Feature Matrix Showdown

By Shaun Walker


As an Open Source project, one of the things we tend to ignore are the marketing activities which consume 50%+ of the time spent at traditional software product companies. This is largely because Open Source tends to focus more on solutions than hype, but it does lead to problems - especially when you are pitching your platform to the "decision maker" crowd ( who are more interested in objective collateral than source code ).

I thought I would take a few minutes to provide a simple feature matrix comparison of DotNetNuke versus ASP.NET 2.0 versus SharePoint Server 2003 ( SPS 2003 ) versus Microsoft Office Sharepoint Services 2007 ( MOSS 2007 ).

Why include information on so many products you ask ( and some which are not yet even released ) ? Well the reason is because we constantly get asked questions like "Why should I use DotNetNuke when we could use Microsoft 'X' ?" ( replace 'X' with whatever product the Microsoft Marketing machine is pushing at that moment ).

Obviously once you become familiar with DotNetNuke, and realize that a Web Application Framework has a very diverse set of strengths which you can leverage in your organization, your question will come full circle and more closely resemble "Why would I NOT use DotNetNuke when it delivers so much value at such a minimal cost?".

Anyways, lets get on to the feature matrix:

Features Matrix Showdown

Feature DotNetNukeŽ ASP.NET 2.0 SPS 2003 and WSS 2.0 MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 DotNetNukeŽ Benefits
Portal Framework

(Web Part Framework)


(Web Part Framework)
unlimited pages per site, unlimited modules per page, ability to display module on multiple pages
Browser-Based Administration  
Intuitive Control Panel      
Inline Editing, Drag and Drop        
Site Search   does not depend on third party components or services such as Index Server, etc...
Content Import/Export        
Templates       site and page templates ( with content ) supported
MS Office Integration      
Bundled Functionality
Discussion Forums      
Photo Gallery      
Html/Text Content    
News Feeds      
Custom Reports        
Custom Forms/Tables        
Banner Advertising        
Event Logging        
File Manager        
Recycle Bin      
Membership & Roles
Plugin Membership Provider   support for all Microsoft Membership Provider attributes
Active Directory Authentication    
Internet/Extranet Authentication    
Public, Private, Verified Registration Options        
Plugin Roles Provider   additional support for Effective Date, Expiry Date, Avatars, Subscriptions, etc...
Security Role Trimming   role trimming control visibility at the Page, Module, and Folder level and also includes extensibility options for adding additional Permission types
User Profile
Plugin Profile Provider    
Extensible User Profile System   Profile items can be managed at run-time using an intuitive administrative interface. User interface controls generated automatically for collection of profile data.
Application Extensibility
Integrated Component Architecture

(Web Parts)

(Web Parts)

(Web Parts)
Rapid Development Model
(User Controls)

(User Controls)

(Server Controls)

(User Controls)
Developer Tool Support
(All VS2005 SKUs)

(All VS2005 SKUs)

(VS2003 Pro)

(VS2005 Pro)
supports FREE Visual Web Developer Express 2005 and SQL 2005 Express
Code Generation Templates       uses integrated Visual Studio item templates
Automated Packaging       integrated with standard application
Efficient Distribution       single ZIP file
Run-time Installation       integrated with standard application
Designer Extensibility
Templating Architecture

(Master Pages)


(Master Pages)
pre-compiled for maximum performance and flexibility
Design Tool Support

Supports ALL design tools ( PC and MAC )
Automated Packaging       integrated with standard application
Efficient Distribution       single ZIP file
Run-time Installation       integrated with standard application
Site Extensibility
Site Virtualization   supports multiple virtual sites from a single application/database based on URL
Friendly URLs     flexible RegExp URL Rewriting engine
Resource File Framework    
Run-time integrated editor        
Scalable       Does not use satellite assemblies ( satellite assemblies can cause memory consumption issues in hosted environments )
Automated Packaging       integrated with standard application
Efficient Distribution       single ZIP file
Run-time Installation       integrated with standard application
Medium Trust Compliant        
Document Management
Secure Document Storage   supports storage on file system and in database
XCOPY Deployment      
No IIS Customization      
Web Farm Support    
Multiple Database Support        
Shared Hosting Optimization        
Professional Plugin Ecosystem        
Professional Designer Ecosystem        
Support Forums        
License Open Source   $$$ $$$ licensed under an enterprise-friendly BSD/MIT open source license
Source Code        
Price FREE FREE $40,000 (Not Released)  

Please note that this blog was influenced by other recent blogs by Bil Simser and Richard Dudley ( whom I wish to thank for sharing their objective opinions ).


Copyright 2006