An easy way to update DNN modules from another app

My thanks go out to Mitchel Sellers for informing me that DotNetNuke has a bulk install feature. I had a need to modify an existing Windows service so it could silently update some DNN modules. I was able to make it work in this same service a couple years ago by modifying the DNN 4.3 source code to allow the main DotNetNuke.dll library to function outside of a web application (no easy feat, that). From there I could use the PaInstaller class to load a module. But then it wouldn’t work against 4.9.0 portals.

When I tried to do the same thing with the 4.9.0 source, it failed miserably. It just wouldn’t create an instance of SqlDataProvider, no matter how much I coaxed it. The better way was to have my service download the new module files (zips) to the install/module folder under the portal’s root, create an HttpWebRequest to http://mysite/install/install.aspx?mode=installresources, then parse the response to check for success.

The response parsing was easier than I thought it would be. I did the bulk update first using a web browser so I could see what I was dealing with. The HTML itself was nice in that it put non-blank space elements between each module name and result, so I could use Split() to break everything out. I ignored the first two elements of the resultant array since it contained all the unimportant stuff before the list of modules, then simply looped over the array and verified the word Success was in each even-numbered element, like so:

I’m not sure why I had never heard of this feature over the course of developing several custom DNN modules, even though I’ve spent untold hours sifting through the forums at dotnetnuke.com and the Internet at large for detailed information on the portal’s architecture. In any case, that was the one new thing I learned that day.

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