The Human Element Blog

“There’s probably an extension that will do that”

Posted Apr 28, 2011 by

One of the things that developers and clients love about content management and eCommerce platforms, such as DotNetNuke (DNN) and Magento is that they don’t have to design and code common site functions from scratch anymore. For instance, no one wants to design and code a search function.  That’s what Google is for.

And besides we have more important things to do like focus on traffic sources, conversion rates, ad content, good photography, potential lunch destinations and blog topics – so we can beat all of our co-workers in pure volume of posts, if not quality.

Finding A Module or Extension


In this world of 90% technology solutions, there are still important functions or features that either need to be developed or found in your respective platform’s marketplace and customized/modified.  As an example, lets look at a weather widget* that gives your users a snapshot of the current conditions and a forecast for tomorrow.  We’re not sure why users would look to you for weather reporting, but lets assume that they do and you decide its very import to your business that the weather be displayed on all pages of your site.  Lets take a quick look at how to proceed.

  1. Go to the marketplace ( Snowcovered.com for DNN or MagentoConnect for you know)
  2. Do a quick search for “Weather”  and review results
  3. Pick one that has a good thumbnail image of a sun or something and some reviews that don’t start with “doesn’t work at all”
  4. Figure out they don’t have a free trial and look for one that does
  5. Locate one that does have a free trial and install it and find out it doesn’t work
  6. Go back to step 1, repeat steps 3 times then buy Module/Extension/Plug that doesn’t have a free trial and cross your fingers

The key thing to understand, is that allot of the Modules or Extensions available don’t work and have little or no support beyond purchase.  If you are relying on a Module or Extension for a key site function, you still may need to build it or at least purchase from a group with an excellent history of service and development.  If the requirement is highly specialized and may even give you some advantage/innovation in your space it will almost always need to be custom coded.

That said there are some excellent Module or Extension’s available for both DNN and Magento. And we regularly use products from Webgility, Packflash, Coding Staff and Invenmanager.  Just know that you can’t always get your key site feature for $29.95 at MagentoConnect.

Sometimes you still need to build it.

* Note: no one wants to learn about the weather from your website, and even if they did there are a seemingly infinite amount of weather widgets on the internet for you to choose from.  But sometimes DNN doesn’t like free code.

Posted By

Managing Partner

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