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.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings now upgraded to Orchard Core

If you like music – and, truthfully, who doesn't? –, we have some good news for you: you can now browse and license music on an Orchard Core-based platform! This is brought to you by the long-standing collaboration between Lombiq and the Smithsonian Institution, which has been engaged in a working relationship with us for several years now. The sites of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage were made using Orchard 1, which we had a hand in creating all the way back in 2017. These Orchard-powered sites also include the home of the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, which is now running on Orchard Core instead! Folkways, with music and Orchard at its core With Orchard Core offering an ever-growing number of benefits over its predecessor, including various performance improvements and a more user-friendly UI, the time to upgrade from Orchard 1 drew near by the end of 2021. Due to our long history with the Institution, we had the opportunity to participate in this project too. Lombiq took a major part in the migration process that was ongoing earlier this year. This included updating the existing codebase to modern standards using the latest C# language features, re-implementing our Content Editors module to make it Orchard Core compatible, as well as adding UI testing to easily spot regressions. The application also makes use of several of our open-source projects such as Helpful Libraries, Helpful Extensions, Gulp Extensions, and NPM MSBuild Targets. The new Folkways site launched in July and can be found on our showcase website Show Orchard as well. This is what Toby Dodds, Technology Director at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, had to say regarding our collaboration: During the past year we’ve had the pleasure of working collaboratively with Lombiq to upgrade our backend CMS from Orchard’s 1.x to its more modern 2.x version Orchard Core – based on Microsoft’s Dot.Net Core. This was a complex and difficult project, but essential as well, and once again we feel lucky to have been able to work through it with Lombiq. Anyone who works around Web or IT systems knows that they are not static and always grow and expand in complexity. Collections of data grow as do the number of fields. Our collection database, which is now 20 years old is at the core of our whole enterprise and represents millions of pieces of information. Years ago, we determined that we could leverage Microsoft technologies and Orchard’s CMS to manage that data while simultaneously supporting our website. This strategy has paid off and we have been able to thrive as a business, generating revenue through sales on our website, licensing opportunities, in-kind donations, and through the distribution of our catalog to outside digital music services. All this business is data-centric and working with Orchard has given us total control of our data landscape. A big challenge, and a breakthrough, of Orchard Core is that data is accessed in a code-based way which results in better performance but required us to complete a complex migration of our data from our 1.x database held in MS SQL Server. Thankfully Lombiq was ready to take this on, helping us build a data migration process that worked like a charm and was a bridge between the old and the new. We were also able to retain access to our data in SQL, allowing us to keep our existing integrations, and the ability to query our data directly when necessary. Because data is managed within the application layer now, we have also leaned on Lombiq to develop a set of tools to Import, Export, and Update our collection using Excel spreadsheets. Our data life has gotten easier as a result and we are now better prepared to acquire, process, and distribute recordings and collections moving forward. Orchard Core represents not only a step forward for our website but also for our collection management work as well. Specifically on the website we have also been able to take advantage of Orchard Core’s improved speed to produce new tools for browsing the collection. Being able to browse and filter thousands of releases in a nanosecond is cool, no matter how you slice it. Additionally, this new speed on our website is opening a door for us to introduce a streaming audio player that depends on AJAX to maintain a persistent audio listening experience while browsing the site. This only works well if pages load quickly and do they ever! Getting to streaming is a key priority for us and now we expect to make that available to the public next year. In summary, this has been an innovative and productive period for Folkways and now that we are in Orchard Core, we are looking forward to all the benefits that will come from this hard-fought upgrade. Our success here is thanks to Lombiq who’ve had the skill, vision, and patience to work with us to overcome big challenges and get the job done. You can also check out a demo video of the app and our experiences developing it here. As Orchard Core grows in popularity, so does our experience with it. If you too would like to enjoy the various improvements the platform offers, don't hesitate to reach out to us here.

