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A few questions about a big website before taking the plunge.

Jan 21, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Hi All,

I was really excited when I first heard about Orchard. I have been waiting for a solid .net platform. I have used Kentiko and Umbraco and have not been extremely fond of them. I am happy to learn that Orchard runs on the MVC and 4.0 framework.

Anyway I have a pretty "high-profile" project coming up with a limited time frame. I do not have time to build my own CMS, and that's why I am looking at Orchard for my CMS. I understand that it is still very new, but from the brief time I have read about Orchard, it seems extremely customizable. I am building a website for a car brand. For example my site will resemble Land Rover or BMW. As you can see there will be many pages with each having a number of properties.

My questions are:

  • Is Orchard still till too new to achieve this type of complexity?
  • Would I be better to go with a more advanced CMS?
  • Is it easy to build upon Orchard?
  • How long would it take to become familiar with Orchard and developing upon it.
  • Is it light-weight fast and secure?

I am familiar with asp 4.0 and the MVC framework. So basically I want an extensible cms that I can learn quickly and most importantly extend.

Thank you so much for your time. Hopefully this journey will help me contribute to the Orchard-Project along the way.

Jan 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM

I am brand new to Orchard, and I can say I was rather surprised at just how big the code base is. But once you get the correct source code archive it is not that difficult to come to terms with and develop new features for it. I am in the process of adding a MySQL back end driver to it so I can run it on our MySQL databases, and it is turning out to be relatively easy to do that, once you can actually find the correct place in the code :)

My only gripe so far is most of the code I have looked at does not appear to have much in the way of internal comments and documentation at all.

Jan 21, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Send e-mail to bleroy and bradmi at microsoft and we'll help.

Jan 21, 2011 at 8:52 PM
Edited Jan 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM

My opinions on your questions...

  1. It isn't too new for such complexity but you will be implementing more basic CMS features that you would compared to other CMS frameworks out today which have had more time to mature, such as validation and orphans.
  2. I wouldn't say you'd be any better using another framework per-say. That answer will come down to how much time you have and what language you really want to use at the end of the day.
  3. From what little I've played, it's pretty easy to build upon Orchard if you are familiar with MVC.
  4. It took me about one week. However, with the abstraction present, I've never touched at least 50% of the third party tools being used.
  5. I can't honestly say that it is light weight, as I've found some operations are actually quite CPU intensive surprisingly. However, once the tasks are done and the application pool is loaded, it seems to handle requests well, taken in mind I have only ran 100 concurrent sessions against it at any given time during some very light weight testing. As for security, if you develop your modules/content/modifications using MVCs security practices, it shouldn't be a significant concern. Conventional attacks are pretty well covered by MVC's validation and encoding.

In a large, complex site, the default implementations of content types, pages, etc. will quickly overwhelm the administration panel interface in terms of usability if you don't change how items are displayed in various pages, which isn't that difficult. You will also need to handle clean-up when passing the administration to the end user, as it doesn't really clean up deleted items very well from what I've seen.

My usability test consists of telling my wife to create a page, edit it, then delete it. She managed to create a page which didn't include some of the basic parts of the framework, and therefore, didn't appear in the administration panel anywhere for her to edit, view, or delete it. However, these are all things you can easily address.

Considering the target development toward an enterprise site, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't seriously consider the Orchard framework. In the end result, if the product scales to your requirements without a struggle, I believe you would end up with a solid, clean web site more so than some of the other CMS frameworks which have been evolving over time. The developers at Microsoft have been surprisingly helpful on almost all topics around Orchard as well so there is more help here from the origin than other frameworks from what I've seen. You're getting a wide variety of technology merged into one package with Orchard to create your own solution where the focus is developers, rather than end users, so you can create your own experience.