Orchard: a first impression

The blog you’re reading right now is powered by WordPress. WordPress is a well known blog engine used for a lot of blogs. But for me, being a Microsoft dude, it’s not that easy extending it and making it my own. That always kept me from creating my entire website in WordPress somehow, never had the urge to start that project.

So recently I got bored with my “website” (www.repsaj.nl) and wanted to try something new. So I went on a search to see what .NET based CMS-es (how do you spell that correctly?) there were out there. Didn’t took me too long to find Orchard, a .NET based open source CMS which looked promising from the start. And only 2 weeks later, www.repsaj.nl is an Orchard powered site catered to my needs. I even wrote my own custom page module with live tiles and Spotify widget. Loving it! The only downside is the speed at which it’s hosted, but that seems to be a problem of my hosting company, to be continued.

So here’s a little about Orchard:

  • Installation is very easy, it’s powered by WebMatrix 2 which let’s you create new sites based on existing systems like Orchard very rapidly. And that’s not .NET only, you can also create a WordPress site for instance. Other options include Joomla, Drupal, phpBB and many, many more. When you’re thinking of setting something like that up in a Windows environment, you should definitely check that out.
  • Orchard has all the basic CMS bits like creating pages, uploading media, theming, etc. It’s very much like WordPress, although the WordPress community does offer more content to use at this moment.
  • It’s based on MVC which makes it fast (when you’ve got the right host that is), flexible and search engine friendly.
  • Development is pretty straightforward. Ok, it’s may not be that easy for a novice .NET developer, but anyone who’s got some MVC experience should be able to start with the help of some good tutorials in the documentation section. You can write themes, page modules, widgets, everything is extensible!
  • Deployment is super simple, again due to WebMatrix. You set your FTP server details (or web deployment server when supported), press Publish and away you go.

I’ll leave it with that for now. But expect more Orchard stuff up here, because I’m pretty exited about it. Finally a decent, well build, professional CMS for .NET based sites. Great!

Oh and for you Orchard fans out there, you can download my Spotify Widget from the online gallery, or check it out here: https://t.co/ZytB8n9u.

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