Last week two of our resident DNN hosting experts ran in the same issue with the DNN version 7.4.0 on the same day. The issue first was noticed when we have setup a clean DNN 7.4.0 installation for one of our managed Hosted Appliance customer and deployed the skin package customer’s Dev team has chosen for their project on to a brand new installation.
It is a common practice for quality DNN skin developers such as the dnnskin.net to include a demo site template with the skin package. The skin demo site template can be imported in to the DNN installation as a temporary site. The demo site is perfect sandbox example of the skin capabilities that the end users and developers can use to rapidly develop their own site by borrowing code blocks with simple copy/paste operations rather than spending time writing multiple nested blocks of <div>…</div> with the proper CSS id/class attributes.
Unfortunately, in the DNN version 7.4.0 there seems to a bug that causes all site templates other than the “blank” and “default” to throw the following exception:
Error parsing Website TemplateObject reference not set to an instance of an object. at DotNetNuke.Entities.Portals.PortalController.ParseTemplateInternal(Int32 portalId, String templatePath, String templateFile, Int32 administratorId, PortalTemplateModuleAction mergeTabs, Boolean isNewPortal, LocaleCollection& localeCollection) at DotNetNuke.Entities.Portals.PortalController.CreatePortalInternal(Int32 portalId, String portalName, UserInfo adminUser, String description, String keyWords, PortalTemplateInfo template, String homeDirectory, String portalAlias, String serverPath, String childPath, Boolean isChildPortal, String& message)
Site Template Error
DNN 7.4.0 exception occurs when importing the site template.
This makes it impossible to import site templates in to DNN 7.4.0. We further have tested this issue by exporting the native DNN 7.4.0 site in to site template and then re-importing this template in to the same DNN installation. Earlier this week, this issue has been confirmed by Sebastion Leupold in this forum thread
created by our support administrator.
Furthermore, upon closer examination the "Portals, PortalLocalization, PortalSettings" tables in the DNN MSSQL databases are populated with the orphan records with references to the failed site creation attempts. This can potentially cause unintended issues in the future due to the presence of partially populated database records referencing portal ID values that are not present.
For customers that have already deployed and are using DNN 7.4.0 the issue should be resolved in the next DNN release 7.4.1 that is due to release in the second half of March 2015. If you are currently looking to deploy a new DNN site, we advise using version 7.3.4 until the bug fix release 7.4.1 becomes available.