Discovering Orchard Project

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

I know it was you, Fredo.

Rolling rolling rolling, our new website’s growing.

We have been working on millions of new projects here at Web Applications UK, millions I say! So, one such project has been our current Website re-design and a brand new website for the launch of Web Applications UK Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence is its own project, so I’m going to put a pin in it at the moment, today we’re looking at the WAUK website re-design.

We’ve been poking our nose around the interwebs looking for new, exciting and cutting edge technologies to incorporate into our new website. During this search, we came around Orchard. Orchard is very new, (1.0 kind of new) and also very crisp, clean and organised, three adjectives we like very much. Essentially it’s a Web CMS (Content Management System) which comes across as rather ideal for our needs at this time.

Creating a new website for any company is a pretty big deal, and we want to get it just right, which is why we have been taking our time with our re-design. We want to ensure that we have the best tools and the best plan to arrive at the best outcome. In other words, we’re doing our research. We are still in the ‘research’ phase of Orchard but it’s looking promising. Like to hear a little more about it? Course you do!

Orchard is built on ASP.NET MVC which is a Web framework. One of the great things about Orchard (especially for a non-developer) is that they have taken the time to very clearly and briefly explain all the terms of how Orchard works. The explanations alone are not going to be enough, some development experience is clearly necessary, but it’s certainly enough to get a handle on what they’re talking about. To give you an example, here is their glossary.

Orchard provides a number of examples for developers to become familiar with. Here are a couple of examples.

A template that displays the title from the Route part:

< h 1 > @model.Title < / h 1 >

An example of a placement file: < .placement. >

< .place parts_map=”Content:10″. >

< .place parts_map_edit=”Content:7.5″. >

< ./Placement. >

 

(please ignore the extra dots and spaces)

Great, that was fun, let’s move on. There are all sorts of Security roles which an excitable Administrator will thoroughly enjoy policing. There are a number of built-in roles but if they don’t quite cover what you’re looking for you can make up your own if you like. One very exciting little gem, the site owner, master of the site, can also be called a “super user”! This is the person who has all the rights to the site, the one, special, super, caretaker of the website.

Orchard also goes through some basic concepts that Orchard uses that pertain to development, terms like Handler, Driver, Model, Migration and Injection to list a few. Each of these has a role to play in the web development process and either has to do with MVC or something baked into Orchard.

 

We saw it, we might be using it, and if you’re going to be updating your website at some point it might be something for you to look into as well. Above is an example of what the UI might look like, simple, organised and makes us think of summertime.