Helping Global Health build an Advanced Form Builder using Form.io

When Global Health from Australia approached us with the request to build an advanced form builder using Form.io, it promised to be an interesting project. They were looking to integrate this new form builder deeply into MasterCare+, their Multi-Tenanted SaaS-based platform for Health Care which is built on Orchard CMS. It would allow creating custom forms for a wide range of scenarios in the health care domain, using the advanced editing capabilities of Form.io. The solution built by Lombiq was an important step in bridging the gap between paper forms and electronic health care management. At Lombiq, we already had hands-on experience with SurveyJS from a previous project, and we were looking forward to getting to know Form.io this time. Integrating and extending it to the special needs of our client was a fun challenge. As with any complex system, MasterCare+ required us to dive deep into its architecture to be able to enhance the system with the desired form-building functionality. Providing a smooth user experience was just as important as a flawless integration with business logic and data persistence, all the while adhering to Global Health's and our own high coding standards. A few of our other open-source projects proved very helpful in achieving the above, like Lombiq .NET Analyzers, Helpful Libraries, Gulp Extensions, and NPM MSBuild Targets. Working with the Global Health team was a pleasure. Here's what Damon Groenveld, Head of R&D at Global Health, has to say about our cooperation: Lombiq has gone above and beyond to ensure that the work done in our engagement with them not only met our expectations but also surpassed them. Are you looking for a competent partner to integrate a special tool into your complex system architecture? Get in touch—we at Lombiq are ready to take it on.

Helping the City of Santa Monica with Orchard Core consulting

Did you visit Santa Monica before, either in real life or by checking out Del Perro Pier in the video game GTA V? If you did, then you know that the city is famous for its sandy beaches, palm trees, sunshine all year round, and... A new Orchard Core website! The website of the City of Santa Monica is under santamonica.gov. Before migrating it to Orchard Core it was running on Orchard 1, actually. That's when the City's government contacted us to request some Orchard consulting. The occasion was mainly that their new website was already in the works, though initially planned to be built on Orchard 1 too. We discussed the option to use Orchard Core instead, and the City, showing quite some courage to jump into a CMS new to them, opted with it. Orchard Core it is, then! During the better half of 2021, we've worked with the City as consultants. We gave recommendations, helped with blockers, did smaller development work (including a module to integrate the digital asset management platform Bynder, something we hope can be open-sourced), while the Santa Monica development team rolled out the new website. It launched not long ago, as we also published it on our Orchard showcase website Show Orchard. Just on the side, this was part of a move from on-premise to cloud hosting with Azure too, something we helped with as well, including setting up Azure Active Directory authentication. A wealth of telemetry collected with the help of our Azure Applications Orchard Core module assures that no error goes undetected, and the overall performance of the app can be closely monitored. The site also uses our Helpful Libraries, Helpful Extensions, Gulp Extensions, and NPM MSBuild Targets projects. We really enjoy working with the team at the City! This is what Prasanna Joshi, the City's Enterprise Architect and Digital Development Manager says about our collaboration: Lombiq is very helpful to get us where we are today. Lombiq not only provided development consulting but also answered our developers’ questions on time. They were instrumental in helping us set up an Azure environment for the Website. Lombiq also assisted in creating short-term and long-term solutions for our approach. We continue to rely on Lombiq's expertise as we move to the next phase of the project. Do you also run an older Orchard 1 site that could benefit from the move to the latest Orchard Core? Drop us a line and we can help you make it happen!

Lombiq is 8 years old!

