in a commercial capacity, which allow them to derive revenue from the DotNetNuke ecosystem.
    Ron: So this is what the pundits call "software as a service," in that now I can just go out and buy some functionality, and rather than buying bits, I'm buying functionality that somebody else has produced for me. I may never actually install the bits on my own server or anything. I might go to a hosting provider who has sort of a menu of, "Here's a bunch of modules we know about and support." I can choose off the menu, and bam--I'll have my DotNetNuke site.


    Have you guys been working with the hosters on these kinds of things?
    Shaun: Right. We have some relationships with various hosters; I would say there are probably 30 to 40 hosters today that offer DotNetNuke as an integrated part of their offering to clients. And it ranges from one-click installs, where somebody signs up for a hosting account where they can just go into their hosting account and say, "Yeah, I want to install DotNetNuke, " and bang--it's done for you. To providing support in terms of the infrastructure tools that are there like the SQL server and ASP.net and having the client upload the DotNetNuke application themselves and manage it.
    Ron: What this reminds me of is sort of the interesting transition we have seen happen with things like eBay and other sites like it around the world where it used to be that if you wanted to be an online retailer, you had to be a seriously big guy. You had to have a lot of money, funding, infrastructure, technical people to get it done and so only the big players did it and then eBay came along and made it so that any Mom and Pop could sell whatever they have got online, worldwide, collect payments, the whole thing. It is just amazing to see what's happened with that.


    Then, on the consumer side now, you can find these little Mom and Pop shops that I could never find before. I can buy stuff from them. It's like the return of the middle man to me. It's like, years ago, everyone was like: "Oh we are cutting off the middle man. We are getting rid of them." But now, the middle man is coming back in a big way. It is a positive thing now because it is going to enable a lot of new possibilities for people.


    It seems to me that you guys are kind of like that role. You are like the eBay of modular development, that somebody has to step in and make that possible.
    Shaun: Right. That is a good analogy. I would say we are significantly lowering the barrier for all kinds of stakeholders, for developers, for consumers. There are so many new opportunities that are being revealed through the DotNetNuke ecosystem.
    Ron: Yeah. So, I want to think about some of the different perspectives here. Maybe, from the hosters point of view. Let's begin there. If I am a hoster, the thing I care about more than anything is that everything is running smoothly. There are no glitches on my servers, there are no crashes. I don't have to send my support people down there to figure it all out. My phone isn't ringing at times when you don't want it. [laughter]


    So, I am thinking that I have talked to some hosters and they tell me that their profit margins are fairly slim. If they have one support incident on an account, it blows the profit for a whole month. They aren't going to make a dime on that account.
    Shaun: Right.
    Ron: So they have got to keep these things way low. As a hoster, maybe I know DotNetNuke and I can trust you guys and you guys have done a good job and someone says, "Oh, I have the FOOBAR module that I opening from this open source site. I want to run that on my DotNetNuke. I am going to be pretty uncomfortable about that. Don't you think?
    Shaun: Well, yeah. We have been listening to the hosters over the last two to three years and we have been working with them on different types of relationships. One of the areas which we are acutely aware is the very slim margins of overhead the hosters have in terms of their hosting accounts. In that respect, the quality of the applications they support needs to be very high. DotNetNuke as a framework has always been very high quality, but the plug-in modules and different types of extensibility options that are out there, there was never prescriptive guidance that was being provided to the community to raise the level of quality. That is one area that DotNetNuke corporation has been very active in the last while in terms of providing this type of guidance.


    I would like to hand off to Joe Brinkman right now to talk about the DotNetNuke review program and the DotNetNuke marketplace and how those are addressing the exact issues you are speaking of.
    Ron: Ah. Very cool. So let's hear from Joe.
    Joe Brinkman: Thanks Ron. As Shaun mentioned, we started the review program earlier this year as a way to identify those qualities that we thought really would differentiate products that were meeting those quality goals that we had that are obviously very important to the hosters. They are also very important to the Mom and Pop and medium and small businesses and even to the enterprises. When they go out and buy something, how do they know it is going to work? How do they know they are going to be able to run their company on this software?


