Further reading

This is our blog. It contains the latest news and announcements about our open-source projects, services, and products; not least, there are gripping case studies, customer projects, and much more.

When you visit a concert, you visit Orchard: Troubleshooting Live Nation's Orchard platform

Did you ever go to a concert? Well, then most possibly you've been a guest of Live Nation Clubs and Theaters: A subsidiary of the Fortune 500 entertainment company Live Nation, Live Nation Clubs and Theaters manages a wide array of venues within the United States. But this is not what they're famous for, they also use Orchard :). Specifically all of Live Nation Clubs and Theater venues and brands, including e.g. House of Blues, The Aztec Theatre, and the Coca Cola Roxy are part of a 50-site multi tenant Orchard application. And we helped to iron out a few issues. Running 50 sites in a multi tenant Orchard app is not an extreme number (we have 3600 sites on DotNest) but if you have such high-profile websites it's still a challenge, especially operations-wise, to keep it all working smoothly. Live Nation Club and Theaters's development team got in touch with us to help troubleshoot some evasive bugs that hogged the whole application randomly when modules were enabled or disabled. We drilled into the issue and came up with a solution for the application's hosting environment, so the whole platform is much more stable now. We also helped the Live Nation Clubs and Theaters team with a few other issues and questions, and still continue to work together so Orchard serves them well. This is what Bryan Pritchard, Sr. Director Digital Development & Content Production told about us working together: There was this pesky problem that surfaced randomly when we enabled a feature on one of our sites and caused recurring (though short) downtimes. Since there was enough work on our plate already we reached out to the Lombiq team to help us fix the issue, which they soon did! We'll continue to be in touch with Lombiq as our Orchard experts. Do you also have a big multi tenant Orchard app that needs some maintenance? You found just the right team, get in touch with us!

Preventing skin cancer with Orchard: The Skin Cancer Foundation's website

We should really take better care of our largest organ, the skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation, a non-profit from New York City, helps by educating people on skin cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment - it's actually the only international organization to focus on this. And as you may have guessed, their website runs on Orchard CMS! So they got in touch with us and we worked together on a series of tasks to upgrade the site a bit. The Foundation's website has previously run on Orchard v1.4. If you're not entirely familiar with Orchard's release schedule then now you'll know that 1.4 was released in 2012. That was quite a while ago, so an upgrade was due: Our first task was to upgrade the site to 1.10, the current version. Secondly the site was not very convenient to use on small screen mobile devices. To mitigate this we've implemented a responsive retrofit, only changing what was really needed and keeping everything else from the original theme intact. Now if you check the site from a mobile device it will work as you expect it. We worked together with Victoria Silecchia, Skin Cancer Foundation's Digital Content Manager and Mae Fang, the Foundation's Web Developer to deliver the updates to the site, which were rolled out at the end of 2017. Victoria summarized the project as following: Going into this project, we weren't quite sure where to start or what the best approach was to meet our needs (and our budget). From our first interaction with Zoltán and team, we were put at ease. They presented us with a number of options that would allow us to achieve our goal, and they helped us understand the pros and cons of each. Once we were ready to move forward, the Lombiq team was always available to answer questions we had and kept us informed of the progress. At the end, they delivered exactly what they promised. We are really satisfied with their work and appreciate that we have a trusted go-to Orchard expert, just an email or Skype call away! Do you have an Orchard site that would really benefit from an upgrade? Just send us an e-mail!

Helping the oldest honor society: Phi Beta Kappa and Orchard

It has a certain ring to it when you can say your company, institute or school is 50 years, or 150 years old. How about 250 years? The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the oldest academic honor society in the US is almost that old, being founded in 1776, the year of the Declaration of Independence. Having a history of even 17 US Presidents and countless other notable people being members, Phi Beta Kappa has an established presence to date - and a web presence also based on Orchard CMS. The Key Reporter, Phi Beta Kappa's news site, runs on Orchard. Since making modifications to an existing Orchard site can be challenging to start with, we got an inquiry: Jim Roberts, Phi Beta Kappa's Director of Information Technology and Planned Giving got in touch with us to help with a few things, change the site here and there. This is what he said about our brief joint work: From start to finish, Zoltán is the consummate professional. He is more than a skilled developer but a patient teacher and project manager as well. While the project was small in scope, I always felt as if my needs were a priority. I look forward to working with him again and would recommend Zoltán and his team without reservation. Let's see how we'll continue to work together! Do you have an Orchard site that would need some love? Just send us an e-mail!