Today is the 8th anniversary of founding Lombiq! On this special occasion, we have gathered 8 important factors of our company's life. We are glad that we took these steps at that time otherwise we might not be able to celebrate with our strong community here today. Is this your first time here? We at Lombiq Technologies are a software, training, and services company focusing on web development with open Microsoft technologies. Our main area of expertise is the Orchard Core CMS. We provide custom development, training, hosting, and consulting services, and we are behind the first (and only) Orchard CMS SaaS - DotNest. 1. 27.05.2013: Lombiq is founded by benedek.farkas and zoltan.lehoczky! The story just begins. Lombiq's zero-day service is Orchard Dojo (containing among others the vast knowledge base of Dojo Library; Orchard Dojo's content is entirely structured in the semantically searchable Dojo Graph). Orchard Magyarország is taken over by Lombiq and then Orchard Hungary is created. During the development of Lombiq's sites, Lombiq created and also released on the first day the Bootstrap-based theme Pretty Good Bootstrap Base Theme and the Read-only module for putting an Orchard site into read-only mode. 2. From 13.07.2013 Lombiq’s team has been constantly expanding with new members. A lot of talented Orchard developers joined also from university courses held by Lombiq. Students can join these courses since the spring semester of 2013 when we started the world-first university course on Orchard at Óbuda University. After joining our team, a 3 months long mentoring period helps the new members to get used to the new working environment and to take the first steps in their careers. For today, our team’s size has reached 18 members already, making us the biggest Orchard consulting team in the world. We're constantly seeking like-minded individuals to join our expanding team of developers and non-developers. 3. When we have a chance, we are trying to give back not just to open-source projects we love, especially Orchard, but also to local communities of ours. In a Hungarian town, Solymár an initiative, Fészek Waldorf School was started, that we decided to support with part of our corporation tax. Together with Parthus Sports Association, we wanted to build a new gymnasium, which now not only serves the school's pupils but also the town's 10 000 residents. Moreover, since the first wave of the pandemic we have already delivered 3800 reusable, washable textile face masks to the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta by joining forces with the artisan clothing small business Pacuha (they provided the masks on cost price that we paid for). The Malteses are a 1000-year old, global charity organization and one of the strongest, most impactful ones in Hungary: They have thousands of employees and volunteers operating hospitals, retirement homes, schools, and work hard on the field for the benefit of disadvantaged communities all across Hungary. 4. On 02.09.2015 our Hastlayer project is published for the first time at the FPL 2015 conference hosted by the Imperial College of London. Hastlayer is a tool that can automatically turn your .NET software into a hardware implementation, so basically a computer chip. This way your algorithm can potentially run much faster but still consume less power, especially if it's massively parallelizable. And we also want to put on a satellite! 5. During Lombiq's 8 years we had many chances to take part in conferences, where we could build our professional network, present our work and get opinions and feedback on it. Conferences have been always excellent places for meeting with people in our field from different geographical areas. Lombiq has been introduced already in the United States, India, Singapore, Japan, and many countries within Europe. 6. Since 16.05.2017 we have an event series, called Lombiq Talks out of the Box. Here anybody from our team can share something remarkable or any useful knowledge with others. If any of us is really good at something outside daily work, this is the place to show it. We have already had presentations about nutrition, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a homemade sourdough workshop, and also personal finances workshop series. We are looking forward to have many more of these occasions! 7. The Lombiq Offline programs started back in 2013. Sometimes it's not just about work but doing something just for fun. These events are specifically for this: we get together, have to do something cool like breaking out of an escape room, going for a go-kart ride, or playing paintball. On these occasions, we can give space to increased communication, team building, and gather memories as a team in different fields. To highlight one of these events, from the 13th to the 16th of September 2019, we visited the CERN Open Days and had a trip to Geneva. On these special days CERN, the establishment of a European Council for Nuclear Research opens its doors to the public at the heart of one of the world’s largest particle-physics laboratories. 8. Last, but not least we are grateful for our partners. Our success is built and shared with the many partners we have worked with over the last 8 years. We can proudly state that we are working with international clients mostly from Western Europe and North America. We have already partnered with 110+ corporate clients from 17 countries in the world and successfully delivered over 300 projects, mostly from recurring customers.

Improving your employment security with Orchard

Unemployment is thankfully not something you need to worry about too much if you're an Orchard developer and you're doing your job well. But if things do go south it's good to get some help, the kind that the Employment Security Department of Washington State offers, among a lot of other services. And maybe they'll hire you as an Orchard developer since their website also runs on Orchard! What's more, the website now includes a module developed by us too. That the ESD website runs Orchard you may have heard, since we've added it a while ago among the showcased Orchard websites on Show Orchard. While previously we've done some work on the State's Paid Family & Medical Leave portal as well the news is that the ESD website now also includes a 1.x port of the Orchard Core Content Preview module. If you don't know the Content Preview module allows you to open a live preview window of a content item in Orchard Core. With this, you can see how the content will look like in the context of the site's frontend, not just in the editor. It's very useful to get an actual "what you see is what you get" experience on each keystroke. We've ported this module from Orchard Core back into Orchard 1.x, taking care to also make it support TinyMCE and the Layouts module. It's now available in the official Orchard source so you can run it on your Orchard site today! Do you run an Orchard 1.x site but would like to see some new Orchard Core feature ported over? Let us know!

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!

Helping you with GDPR compliance - Privacy Orchard module

Unless you've been living offline for the last few months (in which case thanks for keeping up-to-date with our blog!) you've heard about the EU GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation. Long story short, as a user your personal data will be protected much more, and as a company you have to take a lot of care on how you use your customer's data. Part of being GDPR compliant, what Lombiq is too, is revising your public privacy policy, your internal processes and practices, and to ask your users to consent to your data processing policy. Our Lombiq Privacy module, which we released today as open source, helps you with the latter: It gives you features to display a privacy consent banner, and similar checkboxes for the registration form and custom forms, all with configurable texts. Go check out our Privacy module and hurry to be compliant, because today is the deadline! And get in touch with us if you need development, training or anything else with Orchard.

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!