    So we felt it was important that we put some quality measures out there and say, "This is the bare minimum that you need to be, " in order to really give people some assurance. And so, part of what we looked at with that program was how do we improve the overall confidence level of people who are using those applications, whether it's hosting the application or running their business on those applications?
    Ron: The one thing I have found about a lot of the open source projects that you find on the web is--there's a lot of really lousy software out there. [laughs] Sometimes, you want to go use something and you're like, "Ugh. I don't know if I even want to bother."


    So one thing I've learned to do is, if they have message boards or forums or something, I look at it. And if I see messages like, "Hello? Is anybody out there? Nobody's posted a patch on this thing for months, and there's no bug fixes and it's crashing constantly! Help!" And I find messages like that, I'm like, "OK, I'm not touching that thing."


    Or other times, you see a very responsive community--patches being posted, bugs fixed, and so forth. But the thing is, it's like we almost need what eBay has, in terms of the reputation, to be surfaced...
    Joe: Mm-hmm.
    Ron: You know, like, "Here's somebody you can trust. They have a good reputation. Other people are saying good things about them." Do you guys have that kind of idea?
    Joe: We actually do. And part of the review program, once we've reviewed a module or an application, we will actually provide sort of a logo service, very similar to the Windows Certification Program for certifying Windows applications.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Joe: And that was basically the model that we took. And then, not only did we feel it was important to go ahead and certify or review those applications and sort of logo them, but then we also felt it was important that we highlight to the community and give them a place to go and find those applications, because it's not just enough to say, "There are applications out there that meet these criteria."


    But how does somebody go and find those? And that's really where we wanted to go with the marketplace, was a way to say, "OK, we've got these applications out there. Now you have a place where you can go and buy those applications, and you know what we only offer things through the marketplace that we have basically said meet our quality standards."


    So we're not just going to offer any module or any skin that's out there, without having first checked it out, made sure that they're providing the support--that's very important, as you pointed out--and to make sure that there are some other quality standards, or quality metrics, that we've put in place to sort of help bring that level up so you can differentiate your product from the rest of the market.
    Ron: Good. Do you guys actually bring their module in, you run it in your test labs, put it through a lot of volume, and that sort of thing?
    Joe: We do. And that's one of the programs that we'll be scaling up even further over the coming years. Right now, we basically have a set of guidelines that are out there that say, "These are the criteria that we're going to evaluate your software against."


    And then we bring that into our lab and we do our testing on that, and we work with the vendor. Sometimes, a vendor may not pass on the first try, and we'll work with that vendor and say, "Here's the things you need to do to improve that. Here's how you can test that internally. Here's the types of tools and things that you can use on your own internal processes."


    So the next time you submit something for the program--the next module or whatever that you submit--maybe you get it through on the first try, rather than the second try. So it's not just about saying, "good or bad, meets quality criteria," but it's working with the vendors to help them improve their quality.


    So again, it comes back to community, right? It comes back to helping the community to improve their own skills and to improve their own products, so that it helps everybody--helps the hosters, helps the guy who's selling this module, helps us give the general quality level that we want throughout the ecosystem.
    Ron: Now, if I were a module developer and I said, "OK, I want to get my module certified for you guys," what's the process like? How does that work?
    Joe: The process right now, basically, you come to DotNetNuke--we have a place on the DotNetNuke.com website--or you can go and, basically, we do charge a small, token fee for that processing. We will process that, send you back a link, and say, "Fill out this information and submit your module via email."


    It comes into the site. We'll go ahead and process that module, do the testing on it, give you feedback. When we're all done and we've gotten you through the process and your module finally passes--which is the goal for everything that we receive, is to help them get to that point--when it passes, we give you back the full test results that show how you did on each individual guideline that we have.


    And then, from there, we work with you to get your module or your skin--because we also do this for designers with their skins--to get that into the marketplace. So then you have a showcase--a place to sell your product.
    Ron: So does part of the review process also involve a code review? Do you guys scan through the code to look for things I should or should not do that sort of thing?
    Joe: We do not at the current level that we offer. We have talked about that, and that is definitely on the road map for something that we want to do in our next iteration of this.


    Right now, where we're at is, we have some general knowledge transfer and some general training of the community that we're working on to bring it up to the first step, and then, once we feel that the market has sort of accepted that, then we can start ratcheting that up even further and helping people continue...