Orchard at the Smithsonian: Helping Folklife with their new Orchard sites

Everybody knows the Smithsonian Institution, because as the "world's largest museum, education, and research complex" it's kind of hard to miss. What not everybody knew until this blog post is that the Smithsonian, specifically the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage also uses Orchard to run their websites! And as you may have guessed, we at Lombiq had some part in it. Folklife has three websites, all running on Orchard: http://www.folklife.si.edu/: The homepage of the Center. http://www.festival.si.edu/: Website for the annual Folklife Festival. In 2013 Hungary was the special guest, including some wild Hungarian dances. http://www.folkways.si.edu/: Website of the Folkways record label. Since March we've been helping them with new features for these websites. The first one was quite tricky: To get single sign-on working with their NetSuite app that handles ecommerce checkout for Folkways. After that we supplied, and continue to supply various smaller features (including a widget to display related content for blog posts) and consultancy sessions. But what does Toby Dodds, Technology Director of Folklife say about all this? As the Webmaster at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, I am responsible for the technical well-being of a handful of large web sites totaling close to 60,000 pages of content. Managing the sites is a complex challenge as we employ an array of different tools and technologies. Our web applications are based on Microsoft’s .NET Framework using the open-source CMS Orchard – which we love for its flexibility, good design and performance. One of the other strengths of Orchard is its stellar community of developers which we have been lucky to get to engage with. Partnering with an open-source community of developers is key to our IT strategy. Through that network we were lucky to meet Lombiq Technologies' amazing team. This spring we completed a redesign of all our three main web sites (festival.si.edu, folklife.si.edu, folkways.si.edu). It was an enormous task that pushed our organizational capacity to its outer limits. Rebuilding web sites while maintaining existing sites is grueling and absolutely requires additional highly skilled assistance. We were fortunate to be able to lean on Lombiq along the way to clear hurdles that were too high for us to clear ourselves alone. On multiple occasions Lombiq was available to us on short notice and even at odd hours. For this reason we are forever grateful for their skilled and prompt assistance and guidance. In addition to providing on-the-fly support services to our web development team, Lombiq also distinguished themselves this year by helping us break through on a challenging task related to our integration with our third-party e-commerce provider NetSuite. As a result our customers will be able to log in to our web site while simultaneously authenticating with our commerce platform. This unlocks a very exciting door for us moving forward and we would not be walking through it without Lombiq’s assistance. In short, I can’t say enough about the high-caliber of service provided by this firm of brilliant developers and kind individuals. I would whole heartedly recommend them to anyone looking to partner or enlist similar services as I’ve described above. And since the Smithsonian is a mostly government-funded institute that can pay with United States Treasure cheques we could even say that the US government uses Orchard - and is the client of Lombiq! Is your company also ready to make the Orchard leap? Let's have a call!

Case-study: content migration for Pedalheads.com

In the beginning of this year, we were contacted by Kurt Mang, a long-time Orchard user and developer to give him assistance in his current project to migrate the website of Atlantis Programs & Pedalheads from Wordpress to Orchard. Pedalheads is a company that organizes trips and events for kids for the last 25 years with various sport activities - like cycling and swimming - to keep them healthy and happy. A truly great initiative! While Kurt was leading the development of this project, our team was tasked to migrate all the data (pages, blogs, galleries, etc.) from the old website to the shiny new Orchard one. We delivered the new database on time and the site was up and running for the deadline. Here's what Kurt said about our co-operative work: "My team turned to Lombiq to take over a Wordpress-to-Orchard migration that threatened to undue our timelines and jeopardize our project. Lombiq was our first choice, but I was concerned that we hadn't provided them enough time... Fortunately for my team and my client, Zoltán and Benedek's team came through with a top notch migration that we were able to get into production with minimal effort. It was a tough assignment with far too aggressive timelines, but the Lombiq team delivered and kept the project on track. I am happy to recommend their services and will be working with them again soon." Happy camping!

