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Using Orchard for complex web applications (MLM business). Need advice from experts.

Topics: General
Mar 19, 2013 at 3:40 AM
We need to develop web application for a company doing MLM business. They have pretty big business model, not the simplest model company-customer. The Business model includes entities/roles like:
  • Lead - Customer – Affiliate (3 types)
  • Staff: Administrator, Management, Customer Support, Sales, Treasury, Product Consulting.
The customer support employee could be a customer and affiliate at the same time. Anybody could be in any role(s).

The Project includes:
  • Front-end ecommerce website with affiliate tracking.
  • Back-End company website with modules:
  • CRM
  • Shipping and tracking including automatic calculation from Fedex, UPS, USPS, DHL, etc.
  • Billing (Invoices, Refunds, payment processing, etc.)
  • Inventory
  • Orders and products (they may have more than 1 customer per order but 1 customer per product)
  • Commission Calculation
  • Reports and Stats for affiliates and sales
  • Online Customizable forms – Questioners that allow to gather necessary information from clients and save into the database
  • Marketing (emails, newsletters, etc.)
  • Coupons and Discounts module
  • Tasks,
  • Chats,
  • Customer success stories
  • Knowledge Base
The client wants to use existing CMS or systems to “speed-up development and reduce cost”. They like the Orchard platform and the fact that it allows module development that can go into production before the whole system completed.
I did not find anything close to their business model. The closest solution was nopcommerce which is perfect for ecommerce website only.
  1. Did anybody have experience to develop complex web applications on Orchard?
  2. Would it save time to use Orchard for the project above compare with “starting from scratch” ASP.NET MVC solution?
  3. What if we implement combined solution as e-commerce website on Orchard and the rest of the project on ASP.NET MVC?
I’ve never had experience with Orchard and only able to read docs and see the training video. I don’t have that 6th sense when you know the technology (Orchard) and can tell if it is suitable for this particular project.
May be Orchard saves time for the module development, but it may turn into the developer’s nightmare when you deal with complex business model. There is a chance that in a middle of the development we arrive into the point that Orchard cannot do things we need.

Thank you in advance.
Mar 19, 2013 at 9:57 AM
I don't see anything listed that can not be done using custom modules. Personally, I would totally use Orchard. It's built on top of MVC, and instead of starting from scratch I'd rather build on top of an extensible application framework which happens to have a more than decent CMS. But before you decide to go the Orchard route, it's probably a good idea to spend some time building a module and become comfortable with the various concepts and APIs first.
Mar 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM
Thanks. I do exactly what you said - trying to learn module development and get familiar with API so far.
Mar 19, 2013 at 9:20 PM
The design and architecture of Orchard is fantastic. We have large transactional e-commerce web sites running on them and more to come. We've built many custom modules and take advantage of Orchard's extensive MVC design patterns and dependency injection. Very worthwhile.

More coming soon...