Back when I launched my website, it was supposed to be a hands-on tutorial for me to get my hands dirty with ASP.NET MVC. When I launched the site, I found out that I need to move my blog too, so I needed a blog engine as well. By that time the only available blog engine that was built using MVC was Oxite, so I had no other option.

Oxite turned out to be a very basic blog engine, but with a few changes here and there I managed to change the look and feel to match the simple design of my website and add all the necessary stuff I needed. The problem was posting in Oxite was a real pain: The editor was just a simple textarea, scheduling options was as basic as it gets so after a while it became obvious that I need something more powerful, but I was too busy to do that. I had to be happy with what I had. A while ago when watching MIX 2011 videos, I found out how much better Orchard is and I decided to switch immediately.

Oxite originally had integration with BlogML, which is the primary tool to import and export blogs, but the authors only added Import function to the application. Who would want to migrate “from” best available blog engine, right? I created a small tool named Oxite Migrator to connect to the database and export all the blog information, posts and categories into BlogML format. Fortunately, Orchard has BlogML import module so once you have the export file, it is easy to get it back in.

Next was to create a new theme and make it look like my website’s design. I took one of the simple themes and tried to change it to match my own design. If you’re a beginner and have not used Orchard, there is a module named Designer Tools that has a Shape Tracing feature which looks like FireBug and facilitates creating new theme and customizing it in Orchard.

Shape Trace Module

From the design perspective of Orchard, it is one of the rare Microsoft projects that uses best of the breed tools. It uses NHibernate for data access, AutoFac for IoC Container and SpecFlow is used for tests.

The migration process took just a couple of weeks to port my blog from Oxite to Orchard. If you need an extensible, easy to use and powerful CMS on .NET platform, I suggest taking Orchard for a drive, you’ll love the experience.