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Umbraco vs Orchard

When it comes to developing your website, choosing the right Content Management System (CMS) makes all the difference. Depending on your business’s goals, using popular .NET-based CMS systems like Umbraco and Orchard could be suitable web development tools--and just what your website needs.

Umbraco is an open source CMS platform that features immense flexibility for developers looking to create both small and large web projects. The system provides a blank slate for developers to design pages as they choose, along with the help of customisable extensions and modules. The backend is designed with a user-friendly interface, and operates on a highly-intuitive editing approach, making the CMS easy to use for all. This is why Umbraco already has over 500,000 active installs, an active community of over 220,000 people, and is used by well-renowned corporations like Thomas Cook and the Mercedes-Benz group.

Orchard is also a free, open-source CMS based on the ASP.NET platform. Developers can create applications that are integrated into HTML and WordPress templates with out-of-the-box extensions that allow for customisation. Orchard is used by websites such as Vodafone Freezone, Petit Bateau US, and the Domino’s U.K. corporate site.

Content Control

Text, graphics, forms, video, music--it’s all content. Webmasters understand just how difficult it can be to manage this content and how important it is to do it efficiently. The CMS solves this challenge. Helping you choose the right one, is why we’re here.

Umbraco is a full-fledged CMS platform, where you can create completely made-to-order content of any kind. Umbraco offers users their personal foundation (a blank slate), allowing developers free reign over further customisation, to design per clients’ needs. ‘Content can be anything’, is the line that the majority of developers use, or at least know. Orchard appears to have a slightly different take on that claim, however, providing only ‘pages’.

These pages are the building blocks to the website and most of the required properties are pre-defined. Much like building a castle out of Lego, you often find the perfect shaped brick, only to realise that it has a pink flower painted onto it. This lego analogy highlights the crux of the matter within Orchard’s content development--it can be slightly disappointing. The block-based structure, however, makes Orchard fairly simple to use, at the cost of limiting your ability to customise aspects of the website to your liking. This limits the software to a ‘page management system’ instead of a content one.

Front- and Backend Matters

The user interface (UI) on the Umbraco platform is well-organised and categorised, using a tree structure, making the platform responsive and easy to use as well as intuitive and user-friendly. Instead, the UI design on Orchard possesses a running-list sequence on their interface, making users scroll through a list of pages to find the one they need, which may be acceptable for smaller projects or for those with a photographic memory, but a nightmare for larger ones. With that said, smaller projects are Orchard’s forté; the CMS’s performance is deemed as better than Wordpress, but only for small websites. Umbraco is able to host large websites with more content far faster than Orchard.

The backend of both Umbraco and Orchard allow developers to set user permissions as required. Umbraco also gives developers the ability to create bespoke backend systems, through a simple, user-friendly UI which is easy to navigate even for tech novices. While Orchard is on par in terms of provision, they do so in a much more complex manner, with a myriad of jargon-filled tick boxes and options sprawled across a single page. Orchard neglects to give users the freedom to develop and lacks the flexibility, additional features, and allowances that Umbraco provides.

Although both are free, open-source CMS platforms, Umbraco and Orchard differ greatly in terms of their use and features. Orchard may be an accessible, entry-level CMS platform for developers. But for those who want to create top-level, full-fledged websites with all the bells and whistles on a platform backed by a professional and talented commercial company alongside a community of avid developers, numerous testimonials, and over 1,200 free plug-in packages, Umbraco is the way to go.

About the author

David Armitage

Umbraco Community Builder | .Net MVC Developer | Umbraco Certified Master | Recruitment Professional

Hey Peeps,

I'm an entrepreneur and web developer with a passion for coding. I absolutely love working with Umbraco CMS and appreciate the Umbraco community even more.

I've got 10 years+ .Net experience and 7 years+ experience working in the recruitment industry, both coding and marketing job websites. I wanted to use my skills to help give something back to this awesome community and so I decided to build UmbraJobs.com.

My vision & fundamentals

I want this website to be a place where Umbraco Professionals and Umbraco Partners can advertise their services but at the same time I want to filter out all the under-qualified freelancers & agencies that take up the biggest part of other job & freelancer websites. We've all worked hard to gain our Umbraco certifications, partnership status, and help build the Umbraco community to what it is today. I want to see everyone get rewarded for their efforts.

Follow me on social media

If you're an Umbraco professional, partner, employer, recruiter or a passionate Umbraco community builder then I'm more than happy to hear from you. Follow me on my social media channels and please reach out if you have any needs, want help or consultation with anything Umbraco related or just want a general chat.

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