Before you upgrade your Orchard Website to Orchard 1.8, I recommend you read the Orchard 1.8 Release Notes. There are some steps formatted in BOLD that clearly state you must assign the Administrator Role to your Orchard Super User Account before performing the upgrade. If you don't, you will get locked out of the dashboard and have to either 1) re-do the 1.8 upgrade again after performing the step or 2) gain access to the Orchard database and do a bit of manual hacking.
The Orchard Jobs Queue in Orchard 1.8 can be used to send email asynchronously. This is especially useful when sending email from custom forms that are submitted on your Orchard Website via Orchard Workflow. Enabling email to use the new Jobs Queue is as simple as selecting a Queued option in your Send Email Workflow Activity.
Orchard 1.8 and Orchard 1.7.3 were released this evening. Orchard 1.7.3 is a bug fix release for those not ready to move to Orchard 1.8. Orchard 1.8 introduces a new document storage solution leveraging Infoset that promises to increase the performance of Orchard by reducing table joins and query execution. I went ahead and upgraded this website to Orchard 1.8 this evening and everything went very smoothly.
NimblePros created a Featured Item Slider Module for Orchard CMS, but it does not work with Orchard CMS 1.7 and the Media Library. A client of mine wanted to use this slider in a new Orchard 1.7 website, so I went ahead and created a new version that works with Orchard 1.7 and the Media Library. In addition to upgrading the Featured Item Slider to work with the Media Library, I also fixed a couple bugs and upgraded the ColorPicker and Slimbox jQuery Plugins to work with the new version of jQuery in Orchard CMS.
Here is a tip for all Orchard Developers. When you are building a ContentPart and ContentPartRecord during Orchard Module development, you may need to use the StringLengthMax Attribute on ContentPartRecord Properties to keep NHibernate from truncating strings when saving data to the SQL Server Database. If you don't, you will often see NHibernate errors in Orchard CMS log files mentioning string was too long and truncated. Unfortunately, this NHibernate error in Orchard keeps the ContentPart and Content Type from being saved and the only way to notice the problem is to view the Orchard log files.
As I mentioned earlier in my post, Orchard E-Commerce Website and Media Library, I've been upgrading the Orchard E-Commerce Website and Online Store I built in Orchard CMS 1.5 to Orchard 1.x on CodePlex. I first upgraded the online store to use the new Media Library and Media Processing Modules. And, now, I have finished various improvements in the product catalog to handle the shift to document storage in Orchard CMS using Infoset. I've also leveraged some of the improvements in Indexing, Lucene, and Searching as well as, of course, the continued use of the Media Library and Media Profiles to help with displaying various images on product detail pages and product category pages. And, last, where I had one Orchard Module that contained all the Orchard Widgets and Content Parts for the product catalog, I now separated them into more reusable modules as many of these Widgets and Content Parts are useful for more than just a product catalog in an e-commerce website.
I've been teaching Orchard development classes using an e-commerce website built using Orchard CMS. It's a feature-rich online store showcasing many techniques in building custom Orchard Modules and Widgets for e-commerce purposes. During the holidays I have been upgrading this website to leverage new features in Orchard 1.7, including the Media Library, Media Processing Module, and Workflow Module. I am also using new features in the upcoming Orchard 1.8 regarding Infoset. As I update this Orchard e-commerce example for the new year, I thought I would mention some insights about how new Orchard best practices have improved the website. First, I would like to discuss some of the positive improvements that have occurred through the use of the Media Library and Media Processing Modules.
I built a custom Orchard Module that displays a humans.txt file for Orchard Websites. I built it the same time I converted my Robots.txt Module to use Infoset for storing Content Part Data. The code is essentially identical, except the module responds to a request for humans.txt. Humans.txt is an interesting way to provide humans with information about the Orchard Website.
Easily override meta tags displayed by Orchard CMS by overriding the Metas Shape. ResourceManager in Orchard CMS keeps track of the meta tags in your website and displays them using the Metas Shape. You can override this shape in your Orchard Theme to remove certain meta tags, add meta tags, and filter meta tags. Although you will have to write a bit of Razor Code in your Orchard View, it is far simpler than creating an Orchard Module or modifying the Orchard Source Code.
I created a robots.txt Orchard CMS Module that leverages InfoSet in Orchard 1.8 for Content Parts. This alleviates the need for custom tables via SchemaBuilder.CreateTable, which can reduce the number of table joins, reduce the possibility of Select N+1 queries, increase Orchard performance, and eliminate extra noise in your Orchard code base and SQL Server database. I mentioned a couple of other modules that use Infoset, too, Smart App Banners and Live Chat Modules for Orchard CMS.