Awhile ago I wrote an Orchard Tutorial on installing Orchard CMS as an Azure Website. I showed how to create an Orchard Website using the Azure App Gallery and then import/export the publishing settings from Azure to WebMatrix and remotely connect to it. The process is really easy, but it takes 2 to 3 steps to complete. This process has been greatly simplified with new enhancements to both the Windows Azure Portal and WebMatrix 2!

Orchard CMS on Windows Azure

There are numerous ways to install Orchard CMS on Windows Azure as an Azure Web Site. You can use Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2012, but it is equally as easy, if not easier, using WebMatrix 2. Using WebMatrix 2 you have the option of installing Orchard CMS locally via the WebMatrix Web Gallery and then uploading all the files to Windows Azure, or you can take the opposite approach and install Orchard CMS using the Windows Azure App Gallery and then download it locally for development. The choice is yours, but a new button on the Windows Azure Portal, called WebMatrix, greatly simplifies the process of creating an Orchard CMS Website using the Azure App Gallery and then importing the Azure Web Site into WebMatrix 2, making this the most convenient choice!

As I mentioned in my previous post, it is very easy to install Orchard CMS via the Windows Azure App Gallery using the new Azure Web Sites functionality. Here are a couple of images I am reusing from the old post to illustrate the simplicity.

Install Orchard CMS as an Azure Web Site

Install Orchard CMS from Azure App Gallery

As you read through my previous post you will notice the steps about exporting and importing the publishing settings for Windows Azure to WebMatrix. You don't have to do this anymore ( you still can ) as there is a magical WebMatrix Button in the Azure Portal!

WebMatrix Button in Azure Portal

If you look at the menu bar in the Azure Portal, you will see a new WebMatrix Button that was recently introduced around the same time as WebMatrix 2 was officially released. I don't know the actual timing, but indeed this WebMatrix button is fairly new!

Windows Azure Portal WebMatrix Button to install Azure Website into WebMatrix

This button is rather magical in that it saves a couple of steps when clicked in Microsoft Internet Explorer. It automatically runs WebMatrix 2, creates a website, imports the publishing settings, and starts downloading the website files to your desktop PC. It is crazy convenient by saving you a number of steps that normally have to be done manually. Note that this obviously works with any Azure Web Site and not just Orchard CMS.

When doing this with Orchard CMS it brings up a dialog during the process that may be a bit intimidating if you are doing this for the first time. I questioned the dialog the first time as I know for a fact that there aren't really any dependencies that have to be downloaded or installed separately for Orchard CMS to work when downloaded this way. First time I did this I told it to not include the dependencies and the second time I said go ahead and include the dependencies to see the differences.

Install Orchard CMS Azure Website into WebMatrix

Turns out you want to choose "Continue" here so that WebMatrix 2 adds the new Orchard CMS Dashboard Ribbon Buttons and Links to the WebMatrix environment. Choosing "Continue" gives you the full WebMatrix 2 and Orchard CMS Experience. If you choose not to include the dependencies, you won't see the cool buttons for admin, add module, and add theme, as well as the community links that can be so helpful when first learning Orchard!

Orchard CMS Dashboard Ribbon Buttons and Links in WebMatrix 2


So there you have it. Using Orchard CMS with Azure Web Sites and WebMatrix 2 has gotten even easier with the new WebMatrix Button in the Azure Portal and the obvious automation enhancements in the release version of WebMatrix 2. Lots of productivity here without the need for manually creating a website, exporting and importing the Azure Publishing Settings, and then manually kicking off the entire download of the Orchard CMS Website.

Feel free to check out my other Orchard Tutorials and hire me for your next Orchard CMS Project!

Have a great day!