Moving and Upgrading An Intranet and the 6 P’s

So I’m moving my entire Intranet from an old ASP Classic code base to a more dynamic, new and improved .NET code base.

I’m using the Open Source DotNetNuke for a few reasons:

1. I have a Microsoft Server, so I prefer, when possible to use things that work well with Microsoft…DotNetNuke, being a .NET application, fits that bill.

2. A Tremendous User base! DotNetNuke has such a community of developers and users and third-party application providers, that I find myself strangely comfortable with this.

3. It’s FREE. Yes, it is completely FREE and it has worked for me quite well out of the box.

Here’s the situation though. We were hosted by our County’s OIT because they were very gracious to me when I first came on board at the Park Authority a few years back. They allowed me to have my old ASP classic CMS that I purchased for $150 bucks. They hosted it on their server and permitted me FTP access so I could do what needed to be done. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they were to me.

The problem is now that this system is S L O O O W W W W. It uses an Access database and to try to port that over to SQL would have been a mess. So I’m not going to try to improve, I’m going to try to start over with something much more scalable and DotNetNuke offers that.

I now realize what a challenge this truly is for a one-man web services department. I am hosted by the County OIT, but I am not part of them and do not have access to their resources.

So, I am copying over the page content, but now I realize I have to bring over the files. The file structure is quite different as well and now needs to conform to the DNN architecture. This has been challenging when you have so many documents on the intranet, and those documents are scattered across 20 different departments, sometimes being out there multiple times.

So, I am now going to have to try to have the county switch off the old domain and place the new domain pointing to my web server. This is not going to be easy as they have their own priorities, so in the meantime, I have to ask everyone to not post to the intranet until they can get around to doing this.

Then comes the cleanup and testing, which I have given myself two weeks to accomplish.

Once that happens, I will then have to train everyone on how to use this new and improved CMS, which fortunately for me, I have a number of POC’s who know the system because I used it for our Internet website: www.pwcparks.org.

OK, so what did I learn here?

I learned that there is so much more to this than just waving a wand and saying “New Website with old content, Appear!”. It doesn’t do that, but I knew that going in. What I really didn’t know were the pieces to this puzzle that would need to fit together to make this happen. I am currently on month 4 of doing this and am nearing completion, but there are so many other things that could go wrong.

So I guess what I’ve learned is that it’s never as simple as you think it is to just “make it happen”, which is how I’ve always lived my life. I am making it happen, but the devil is definitely in the details on this one.

In the military we had a saying that, hopefully, won’t offend any of you. We called it the 6 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


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Amy Hooker

Having only had to endure the pain of transferring files and settings from an old computer to a new one, your much larger, more complicated overhaul definitely sparks my sympathies.

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes, you have to get knee-deep in something before all of the interconnections become apparent?

Mark Gordon

Amy, you’re absolutely right. This process has amazed me since I’ve never had to do a move like this before. Lessons learned, but I sure won’t take it as casually as I did with any others I may come across. 🙂