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.

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!

Orchard training and advisory for Naxos of America

Recently Naxos of America, the #1 independent classical music distributor in the U.S. and Canada contacted us to receive some Orchard training and advisory. Naxos is building a new music information platform on Orchard so their developers wanted to get some hands-on mentoring about Orchard. Spanning across about a week we had several online mentoring sessions where we worked through the topics of multi-tenancy, shapes, navigation, localization, taxonomies and modelling the musical content in the Orchard way. To quote Erik Scofield from the Naxos developer team: "I would like to thank Lombiq for taking time to provide Naxos tailored Orchard training sessions. The training provided us with answers we needed to hit the ground running." Are you looking for Orchard expertise? Check here.

The first Orchard online university subject also rolled out!

Following the first Orchard university subject and the first open Orchard online course, Dojo Course, this year we continue with the first online university subject about Orchard. Óbuda University rolled out many online subjects this semester (to add to the list of "first"-s, this was also the first time the university started courses that were strictly just online courses, without any classroom attendance), one of them being ours: "ASP.NET MVC web application development using the Orchard content management framework" (which wins the award for the subject with the longest name too!). This is an exciting opportunity to test how well students can learn by just watching the tutorials, reading the supplied supporting materials and practising themselves. The project ideas we got submitted this far look very promising!

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.

Making simple Orchard development tasks simple with Abstractions

Orchard, the beloved content management framework we built Lombiq on admittedly has a steep learning curve. Well, with great investment into learning Orchard comes great power or something, but still, how can we make some simple, everyday development tasks in Orchard easier? Can we also give beginner developers a tool to quickly flush out some simpler modules with only understanding the basics, leaving some more time to learn the whole system? We created the Orchard Abstractions module as a proof of concept. The module enables you to write content parts extremely easily. You remember (or if you're beginning with Orchard: you'll soon learn) that to write a custom content part you have to think about not just the part itself, but also about data storage (either with records or through the InfosetPart), migrations, drivers, handlers, you have to understand shapes (with intricate but awesome details like shape factories) and placement. With Abstractions we made this easier: as the bare minimum you only have to write a content part class (basically a simple POCO with virtual properties) and a display and/or editor template for it. That's it. If you want to be more advanced and display something through the part that should be calculated somehow you can attach such logic by implementing a simple interface. All this is what we called Quick Parts. On top of that Abstractions also contains Quick Widgets: by deriving your content part from a specific class you'll get your part set up as a widget for free. How about that? :-) Also everything you write using Quick Parts or Quick Widgets uses standard mechanisms in the background. So if you decide to go hardcore and customize everything you can do that by gradually enhancing what you've written to the point where you have the whole module done in the standard way. Your parts' data won't get lost, there is no data migration needed. Most of your code will remain intact and the remainder should just be copy-pasted elsewhere. If you feel adventurous take a look at the separate samples project and begin to write your parts - quickly.

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.

We've broken the Internet with downloadable content items

Our new Download as... Orchard module brings the ability to download content items as files: currently HTML or PDF. This means you can give automatic download links for your contents on your Orchard sites (something that's our profession to develop). The module even cares about flattening hierarchies of content that are defined with container-contained connections. We already use the module so you can download the vast knowledge collection of Orchard Dojo Library. You can see a demo of the module on the Orchard podcast.

New Lombiq Antispam Orchard module, already in the Orchard core

A bit more than a week ago we demoed a new Orchard module of us on the Community Meeting, Antispam. The module contains only one small but useful feature, a content part (JavaScript AntiSpam Part): this part prevents clients not running JavaScript from posting content item editor forms. What this means is that content item forms (like comment forms or contact forms) employing this part can't be posted by spambots, since spambots commonly don't support JavaScript fortunately. Following the decision on the meeting we also quickly added this feature to the built-in Orchard.AntiSpam module, so if you're running the latest Orchard source (like the Lombiq sites do) you can already use JavaScript AntiSpam Part! We use it and it really works!