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Orchard theme engine and some recommendations

May 22, 2014 at 3:19 PM
I've been playing around with Orchard CMS and I must admit it's a fantastic piece of code, with few problems though... I know that the Orchard CMS is not a WordPress, Sitefinity, DNN, Drupal, Joomla and never will be as it's a completely different software but it's missing a flexible and easy theme-engine. I know it supports layers so one can customize the look but it's not flexible! Flexibility is a key here, it should take only a few minutes to integrate a custom HTML template by simply defining the placeholders/zones, placeholder in the head section for custom JS,CSS,META and placeholder in the closing BODY tag for JS and other stuff. IMHO there is too much HTML markup being added by shapes and template system is not flexible enough. I'd love to have an option to choose the template and the placeholder/zone where to put my content part or widget.

I think that 99% of developers would agree that it would be better to have multiple independent templates rather than layers and ability to fill the template zones/placeholders with the content,widgets, etc..

The next thing that it's ,missing is a "shortcodes" support , kind of what wordpress does. Orchard is a mvc project thus rendering partial views or widgets should be possible from the body part editor. Let's imagine could place any widget or content part into any other content part, without using - just enter the {widget_shortcode} into the editor and system could render the output of the widget, content item etc.. Would love to have it.

Additionally I think that the CSS editor (theme) is a must and should be available from the back-end CMS. I'm really impressed by this CMS and a bit different theming system would make it even more popular!

Please have a look at the attached screenshot - this is the theme system from the CS-CART, it's one of the best I've ever seen. Simply create zones using the grid and include widgets, placeholders..etc. If the Orchard supported the Bootstrap theme as a default, the theme marketplace would simply explode! Today everything must be a RWD (responsive web design) and the grid based layout is also a must.

Default ASP.NET MVC project is based on bootstrap and I think Orchard should too.