Single-SignOn Intranet Portal On DotNetNuke

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Client Requirements

Client’s current system included a share point portal that caters to their current needs but was not attractive enough and was also costly. Client required a DNN portal that would be a single point of access for all client users to access their applications.

The DNN portal should be attractive, intuitive and should have an appealing design so that the end users use it on a day to day basis for their daily activities.

Project Scope

  • A portal solution that would be used on a daily basis with an attractive look, user friendly design and should be cost effective too.
  • Portal should have different modules controlled by access sites given to the user groups.
  • Users should be able to sign in with their AD credentials.
  • Third party integration with features that enable users to login without carrying their credentials. The portal should carry the credentials into the modules.
  • Tech savvy users are not required to use the system. User friendly controls lke rich text editors and form fields should be provided in order to manage system and content.
  • Easy update and maintenance should be made available and any developer should be able to do it.


The team faced the following challenges

  • Developing a portal with all current features and including those with exclusive focus o user’s day to day activities.
  • Using a robust framework so that the the portal functions smoothly even when accessed by a number of users simultaneously.
  • SAP and other third party applications integration with single sign on facilities.
  • Load balance must be maintained when various features are simultaneously executed.
  • Web usability principles to be incorporated while developing and designing several features for improving user experience.
  • User privacy and safeguarding user data.

Technologies Used

Operating System & Server Management Windows OS,Multi-Server Architecture with Staging & Production Environment through Version Controlling releases, Server Optimization, Security & SSL Implementation, Scheduler for Back-ups,Alert Monitoring System Integration, Server Performance Tuning at regular intervals, Software Firewall Configuration & Maintenance
Development Tools & Environments .Net Framework, DNN, Visual Studio, ASP.NET, C#, SSRS, AJAX, HTML,CSS, JavaScript etc.
Database MSSQL Database Server (Web), Symbian Native Database (Mobile), DB Clustering, DB Optimization, Master Slave Replication, Query Optimization, Scheduler for Backups


Project Leader 1
Developers 4
Designers 1
Quality Assurance Testers 1


Taking into account the enormous nature of the portal and the numerous features, the following development approach was used

  • DNN (DotNetNuke) was used for this portal considering the cost factor and allowing the client to manage the portal content.
  • A complete site overhaul was done and an intuitive dashboard was designed to attract end users and a clear visibility was given to the important areas.
  • As DNN uses a three tier development approach, the same was used for the project.


A three tier development approach was used

Business Access Layer (BAL) – the business logics, validations related to data.

Data Access Layer (DAL) – contains MSSQL Server Database, Tables, Stored Procedures and so on. It also helps the business layer to connect to the data and perform actions such as insert, delete, update etc.

Presentation Layer (PL) – contains .asp or html where data is presented to the user and inputs are taken from the user.

Single-SignOn Intranet Portal On DotNetNuke Architecture 1

Presentation layer can only talk to the business layer. It has no connection to the data access layer.

The cycle of requests and their associated responses can be shown in the form of a simple diagram:

Single-SignOn Intranet Portal On DotNetNuke Architecture 2

Presentation layer Skills: HTML, CSS, JavaScript and UI design.

Business Layer Skills: a programming language so that business rules can be processed by a computer.

Data Access Layer Skills: SQL skills in the form of Data Definition Language (DDL) and Data Manipulation Language (DML), plus database design.

Advantages of a three tier architecture are:

  • Flexibility: 3 tier architecture separates the business logic and the presentation logic and makes the application more flexible.
  • Maintainability: Changes in one layer of this architecture has no effect on the other layers. Also different layers require different skills.
  • Reusability: Reusable components are easy to maintain because the application is separated into different layers.
  • Scalability: Application components are distributed across various layers making the application more scalable.
  • Reliability: 3 tier architecture if deployed on various servers makes the system more reliable due to redundancy.

Development Highlights

  • Development was quick and efficient using DNN. The basic functions ran flawlessly as DNN provided all the base modules which were easy to deploy.
  • The system was capable of handling all data with ease of access for everyone.
  • With a good initial analysis and planning, a well designed system was set up with all the modules integrated into it along with the control over user access.
  • Web usability guidelines were strictly followed and the interface was made user friendly with the use of AJAX, CSS and HTML controls. The site was developed and fully functional within a span of 6 months.
  • Legacy systems were integrated with DNN.
  • The portal was made responsive and it worked on tablets and mobile phones as well.
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