A beginners feedback of Orchard 1.5.1

Topics: General, Installing Orchard
Aug 7, 2012 at 1:04 AM
Edited Aug 7, 2012 at 3:37 AM

I setup for this first time recently (Orchard.Web.1.5.1). I’m not experienced enough with the project to contribute by code, but I’d like to use this post to provide constructive feedback from a new user perspective in case my opinions can be of use in fine tuning the experience a little so that it is little easier to get started.

  1. Downloading Orchard from the Web Application Gallery or from within WebMatrix installs the 1.4.2 rather than 1.5.1. The announcement on the orchardproject.net home page says otherwise – I found the newer version by going to codeplex, but it was confusing at first because I couldn’t figure out why the new functionality I had just read about wasn’t appearing.
  2.  I found the documentation for upgrading in-place and my upgrade to 1.5.1 went smoothly – it may be too soon but eventually it would be great to be able to upgrade a local Orchard website from within the administrative interface.
  3. Setting up Orchard is straightforward – I would like to suggest that the three recipe options are explained on the setup page though, because as a new user I’d like to some guidance on when to use Default vs Blog or Core.
  4. I noticed that the word Triple was misspelled as Tripel for the three layout sections – obviously not a big deal, but it does negatively impact initial impressions.
  5. I wanted to try the new form features and, from watching the video introducing 1.5 features, it seems that this functionality should be activated out-of-the-box. After posting to the discussion list, I learned that the solution was to install Custom Forms from the Gallery. After getting it installed, the process for implementing forms was straightforward to use – documentation explaining how to install and use custom forms would be helpful.
  6.  I wanted to experiment with creating a child theme. After activating the Code Generation feature I ran codegen theme from the command line to successfully create the theme. However, two warnings were issues that I did not understand. After posting to the discussion list, a user said I can safely ignore the warnings – it would be nice if the warnings were more explanatory though (or removed if not applicable anymore).
  7. The Getting Started page in the documentation indicates that in-place editing is available from the front-end of the website when signed in as administrator, but mine did not have it. After posting to this discussion forum, I learned that the Content Control Wrapper and Widget Control Wrapper features need to be activated – I’d suggest that these be activated by default or the documentation explains this step.
  8. I keep trying to make sense of the functionality in the Widgets area – I get the basics but not enough to fully understand how to work with all the elements of this screen. This area is cryptic for a new user.
  9. I created a new page, and fortunately saw the “add a widget layer” option after it was created, which I used to add the three column layout. From a technical perspective I appreciate the abstraction levels provide a lot of control with how content is re-used, but I think that a business user who needs to add pages with various layouts would find this too complex to use.
  10. Projections seems to be an important feature in the admin area, but I don’t understand how or when to use them and can’t find any documentation.

I hope my feedback is not seen as negative. I just wanted to share my some hurdles that other new users may well encounter. Perhaps addressing these items can have a positive impact on adoption rate.

I do recognize that Orchard has a very well-thought out and extensible architecture, and the feature-set is maturing at a great rate. And I really appreciate the efforts of those who have contributed to this initiative. Thank you.



Aug 8, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Thanks a lot for taking the time to provide us with this great, honest feedback. Most of the issues we are aware of, such as providing more documentation (help would be greatly appreciated ;) but it's good to know how new users experience the whole setup and the whole Orchard in general.

I will propose that the team will review your suggestions and possibly turn them into workitems, if not done already.

Thanks again, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Aug 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Gary, this is certainly not negative info, instead I think it's valuable. If you have found an issue, post it at /WorkItem/Create or if you can fix it yourself, you can contribute or post a solution. A rich feature set is great, but hurdles for an Orchard starter should be taken away too, so your input is important.

Aug 9, 2012 at 1:42 AM
Edited Aug 9, 2012 at 1:43 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Some answers:

  1. Unfortunately this one is out of our hands. We submitted 1.5.1 the very day we released it, and despite our repeated attempts to contact the people in charge of the gallery have had zero feedback or explanation about why it was taking so long to update. EDIT: oh wait, it was updated two days ago: http://www.microsoft.com/web/gallery/orchardcms.aspx
  2. We agree, but so far higher priority items have taken precedence.
  3. I'm confused. They are described on the setup page.
  4. Not a typo. This is by design and a name that refers to a type of Belgian beer. We like to have some innocent fun like this ;)
  5. By design, we do not include all existing modules, but rather narrow down on the most universal feature set, and let users choose what additional features they want to install. Installing a module from the gallery is extremely simple. Documentation can certainly be improved. Documentation bugs can be filed too.
  6. Please file a bug if you think the warnings are confusing. I would say that a warning is different from an error so you should not be too alarmed if you see a warning.
  7. These used to be activated by default. It's true that many users seem to find that confusing. We could bring it back. Please file a bug.
  8. Widgets can be tricky, yes, but we designed it with the idea that the (necessary) complexity only needs to be discovered as needed. Any suggestions are welcome. Did you read the documentation on widgets?
  9. There is a feature we have wanted to implement for a while to solve this problem, but so far it has been postponed in favor of more urgent requirements.
  10. Yes, it is lacking documentation. We need someone to contribute that.

I hope this helps.