DotNetNuke Upgrade - My Rant

03.31.08

I have been using DotNetNuke for a year or more now mostly for personal fun projects but I have setup a site for a family business using DNN, nothing explosive and shinny but it has served its purpose. I manage 2 different DotNetNuke installations and I have to say upgrading DNN application (not the modules) is scary. I have yet to do it successfully on my first try. Here are my steps to failure:

1. Backup my SQL Server as well as my site files. This is the most important step because the fallowing steps are sure to fail.

2. Download the latest install or upgrade package for your DotNetNuke application. I have tried upgrading using both the upgrade and install packages with equal success err failure... successful failure?

3. Create an app_offline.htm with some generic text stating that you are doing maintenance on the site blah blah blah.

4. Rename your current web.config to web.config.old

5. Copy contents of the install/upgrade package to your DNN application folder.

6. Rename release.config to web.config.

7. Merge your old web.config with the new web.config. The areas to merge are: Connection Strings, MachineKey, and the codeSubDirectories. I also like to set AutoUpgrade key too false so nobody but me will trigger the installation.

8. Now I navigate to [Domain Name]/install/install.aspx

9. After I watch the list of Successful, or sometimes on Friday and the moon is full I will get a failure, I navigate to my home page of my DNN application to view the wonderful yellow screen. The error displayed is usually different every time or a different flavor of the same variety "Object Null Reference" being my favorite for its descriptiveness [insert sarcasm].

The good news and one of the reasons that I like DNN is it has a great community and I have fixed every problem with the help of people on the forums. Also once it is updated and running it is a solid application and very easy to extend and write custom modules for. I just wish for a one click update and BAM you are getting your "real" work completed. Anyway my SQL Server and root files are done restoring, time for try number two.

Note: Currently DotNetNuke was on version 4.8.2 when I wrote this.

Here are a few tutorials on upgrading your installation: 1 2