Mar, 29, 2011
I've been asked a few times for a follow up on my original Orchard vs N2CMS post. In the few months since that post, I've done a few more websites in both and have a better perspective on the direction they're going and hopefully help with which one is better suited for you.
Since my first post, Orchard 1.1 has been released and is a huge improvement in a lot of areas. This makes me glad in a big way that I stuck with learning Orchard. So what's so new and awesome in this 1.1 release you ask? Well, let's see!
- Admin dashboard improvements making it much clearer and more aesthetically appealing
- Widget management UI has been upgraded making it much clearer which zones are available in your current zone, allowing for viewing of specific layers and assigned widgets, and offering a visual of where zones are located on the page. This is a nice step in the right direction, but I still would love an actual view of the page and even some drag and drop interaction for putting widgets on pages. I have done several Sitefinity sites and feel that’s one thing they got right, and would love a similar feel in Orchard.
- Media picker plugin for TinyMCE added to allow you to browse straight to your media folder and upload images on the fly while editing content.
- A big addition with Orchard Recipes that are basically a set of XML instructions for Orchard to assess. This is very cool and has a lot of potential. With a Recipe you can tell the Orchard installation to install and enable modules, create content, setup site navigation, place widgets and run other custom commands
- A new import/export feature which makes use of the Recipe format to backup and restore your site.
- Shape Tracing is going to be a HUGE help for developers trying to learn Orchard and its crazy awesome Shapes backbone. Described by Bertrand Le Roy as “Firebug for Orchard”, Shape Tracing allows you to visually explore the tree of shapes used to compose a page.
N2CMS still beats out Orchard on a couple of items. The first one that comes to mind is the drag and drop widget support. I imagine Orchard will have this functionality soon though, even if it's a 3rd party module.
The latest release of N2CMS was v 2.1.1 on January 16th which seemed to mostly be bug fixes, with a little bit of end user friendliness peppered in. There are a few new features that were implemented that are worth checking out.
- A flash component that allow for multiple uploads was added in the management.
- Infinite scrolling using AJAX makes for a facebook feed-like user experience for long lists. I think this may just be for the news component.
As I stated in my first post, both CMS systems have their strengths and weaknesses and both are striving to be better/best. I'm writing this post from the admin pages of Orchard so it's safe to say I might be biased but I am loving the product. I've talked to several other developers however, and a big concern with many of them is the time and effort they have spent learning N2CMS and how they don't want that to just be thrown out. Orchard had quite a learning curve for me, but I'm loving how dynamic it is and how it lends itself to whatever crazy stunt I'm trying to pull on it. I've been developing a lot of Orchard lately and don't see myself swaying from it any time soon.