Open Dojo Course and university Orchard course at the same time - case study

Our second Orchard university course finished - but this time it was also a massive online course. With the free and open Dojo Course we reached more people than we ever could with an on-site course. You can read the full case study for the Orchard Dojo Course and the Orchard university course on our Orchard training website Orchard Dojo.

Solving a huge site's downtime - Parapolitika.gr case study

Recently the maintainers of the big Greek news site Parapolitika, the guys from the Greek subsidiary of Tatchit contacted us asking for our help: the site was going down routinely for some reason after going live (it was rewritten on Orchard from the legacy engine). The Orchard application was sometimes using up all of the server's CPU (despite it being a 24-core beast) and crashing the IIS worker process in the end. This needed some urgent fix because websites tend to be only worthy if they're alive... We immediately jumped into the task of getting the site stable! Neither the Orchard logs, neither the Windows Event Log revealed anything interesting. However soon we could experience the phenomena live: the worker process was eating up memory until at around 3,8GB while the CPU started spinning like mad and finally the process died. The Event Log told that ImageResizer.NET was running out of memory. Seriously? There are 32GBs of it, damn it! The culprit was the worker process running on 32b, thus not able to use the whole huge memory. While such big memory usage is not something Orchard does everyday (a vanilla Orchard instance in a 32b worker process uses about 80MB) this solved the immediate issue quickly. Together with some other tweaks to the server config the site was now running stable, quickly reaching new uptime records (although the previous uptimes weren't too hard to beat). In the newly gained peace we finally upgraded the site to Orchard 1.7.1 from 1.6 (the new version doesn't only give many features but also performs a way better). Meanwhile we also fixed an issue that could cause OutputCache to serve expired content. To quote Sotirios Roussos, CEO of urbanIT whom we worked with closely on this emergency: "After making some not demanding sites using Orchard, we decided to use it as CMS for creating the new parapolitika.gr, a really huge news site with more than 100.000 visitors daily and over 20 editors and a lot of content. It was a challenge for us and Orchard as well. Unfortunately, the first days were tough. Sudden breakdowns of site were appeared and the pressure was high. Orchard seemed to have limits, or maybe not? That's why we asked help for Lombiq, due to their experience into Orchard infrastructure. Fortunately, they did respond quick and spent hours and nights with us. Until we reach our goal. A stable and quick site. And, we did it. Thanx Lombiq! Keep up the good work!" It was a rush but we're really glad that we see a happy ending to this story!

Orchard university subject at Óbuda University - case study

In the spring semester of 2013 we started the world-first university course on Orchard at Óbuda University. The students were guided through the usage of Orchard as well as the basics of theme and module development and in the end presented their project work created with what they've learned. You can read the full case study for the first Orchard university course on our Orchard training website Orchard Dojo.

One-week intensive Orchard training for NICE - case study

We were contacted by the British government agency National Institute for Clinical Excellence for an on-site Orchard training in Manchester (at the time our team being just a group of freelancers). The training was held in January 2013, with users and developers participating. Attendees learned a lot and with their newly gained knowledge were able to make NICE's work-in-progress internal and external website better. You can read the full case study for the NICE training on our Orchard training website Orchard Dojo.

Helping GI Joe Search & Rescue get back on track with their website

On Friday we completed a short but important emergency assignment: getting the GI Joe Search & Rescue team's website back online. The website was moved to a new hosting company but wasn't feeling all right (the standard IIS 404 page greeted the visitors). This was especially problematic given that the team needed the website for their communication on the weekend. That's when we got contacted on behalf of the team and started investigating. After checking the logs and verifying the integrity of the deployment we recognized the source of the error: although the site's database was seemingly restored all the tables were empty! Running the restore again fixed the database and thus solved the issue altogether. Naturally we didn't charge the team for this emergency fix: they don't charge you when you need their help either!