    It's basically the Capability Maturity Model, right? You learn to walk, and then, when you're walking OK, you learn to run; and you start just taking continuous improvement and raising the bar for everybody, so that the whole community gets to that higher quality standard.
    Ron: OK, OK. So when you guys say, "Yes, this met our quality bar," that says: here's a module that's a well-behaved citizen in the DotNetNuke platform. You put it in, it's probably not going to crash your server; it's not going to do some big no-no. It's not a 100 percent guarantee--certainly, you couldn't do that.
    Joe: Right.
    Ron: And pretty well it will scale--it's not going to bring your server to a crawl or anything like that if you run it.
    Joe: Correct. And that's really where we're trying to get to with this first phase, is for people to basically raise their confidence level in purchasing and using these pieces of software, because, obviously, at the end of the day, it's all about trust. Do you trust this piece of software to run your company? Do you trust this piece of software to run on your hardware?
    Ron: Oh, OK. So you're giving them a reputation.
    Joe: Mm-hmm.
    Ron: I'm wondering, though, can the community--if somebody says, "Yeah, this is certified, but it stinks. It's not what it says it is," or whatever--can they vote on it? Can they give feedback? How does that work?
    Joe: We, right now, offer the ability to provide feedback in the marketplace.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Joe: So when they come--and obviously, they've acquired this module through the marketplace or directly from the vendor--we have the ability to get that feedback back in the loop, that says, "Hey, this module has these problems."


    And again, I think part of this comes back to--we're more than just a company. I think we all have this background of community and of building the community. So we want to see all of these people succeed, so for us the feedback loop is important, so we can take this back and give back to the community and help these people grow, because, ultimately, that helps everybody, right?
    Ron: Oh, OK. OK. You know, guys, I'm thinking about, from the end-customer's point of view, if I'm putting together my site and I know I need some different things--capabilities or whatever--you guys are going to help me connect with the module companies that develop these things, and that sort of thing?
    Shaun: Absolutely. We're providing more and more linkages to link consumers to the application extensions that are available today. Traditionally, the DotNetNuke application has really only catered to the open source side of the project, so we have tried to avoid some of the commercial aspects.


    But what we've realized is that both sides are intricately woven together and we need to support both sides. So what we've been doing is working more closely with the commercial developers, as well as the open source side of the project--bringing everybody together, working in one ecosystem.
    Ron: So I'm wondering about the trend, Shaun. Is the trend more towards customers just saying, "Look, give me the hosted package. I don't want to install any bits. I don't want to know about the software and compiling and all this; I just want to run it. Help me find a hoster and get it on there."


    Or is the trend towards more people saying, "No, I'm building my own site. Here's my server--give me the stuff."
    Shaun: I think it's still too early, in some respects, to identify trends. There are so many different use cases which DotNetNuke can be used for. Both of those examples that you presented are things that happen today. I wouldn't say that one is more predominant than the other. There are so many different opportunities for usage of the application and extensions that it's really hard to pigeonhole a specific use case.
    Ron: Yeah, I think Scott had a comment on this. Yeah. So this is Scott Willhite.
    Scott Willhite: Thanks, Ron. Yeah, I think I just wanted to add that the really exciting thing is the numbers of opportunities that DotNetNuke actually enables because, as a platform and as a framework, we actually are not pigeonholing you into a specific use case. So where you might go to buy a specific hosted application--that might in fact be a closed system, by the choice of the provider without DotNetNuke, that does not allow you the addition of additional extensions. You might not even, for example, be able to tell that it's DotNetNuke, quite frankly.


    And we've been able to do that for a very long time. We actually, in the extensibility model for the application, allow people to package it in such a way that it can fit the type of business that they do.


    And you had mentioned a little bit earlier, talking about things like--I'll use the term "total cost of ownership," but in a hosted scenario, which is more a total of running that application. But we actually make it possible for people to design a business that works, at whatever price point it is that they're trying to achieve.


    We of course want the application to be performant, we want it to be reliable--we want to do all those things--but people make their own choices about the kind of business that they want to be in, and we don't dictate that. What we do is we give them incredibly powerful, incredibly valuable tools, to build a business that matches what they want to do. So it's a lot about consumers.


    For example, pick a product--take a car, for example. And you can buy a car in one price range that has all kinds of different capabilities. Obviously, on the lower end of the price range, you'll have a little bit less to choose from. But you can get a very expensive car that has very few options, but is just incredibly high quality.


