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.

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!

Intensive Orchard Core training for the In Motion team

While we had and continue to have smaller online mentoring projects, as well as bigger trainings covered by NDAs that we can't talk about, here's finally a training that we can disclose: We recently had the opportunity to provide a five-day intensive Orchard Core training for the team of In Motion. Due to the pandemic, this happened online of course. Read more on our Orchard training website Orchard Dojo.

Helping Kast build a multi-tenant platform on Orchard Core

Kast is an Australian company and one of their primary goals is to implement the Kast platform with the Kast Group Finder component. We worked together with Seth Cleaver (Co-founder and Director of Kast) on this tool to be able to create an intuitive self-service process that enables people within a church to easily find a suitable group to attend, simplify the administrative processes required for getting people into groups, and provide information to the group co-ordinators that might assist in planning and measuring effectiveness. Background information Every tenant of Seth's platform has a complex architecture that consists of two huge components: Event Management and Group Finder. Besides multiple church services, the Kast platform has a lot of events, including youth groups for a range of different ages, interest groups such as dances and art, men's and women's events, and so on. Some of these are single events and others are recurring. The Event Management component is responsible to provide the community and the members to easily discover these events using an attractive and easy to understand platform. They have two websites, all running on Orchard Core: https://www.kast.io/: The homepage of the Kast Group Finder. https://demo.kast.io/groups/: A demo website where you can experience the demo about the Group Finder. Since March 2019 we've been helping Seth to build the Kast platform. Before starting to code together, we started with a training to give an overview of what can be achieved with Orchard Core, how can you do the content modeling, build your own custom theme from scratch and use Vue.js in Orchard Core to create multiple apps. But what does Seth say about this? The team at Lombiq have been an integral part of the delivery of the first release of our SaaS product in 2019. Lombiq's unique combination of expertise, talent and experience mean that they not only understand the requirements of the project they are undertaking but how it contributes to the wider vision for your product. The value of this can not be overstated. Having personally been in the web development space for over 16 years, I have found that Lombiq are one of those rare finds that consistently deliver more than expected in all that they do. Now let's have a closer look at the Group Finder! But before doing that we have to get a deeper knowledge about how groups are made up. Overview of what we've developed First of all, every group has gatherings at different times. For example, a group could have gatherings every Saturday or every second Saturday at 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. To store the frequency of the recurring events that can be added to the user's calendar we decided to use RRULE strings. By using that we can programmatically define recurring and scheduled events. But of course, the users don't want to enter this kind of strings on the admin side of the site when creating happenings for the groups. We needed to implement a UI, where they can easily set up the start date and time with the end date and time and of course set the frequency. To solve this issue we implemented a form something similar that you can meet with on this page. This event date editor is created by using Vue.js. Many churches already maintain group information and more in a church management system (ChMS), therefore our next task was to do the integration between Seth and his company and Elvanto. Calling Elvanto APIs and parse the JSON response could be not so tricky, but constructing the Group content types based on the input data involved more work. The Group Finder app itself is a Vue.js application responsible for returning groups based on various search conditions. First, users have to provide a few details about themselves, then choose the relevant group types to show the right groups. For this, we needed to provide different pages with different kinds of forms. The Vue Router (which is the official router for Vue.js) is responsible for the navigation between the pages and to build this Single Page Application for easy usage. We used our open-source Vue.js module for Orchard Core to add the Vue.js component templates to Group Finder. If you are curious about how to use Vue.js within Orchard Core, you could see some great examples in our Orchard Core Training Demo module. There are many times when building an application for the web that you may want to consume and display data from an API. There are several ways to do so, but a very popular approach is to use axios, a promise-based HTTP client. When users get the list of the groups they can choose between them to find the relevant groups. When users would like to connect to a group, they need to send an expression of interest first with a personalized message. This means that the user, the group coordinators, and the group leaders will get an e-mail notification about the new person who would like to join the group. Conclusion The platform for Seth and his company involves lots of settings using the dashboard. By using Orchard Core, we could implement an interface for users with higher permissions to easily access the settings they need (and not more) without building the whole backend of the platform from the ground. Thanks to our new custom workflow tasks that users could easily set up, sending emails to the preferred addresses are solved in a very extensible way. And because Orchard Core itself also using Vue.js in some of the built-in modules, we didn't have to go far if we needed to find great examples to solve a given problem. Is your company also ready to make the Orchard leap? Let's have a call!

Orchard training for the Microsoft MCIO team

Microsoft is not a company that needs introduction - but one that needed Orchard training. More specifically the Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure and Operations (MCIO) team (who supply the infrastructure for all Microsoft divisions, including Windows, Bing or even Azure) reached out to us: before starting a big Orchard project they wanted to have some expert help. After we became Microsoft suppliers we conducted a few days of what was an online intensive training for the MCIO team. They are now familiar with Orchard's built in features and everything a beginner Orchard developer needs to know. The only problem is that we won't see what they are building - because it will be an internal portal, just for Microsoft employee eyes.

Some online Orchard consultancy for Brent Carter

It's not just companies, often we help Orchard freelancers as well: this time Brent Carter, a fellow Orchard developer needed some thoughts on his running Orchard projects, like one web app helping children in the US learning Chinese. Having a second pair of eyes look through your code or having a second opinion about some long-term software design decisions is always a good thing. Brent's coding buddy this time was Lombiq. This is what Brent has to say about his experiences: I’ve been a software developer and architect for over 15 years. I have found Orchard CMS to be extremely powerful and well built, but it also has a non-trivial learning curve. Lombiq are my “go to” team when I get stuck in Orchard. What better colleague to have looking over your shoulder than one who has worked on the actual Orchard team themselves? They know the ins and outs of the code, why you want to do one thing rather than the other, the future direction in which Orchard is heading, and are all around Orchard experts. I’ve also found them to be professional and fun to work with. If you’re looking for a developer to help you elevate your Orchard skills or want to hand off some work to someone else, you can’t go wrong with these guys. Are you also looking for some online mentoring (see all our Orchard training types on Orchard Dojo)? Just drop us a line!

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.

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.