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.

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!

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.

New Feed Aggregator module for Orchard CMS

Did you ever wonder: "Hmm, I'd really want to build an RSS reader just for myself"? No? Well, no problem, because now you can do it any way! With our new Feed Aggregator module released for Orchard CMS you can synchronize RSS and Atom feeds to your Orchard site. The module is also available on DotNest, the Orchard CMS SaaS, so you can try it out right away on a free DotNest site! The new Orchard Blogs site also uses the module to show you an automatically curated list of posts from the Orchard blogosphere.

Algolia search integration for Orchard CMS

If you haven't heard of it, Algolia is a pretty neat hosted indexing/search service; it's a bit like Lucene in the cloud, but extremely fast. Now thanks to our new Algolia Search module you can very easily plug in Algolia search into Orchard CMS! Orchard has a search and indexing infrastructure built in. The out of the box concrete indexing implementation you can enable is built on Lucene. The Algolia Search module plugs into the framework similarly to Lucene: you can use all the existing Orchard search features but now in the background Algolia will index and fetch everything, not Lucene. Furthermore, we've overridden how the frontend search works, so it utilizes Algolia's key feature, its speed, presenting search results instantly. Also, the Algolia Search module is also available now for all sites on DotNest, the Orchard SaaS! So if you're a hardcore Orchard developer head over to the module's repo and dig into the code or if you'd just want to play with it, check out how to use it on DotNest!

Big improvements arrived to the Liquid Markup module

Our Liquid Markup Orchard module now got a lot smarter! The module enables you to create templates (from the admin or from code) in which you can use the Liquid Markup language. This is a bit more restrictive than e.g. Razor what you may usually work with when developing Orchard. However still it's quite powerful and now we have the following new features: Variables, not just fixed strings can be used when passing parameters to tags. So e.g. you can create a custom dynamic title for your pages. Accessing items of collections in the view model are now supported. E.g. from a template now you can selectively display the second and third image attached to a content item, not just the first one as before. The antiforgery token can now be displayed so you can write completely custom forms. Orchard-aware relative links can be easily constructed, so you can construct dynamic URLs that will work in any environment. Custom link and meta tags can be registered. This way e.g. you can add multiple shortcut icons for your site or add custom meta tags for Facebook sharing. Custom CSS classes can be added to shapes to improve how you can style those elements. Furthermore CSS classes can now also be added to the HTML document. For the whole list of features and examples covering every scenario take a look at the module's Readme. The modules is also available on all sites of DotNest, the Orchard SaaS. Did you get some inspiration to try Liquid? It's a safe templating language, you can even give it to non-developers. Check out the module on GitHub!

Collecting Orchard usage telemetry with Azure Application Insights - module released

You can't base decisions on assumptions. What you can't measure you can't manage. Familiar? Of course, and what you want to do with your software is specifically what's hinted: measure how people use it. Azure Application Insights is a tool for this, being an application telemetry service. Now we created an Orchard module for it for easy integration! The Orchard Azure Application Insights module lets you send usage telemetry from Orchard easily: just install the module, configure the AI instrumentation key and that's it: server-side request telemetry (e.g. response time, log entries) and client-side telemetry (e.g. client-side processing time, JavaScript exceptions) will be sent to Azure and you can explore it from the Azure Portal on charts like above. With all this integrated you can get valuable insights, not just raw data but also answers to questions like "What was the request when this exception happened?" You can also chek out an overview of AI and a demonstration of the module on the Orchard Community Meeting's recording. Azure Application Insights is a very useful tool when operating Orchard applications and allows you to response to any issues quickly. Check out the module!

An Orchard module development sprint for Aristotle

"No time to explain: get into development!" Roughly this is how we started to work with Aristotle, the award-winning creative agency from Arkansas. In a sprint of two weeks we had to deliver two Orchard modules for listing local businesses and managing their deals. ...which we did on time. The Business Listings module's task is to store and display local businesses (e.g. hotels, restaurants) in a searchable manner on websites aimed for tourists. The second Orchard module, Packages & Deals builds on Business Listings, enabling business owners to compile their offerings and show them to visitors. Both modules utilize the latest features of Orchard 1.8.1, efficiently storing and querying data, and presenting them in a manner that can be overridden for every website in a flexibly. This is what Jennifer Peper, President of Aristlotle says: "When Aristotle needed additional Orchard advice and application assistance, we interviewed and partnered with Lombiq. Aristotle had a very tight turn-around for the production of key Orchard modules that involve complicated query structures and access legacy data. With a very rough draft of the specifications, Lombiq’s team started immediately and independently worked in a compressed timeframe to develop a key application for our company. They asked important questions, provided in-depth and long term solutions, and used the most advanced features of the latest version of Orchard. We look forward to our next project with their team. It is so rare to work with such professionals who commit to a deadline and meet it or beat it!" Update: since then we've delivered another orchard module for Aristotle: the Trip Planner module lets you select businesses from the Business Listings module to build a trip, visiting each one. Want to get an Orchard job done? You can count on us, just drop us a line.

Indispensable tool for Orchard administrators: log in as any user

We all know that with software stuff tends to break or doesn't work as expected - at least for some users. Then it would be great to see exactly what those "some" users experience. So why not authenticate as them? This is now possible with our new Orchard module, Login as Anybody. The module lets site owners (i.e. the highest-level administrators) log in as any registered user. So you can select a user and authenticate in their name, seeing exactly what they see. Simple but effective way of troubleshooting or just guiding your users! You can also see the module in action on the Orchard Community Meeting.

Registration anti-spam with Lombiq Antispam

If your website is at least just a bit popular you'll get a lot of spam in form of comment spam for example but also as registration spam: spambots will try to sign up on your site and fill your database with garbage. The Orchard registration page is no different: but now you can use Orchard's spam countermeasures there as well with the Lombiq Antispam module. We added a new feature to this module that lets you add anti-spam content parts from the built-in Orchard.AntiSpam module to the registration page as an additional layer of validation: when anti-spam validation fails, registration will fail. You can read about the details in the documentation of the module (accessible from its project page) and you can also see it action on the Orchard Community Meeting.

Lombiq's participation in the development of Musqle.com

Musqle.com is a multi-language website built by Softival with the aim to provide trustworthy information and useful tools for bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts since 2012. Last year, not long after Lombiq was founded we were contacted by Norbert Korny, the owner and lead developer of Softival to develop a fairly complex Orchard module for them: a complete set of functionalities where administrator users can create and manage training plans, users can see, copy and manage these training plans for themselves (or create plans from scratch). They can apply these training plans to their personalized "Workout Calendar", which enables users to log their actual trainings and see how they perform over time using the "Training Statistics" feature, which is capable of displaying various graphs representing the progress they are making in training specific exercises and muscles. The module is also full of other convenient features that help you manage your training and also make this experience quite friendly and customized as possible. The Trainings module was recently demoed by Benedek on the weekly Orchard community meeting, so go ahead and take a look! Happy training with Musqle.com!