    Now, for example, we talk about modules. The reason why it's difficult for us to actually guarantee quality in a complex module is because we're not in that business. You know, I don't intend to become an expert in the medical field--although I do have some personal experience there.


    So we're not going to guarantee the quality of the way something meets a particular business objective, because that business is dependent upon the provider and the consumer of it. But we certainly provide a platform that enables you to do that in any way you want.
    Ron: You know what's interesting about this is that, when people think about modules, they imagine some little widget thing that somebody wrote: [uses cutesy voice] "Isn't that cute?"


    But these are serious applications, some of them, right?
    Scott: In some cases, they're incredibly serious applications. There's an awful lot of people out there. We talk about community a lot--these are people who post on our forums and whatnot.


    A lot of the times, the people who post on the forums do tend to be the mom and pop shops, they do tend to be some of the more individual developers--but we have an incredible number of installations in government and in education and in the Fortune 1000, even the Fortune 500, that are very private.


    We are aware of installations that comprise of hundreds of modules, literally, to do complex business functionality that never see the light of day. So you can talk about the hosted scenario, where we're doing gallery and forms--that, or you can talk about the internal scenario, where people are writing big business on DotNetNuke to do very complex business functionality.


    And you mentioned widgets--which I see one of my partners over here grinning to be had...
    Ron: [laughs]
    Scott: So I'm going to pass the mic off to Nik Kalyani.
    Nik Kalyani: Thanks, Scott. DotNetNuke is actually the perfect platform for what is the emerging type of application called widgets. It's really software as a service, but in a distributed manner. If you look at modules, they are just that: mini-applications that are widgets.


    And what DotNetNuke, the framework, does is make it incredibly easy for you to take what would be a large, complex application and break it up into modular functionality, while handling all the details for you--the plumbing that goes into an application.


    It frees you from having to worry about all that, because the framework handles a lot of the things like skinning, for example--the appearance of it--everything related to user registrations, etcetera. So DotNetNuke is the platform for modules or widgets.
    Scott: It's interesting to think about, in the past, when people said, "Well, I'm going to go off and build my ASP.net application, and I'm going to start from ground zero, " they had to build up a lot of stuff. Of course, ASP.net 2.0 improved a lot, added a lot of capabilities on top of that, but you still had tons of work to get done--even before you could begin to address the first business case, right?


    And so it sounds like, if I get DotNetNuke in the picture, it gets me to a very, very productive platform right from the get-go. I can start slamming out those modules and get to my production very quickly.
    Nik: That's exactly right. DotNetNuke is highly optimized, especially for business, because it allows developers to focus on things that are more important. It's the actual functionality that the application is supposed to provide--the usability of it, etcetera.


    And in terms of getting in of time to market, it is the way to go, because it frees you from doing a lot of the work that, traditionally, developers used to spend weeks--months--doing on and on. And I think Shaun can probably elaborate more on that.
    Scott: Yeah. Shaun, you know, it's funny, because I think most people think of, "Oh, DotNetNuke. That's the thing that--like, my kid's gaming clan runs their website on DotNetNuke. And it's like these little community, cutesy little things." But I'm surprised to hear that it's in these big organizations.
    Shaun: Yeah. Well, I mean, there are hundreds of thousands of sites probably running DotNetNuke, for all levels of sites, with different of membership and different types of activity. But at its core, DotNetNuke is a web application framework, so its main goal is that it abstracts a lot of the details from developers.


    So it provides a lot of the basic plumbing, like Nik said, to developers, so they don't have to focus on any of those mundane tasks. And it's all about abstraction and making it simpler and empowering developers to do more. And so, yeah, you can focus on your specific domain expertise to develop applications for your specific business purpose and forget about some of the details underneath.


    I get this question a lot: "Why would I need DotNetNuke when I have ASP.net already?" ASP.net is a really rich, robust enterprise-level platform. And really, we build on top of that platform, but assemble it in a way which makes a lot of sense and takes away some of the guesswork involved in combining the various components together.


