• About the Orchard Project

    Orchard is a free, open source, community-focused Content Management System built on the ASP.NET MVC platform.

    Learn more...

Recent Posts and Articles

  • Using Ad-Hoc Shapes

    In this video I show how to utilize ad-hoc shapes within Orchard CMS. Shapes are razor files that Orchard uses to build views, but you can add them in as you wish as well!

  • WebMatrix 2 Minify CSS And JavaScript

  • My Body Summary Template

    By default, when Orchard displays a content item such as a blog post in a list, it uses a very basic summary template that removes all markup and then extracts the first 200 characters. Removing the markup has the unfortunate effect of removing all styles and images, in particular the image I like to add to the beginning of my posts.

    Fortunately, overriding templates in Orchard is a piece of cake. Here is the Common.Body.Summary.cshtml file that I drop into the Views/Parts folder of pretty much all Orchard themes I build...

  • Appfabric Distributed Caching

    A while ago I was commissioned to write a AppFabric Caching module for Onestop Internet Ltd, who have subsequently generously donated the module to the wider community.

    Well what is AppFabric Caching? And how does it help me?

    AppFabric Caching is a distributed caching mechanism that allows multiple web applications to use the same cache, this is different to how most websites currently work, even Orchard by default maintains its own cache within its separate website instances. With AppFabric, all website instances maintain and contribute to the same cache.

  • Front-End Styling

    I’ve been a front-end developer for over a decade now and some of my favorite sites to style-up have been Orchard CMS sites. The reason for this is the out-of-the-box structure that comes with this Open Source CMS. There are varying types of skillsets needed in order to hammer out a successful Orchard site. In some cases, you may not be a CSS wiz, but the ease and variety of Orchard Themes gives you flexibility and some nicely packaged designs. On the other side of the fence, you’re a CSS prodigy and you can highly customize the default styles that come with your solution.

    After you put your feelers out there and start digging in, you will be customizing your Site.css file just like any other website you’re used to building. The setup of an Orchard site provides you with HTML and class names already cooked into the site. This essentially allows you to use the best CSS practices in order to completely style a website without adding any extra markup. Your CSS should truly cascade and target the varying zones and widgets around the site. However, it’s not uncommon to run into a site-wide zone that you might need to single-out on a particular page. In this instance, the new Orchard 1.4 lets you apply a class to a zone without having to add any markup to the code behind the scenes. So exceptions are still possible, it’s just now easier for a front-end developer to control this customization.

  • The Dynamic Page Pattern

    The Orchard content model is a beautiful thing: the concept of extensible content types, the ability to fine-tune every aspect of content management gives us a very powerful toolbox when it comes to handling any type of content.

    This engine can be leveraged even with "singleton" content types, where there will be only one content item ever. What's more, you don't need to persist anything: content items can be thrown together on the fly. Why this is awesome is shown us by the following pattern. Let's call it "dynamic page" pattern.

  • SQL Database Scripting Diff Tools That Work

    Recently I needed software for one very specific task: given two databases, calculate their (data and schema) differences and generate an appropriate change script. There are dozens of solution for this, but I tried many till I found two that satisfied the following criteria:

    • Work with SQL Server
    • Diff data and schema of the whole database (not just individual tables)
    • Either be free or have a reasonable price
  • Backing Up And Restoring SQL Server Databases On A Remote Server

    So you want to use a decent SQL Server database for your ASP.NET application (e.g. an Orchard site :-)), both when testing locally and in the hosting environment. Now how to backup or restore these databases, so you'll more or less see the same in either environment? I'm glad you asked.

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