I've been reading the book, Using Drupal, which recently was released for Drupal 7, in order to better understand alternatives to Orchard CMS. I also hear mentions of how similar Orchard CMS is to drupal, so I wanted to get some understanding of how Drupal and Orchard compare. And last, I offer Orchard CMS training and I get a lot of developers who are already familiar with another CMS like Drupal, Joomla, Umbraco, or Wordpress, so I like to have a better understanding of other content management systems in order to help my students relate to Orchard CMS. What I have learned from reading Using Drupal is that Orchard CMS is quite similar to Drupal in terms of concepts.
Drupal vs. Orchard is Not The Question
If I were a PHP developer, I would be all over Drupal. It looks like an amazing and mature content management system. It's been around for quite some time and well proven and tested as a CMS. It has a very rich and active community with a lot of modules contributed by the Drupal Community. The administrative backend is quite rich in functionality such that it doesn't even appear you need to be a developer to produce some nice Drupal websites. What a joy it must be to develop websites with Drupal.
As it turns out, however, I am not a PHP developer. I am a C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC Developer. As cool as Drupal is as a CMS, I have no desire to develop websites with it. I stopped developing with PHP quite some time ago and have no plans to go back. The very thought of developing with Drupal without a desire or better understanding of PHP seems crazy. I need an CMS that leverages my skills - ASP.NET MVC, C#, and .NET.
Here is where Orchard CMS comes in. Orchard CMS runs on IIS and is based on ASP.NET MVC, C#, and .NET. It leverages my skills and development platform of choice and borrows ideas from an incredible CMS - Drupal! It's not about Drupal vs. Orchard. It's about providing developers a CMS based on their skills and interests. For me it is Orchard CMS.
Similarities of Drupal and Orchard
As I read through the book, Using Drupal, I can't help but start to see similarities between Orchard and Drupal. Although the terminology and admininstrative interface are different, the concepts are indeed similar. If you are skilled at both PHP and C#, it can't be that difficult to switch between the two content management systems with a bit of effort.
Here are few examples of similarities between Drupal and Orchard.
- Nodes and Content Items - Anytime you read the term Node in Drupal think Content Item in Orchard CMS. These are just instances of content types, a term that means the same thing in both Drupal and Orchard CMS.
- Blocks and Widgets - Blocks are smaller chunks of content that you can place in your pages. In Orchard CMS these are called Widgets. They are not the main content, but surround the main content.
- Regions and Zones - Drupal blocks are placed within regions on a page. Each Drupal Theme defines its own regions. We call these Zones in Orchard CMS and each theme in Orchard designates in owns Zones.
- Both Drupal and Orchard have alias URL's which define the path to a content item or node. The Pathauto module handles this in Drupal. The Autoroute Part in Orchard and Alias UI help you manage URLs in Orchard.
- Modules - Both Drupal and Orchard CMS share the concept of Modules, which allow you to turn on and off functionality in your Orchard and Drupal Website. Both Drupal and Orchard have a gallery with user contributed modules as well as have core modules.
That is just the beginning of the similarities between Orchard and Drupal. As you learn both Drupal and Orchard you will see similar concepts of setting user permissions, assigning fields to content types, and more. Personally I think it is kind of cool since Drupal looks like a pretty amazing CMS.
If you are a PHP developer that chooses Drupal as a CMS or a .NET developer that chooses Orchard as your content management systems, I think you'll find that you've picked a really good CMS for your websites. Enjoy the similarities and differences and the power of OSS!
By the way, if you are looking for an Orchard Web Developer, I am available for hire!