Friday 10 February 2012

Orchard CMS

Just like the weather changes from -12.5° to +30° I sometimes change from my work as Enterprise Architecture back to technical dev stuff. From focus point of view it may not sound great, however, I think it is important as advocate of technology within the business to maintain grassroots in the technology itself.

For a current project, the customer wanted to move aggressive onto the Internet with not a mere site but rather a whole platform. So, as usual there's the option to go buy or build. This time we went for the sweet spot in between; Orchard CMS.

The Orchard CMS is a modular CMS (like most systems out there today) but allows custom development with your ASP.Net MVC3 skills.

Out of the box there's already a number of modules and more can be downloaded via the Gallery. One of the interesting features here was to host a private gallery which is perfect if you want to use this as delivery mechanismfor customer specific modules.

Although Orchard CMS is quite young, it is a promosing piece of technology if you are customed to C# and ASP.Net technologies. Imho, surely a system to whatch out for.

After a couple of days later I found that learning the system is best done via:

Because I didn't developed in a while, I found the learning curve to be a bit steep, but worth it. My recommendation would be to try to learn the system first from a configuration point of view playing with the available modules. Then go over in learning about themes which will give you more insight into topics like layers and zones and widgets. After that you could dive into the development track.

An other interesting feat was the ability to develop a module that actually contains tasks that one would normally do via configuration. So instead of configuring a system using the admin, you could pour this all into a module and install it on different sites (like test and production environments).