Goodbye Orchard - parting thoughts.

Topics: Core, General
Aug 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM
I have spent two weeks evaluating a couple of CMS (Umbraco, Orchard and Mojo Portal). And I have decided against Orchard for several reasons:

As a developer and designer, I found Orchard to be very difficult to use with regards to taking control of the generated HTML. Orchard makes assumptions/decisions for the default code it wants to use, and it has a poorly documented and not very intuitive way of allowing you the control over this.

As a developer, I could manage this (and eventually did). But as a designer, I can see this limiting adoption of the product. Even Umbraco, which gives you no presentation code out of the box (unless you opt for a runway template) is better in this regard as it allows YOU to define said code (or use templates from anywhere else with ease).

I also had concerns with the lack of evangelism around the product – there doesn’t yet seem to be any real community buzz and excitement about the product. It seems that his project is still very beta in nature, and struggling to find the polish and funding it could perhaps do with.

I also had concerns that this product is really only useful for (perhaps even targeted at) rather small websites and blogs. While nimble, it is also fairly hard to see it running enterprise level websites with even moderate demands and traffic.

Orchard is interesting, and VERY well written/architected, no doubt about that. But ultimately, it is not something that a designer could readily use to build the kinds of websites that are knocking around these days – it’s too techy and poorly documented (beyond the basics) to suit this VERY important crowd of would be adopters.

I was drawn by the MVC aspects of Orchard – but as it turns out, it doesn’t really matter that it is MVC based. As a CMS, this really a low level detail with the implications not being high enough for it to be given a criteria point when deciding upon a CMS. The familiarity is nice (I am an MVC developer), but ultimately, at the module level, it really doesn’t matter one way or the other.

(Knowing it has this architecture is, of course, a nice bonus. Though that’s not to say a non MVC CMS is not well architected)

Mojo Portal , for me anyway, didn’t look all that great a choice, but in my opinion was not even close to be as good as Orchard.

So for me, off too revaluate Umbraco (haven’t used it in earnest since v3) , and suspect it will meet my current needs – if only due to the total control over the generated code and abundance of modules and themes.

Farewell Orchard…for now. It’s been really interesting getting a brief glance at what it has to offer, and I’m certainly not going away disappointed or disgruntled.
Aug 8, 2013 at 2:37 PM
andles wrote:
I also had concerns that this product is really only useful for (perhaps even targeted at) rather small websites and blogs. While nimble, it is also fairly hard to see it running enterprise level websites with even moderate demands and traffic.
Ok, it isn't exactly Coca Cola, but take a look at

All made using Orchard as a base and constantly has people 'using' it.
Aug 8, 2013 at 3:25 PM
Yep, I'm sure there would be cases where it has been applied, and I can see ways where large sites could be made to work given the right approach and expertise.

A website can be built using plain old html and php scripts - and showing a link to such a site wouldn't really say anything, one way or another, about that being the right approach or not. That would just be a link to a site that used that approach.

To me, it was about choosing the right CMS for the job, not about saying which CMS is better. These just happened to be concerns that mattered to us, and ones that other CMS mitigated sufficiently enough to sway us.

To be honest, the biggest one was probably the adoption rate concern I mentioned. If Orchard doesn't get some decent docs and buy in from web designers, the adoption wont increase much and it may become less likely it can reach any kind of critical mass or "positive spiral". I'm not saying that wont happen, I'm no visionary, I'm just saying it is a needless risk in our case given what else is currently available.

I'm actually a little miffed as I really enjoyed tinkering with Orchard.
Aug 8, 2013 at 3:36 PM
It sounds like to me you're looking for less of a "developer friendly platform" and more of a plug and play module platform. Why else do you care how much evangelism is around the project? Orchard has been steaming along long enough now that it's obviously not a fly by night project so I'm not sure what the business case is otherwise.

I've never had any problem taking control of the presentation code with Orchard as you mentioned. However, it is quite the well known fact in the community that documentation is currently a sore point. Example foundation code for designing modules is really only found in other modules published but it's MVC at the end of the day. You don't need intense levels of Orchard familiarity to develop against it.

Regardless, best wishes in your endeavor. Come back anytime! We'd love to have you.
Aug 8, 2013 at 6:18 PM
Good for you , and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Best of luck with whatever you end up choosing.