Orchard: Microsoft's open-source CMS platform is (re)born

Orchard: Microsoft's open-source CMS platform is (re)born

Summary: The guesses (by me and others) look like they were on target. The "Orchard Project," which is getting its debut on November 11 at Tech Ed Europe is, indeed, the successor to the Microsoft Oxite content-management system (CMS).


The guesses (by me and others) look like they were on target. The "Orchard Project," which is getting its debut on November 11 at Tech Ed Europe is, indeed, the successor to the Microsoft Oxite content-management system (CMS).

Microsoft made available the first the open-source Oxite CMS bits at the end of 2008. Like Oxite, Orchard will be a free, open-source CMS platform -- plus a set of shared components for building ASP.Net applications and extensions. The Orchard code is licensed under an OSI-approved New BSD license.

From the Orchard page on the Microsoft CodePlex code-repository site:

"(T)his core (Orchard) team will use their experience working with ASP.NET and Oxite to deliver a fundamentally new architecture that is the Orchard CMS. We have deliberately chosen to start development, with the guidance and contribution from the community. Over time we expect this project to become a viable successor to Oxite v1 and we know that providing a migration path for users of that existing application will be a high priority."

The Orchard team includes various ASP.Net developers; two of the principal developers of Oxite, Erik Porter and Nathan Heskew; and Louis DeJardin, the creator of the SparkViewEngine for Model View Controller (MVC).

Despite its origins and team, Microsoft officials are claiming that Orchard is "not a Microsoft project," according to the Orchard Web page. From the CodePlex page:

"Some of the initial (Orchard) source code and specs are available for review and comment but there is no downloadable release at this time. We encourage interested developers to check out the source code on this site and get involved with the project in these early stages."

There is no public timetable (so far) for when a test build of Orchard will be out or when a final version will be released.

(Thanks to @kellabyte for the Orchard pointer, via Twitter.)

Update: As one reader (thanks, @karlseguin) noted, Oxite was anything but a big hit with developers, including many of those in Microsoft's own .Net community. There have been many complaints about Oxite, from the development process, to the scope of the project, to the quality of the code and the way Microsoft explained the concept/product. Perhaps that's one reason why Microsoft is starting over with a new codename and claiming this is not a Microsoft project...

Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, Microsoft, Open Source, Software, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • an article for 2 readers

    why don't you make an article when someone farts there in redmond?
    • I'm one of them

      While M$ using a BSD license seems to be a good start, the propietary underpining make it a non starter when compared to LAMP.
      Linux Geek
      • Cute...

        Once aggain you prove that either
        A: you have a disability to use the capital 'S' character when it follows a capital 'M' character or...
        B: Your keeboard is broken.

        PS: I think it's a great idea... more competition, even with open source projects, is always helpfull... oh and btw: so what if it uses .Net and ASP... it's not like MS can decide tomorow to sue people using .Net to develop software... it would be a PR suicide.
      • Wine?

        Hey, if it runs in Wine then you can run it on a completely open source stack!
  • How is it designed, I wonder?

    Oxite got torn to shreds by the Alt.NET community for it's horrendous programming practices. I wonder if they learned anything with Orchard?
    • lessons

      Hi, Yes, hopefully it will reflect lessons learned. I have updated my post to include links on complaints about Oxite. Another reader forwarded some of these to me. Thanks MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Orchard: Microsoft's open-source CMS platform is (re)born

    First off, Oxcite wasn't a Microsoft product/offering, it was a couple of guys from MS that got together and developed it in their off time.

    Secondly, I hate that they said it was an evolution of the Oxcite project. They are claiming that simply because they brought Erik and Nathan over to the project right as it was being rewritten.

    Thirdly, what they haven't mentioned on the site is that there is a group of non-MS developers on the project as well. Due to legal issues, they haven't allowed anyone outside of MS to contribute code but they have been supplying feedback and ideas.
    • Re: Oxite Guys Moving Over

      We, the Oxite guys, have been working with the Orchard team for quite a while (off and on since Oxite was mostly a side project for us). We were involved with the decision to rewrite. Everyone decided since we were all working towards the same goal, it would be beneficial for all of us to work together on the effort. Nathan and I start on the Orchard team on Monday. Hope that clears a bit up.