    We make a lot of those decisions for you, so that you are built on top of best-practice architecture, and then you just focus on adding your specific domain logic to it.
    Scott: And this is nothing new, right? Frameworks like this have existed for a long time. And it makes sense, in the fact that the community has voted, so to speak--and DotNetNuke has won. [laughs]


    [laughter]


    I mean, I think that's pretty clear. But the cool thing is--now, if I'm an architect and I'm making this kind of decision: "OK, we're going to do a web app. Are we going to use DotNetNuke or are we going to build our own thing or whatever?" There is one very positive aspect, that because this has such a wide reach, I'm going to find developers who have experience with this more readily.
    Shaun: Definitely. I mean, we look at job sites like Dice.com, and Monster.com, and sites like that, and we see a category emerging for DotNetNuke developers. So, people with DotNetNuke experience, or companies that are looking for developers with DotNetNuke experience, then that sort of speaks to what you're saying- that this is a skill set that is now emerging, that is now emerging in the marketplace that people want.


    I mean, when you develop skills with DotNetNuke in one organization, those skills are portable to another organization which is using the same framework. So, it's not - I mean, I've worked in various development shops in the past, and even if we were using Microsoft Technology, each shop would do things completely different, and there would be a very intensive learning curve for new employees. Even though they knew the base technology to get into the application, it took a fair bit of effort. And with DotNetNuke - I mean, the skills are portable. So, you're immediately productive.
    Ron: Yeah, OK. So, one of the things I think in terms of SaaS that this enables, is now when I go to build - I could go after a very specific vertical. People in Web 2.0 talk about the "Long Tail," right? And the Long Tail is just a way of saying that Web 2.0 Technologies, and things like DotNetNuke, enable me to go after a marketplace that was too narrow to make sense previously, because it was too costly to get into it.


    But, now I can take DotNetNuke, I can take you know some modules that maybe handle issues that are really not part of my core business. But, I can just pick up these modules from other places, slap them into the platform, and then I can focus on my core business to address a vertical, maybe some very narrow vertical.


    Like I talked to a guy recently who focuses on non-profit organizations, specifically Red Cross. He's like, "That's all I do. Red Cross websites for Red Cross chapters in the United States." OK? Well, that's great. He's focused on a very narrow vertical. But this whole platform, and module economy, and ecosystem has enabled him to go after that very narrow vertical. Is this the kind of thing you're seeing happen?
    Shaun: Yeah. And speaking to the Long Tail phenomenon specifically, and one of the things by lowering the barrier of entry, and sort of creating an ecosystem for people to sell their extensions for DotNetNuke? It really has no borders, or boundaries to it. I mean, people all over the world can build modules and sell them within our ecosystem.


    And so, if it's a developer in Bulgaria, or Russia, or areas of the world which are economically depressed? These people can actually raise their level, or their class of living to a higher level, by building modules and selling them within the ecosystem which exists sort of outside of their geography - which is an amazing thing.
    Ron: And it's very cool, because it opens up opportunities to people. You know it doesn't matter where you are in the world, right? You could make one of these modules and make a lot of money, and from wherever you're at.
    Shaun: I mean - yeah. When we look at the membership numbers, and break it down by a country for the DotNetNuke.com website, the registered users, we see an incredibly "long tail." We have you know some countries, which like the United States obviously, accounts for probably 40% of our membership. Then we have countries beyond that, we probably if I looked at each country, we probably have at least one person in every country in the world registered on our site that's using DotNetNuke. So, there's the "long tail" distribution, and you know in reality.
    Ron: It's truly as a global village brought together [laughs] by DotNetNuke, and ARCast. That's right, because ARCast has heard, and I look at the global report, we are heard in almost every country in the world as well. Which is very cool, and I love that, -I love that! You know it's kind of the borders coming down, and I love that picture.


    So, guys, thanks so much for sitting with me today, and sharing your thoughts about DotNetNuke.
    Shaun: Thanks Ron.


    [applause]
    Ron: Shaun Walker, and the DotNetNuke team.


    Wow, modular software! Talk about something that's just grown in huge, huge ways. It's kind of like ARCast--that's right! ARCast is growing, and I'm hearing from people all the time who send mail to arcast@microsoft.com.


    Here's one from Darren who says, "Thank you for the ARCast. Even as a developer, the material's extremely useful. Keep up the good work. I just watched the ComSee video, which was very interesting."


    That's right. As a matter of fact, we've started this new thing called ARCast TV, and you can go to ARCast.TV to find a whole bunch of video episodes of ARCast. So that there's no confusion, we have ARCast Radio, which is what you're listening to, and ARCast TV, which you can watch even on a Zune player - and that's a lot of fun! We'll see you next time on ARCast.

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