One of the most important aspects in the long-term success of any platform is the size of its commercial ecosystem. Essentially a commercial ecosystem is made possible by three fundamental capabilities: a platform, an extensibility model for creating and integrating custom features, and a distribution service for making the custom features easily discoverable and consumable by end users and monetizable by developers. Up until recently Oqtane had mostly focused on the platform and extensibility model; however as these have matured, it has become time to devote some energy to the distribution service.
Prior to the 2.2 release, Oqtane had only a basic integration with Nuget.org. Nuget.org was never designed to be a robust distribution service for third party platforms, so the capability was very limited. A more robust solution was necessary which resulted in the creation of a dedicated distribution service for Oqtane at https://www.oqtane.net, included in the 2.2 release. The distribution service was integrated directly with the Oqtane framework and provided a convenient way for developers to register their products and for consumers to discover, download and install them into the framework. However the distribution service was still only capable of managing non-commercial extensions.
In Oqtane 2.3, the distribution service has been enhanced in a variety of ways to allow it to be the underlying foundation for a commercial ecosystem. This includes full support for commercial products - from product registration, to discovery within the platform, to purchase via an app store, to integrated delivery of the commercial package, to license activation and vendor payout. A turn-key workflow provides the end-user with the most streamlined user experience but it is also possible for developers to customize the workflow to meet their needs. Please stay tuned for more information regarding the official public launch of this service.
In addition to the new commercial ecosystem capabilities, the entire user interface has been overhauled to use proper div layout concepts rather than tables. Expressive HTML 5 form validation has been implemented throughout the application and modern Bootstrap 5 components have replaced custom UI methods. Cross platform image management has been improved with the addition of SixLabors ImageSharp and a new image resizing service has been included to enhance Oqtane's digital asset management capabilities.
This release includes 66 pull requests by 8 different contributors, pushing the total number of project commits all-time to over 2370. The Oqtane framework continues to evolve at a rapid pace to meet the needs of .NET developers. The 2.3.1 release is available for download on GitHub.
Please note that this is the last release focused on .NET 5. The next release will be version 3.0 and will be focused on .NET 6 (LTS) with a target release date of Nov 9-11, 2021.