The Orchard Project Beta (www.OrchardProject.net) was announced some time ago and I’ve been working with it since.

One of the special challenges in building a framework that can be used as a “Content Management System” is that WHAT content the end user will manage can’t really be known at development time.

Orchard takes a flexible approach to solving this problem by supporting both user defined content types as well as user defined “field” types”.

Here is a very basic walkthrough. As I continue to explore the Orchard Project I’ll blog more advanced usage of these features (bike extending custom field types.)

To get started we have to enable “Orchard Content Types’ in our Orchard installation.

If you have not already set up an instance or the Orchard project, there are detailed instructions on doing so here>

http://orchardproject.net/docs/Installing-Orchard.ashx

Once you are set up and running, go to your site and log in with the administrator account you set up during installation.

Click on the admin link and select “Features” in the Site Configuration section of the main admin menu to get to the features admin section shown below.

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In the “Orchard Content Types” box, click “Enable”.

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Now that Orchard Content Types are enabled, click in the “Manage Content Types” administration link in the Content section of the admin menu.

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Note that we can create new content TYPES or we can manage “Content PARTS”.

Content “Types” aggregate “Content Parts”.

If you click the “Content Parts” link you can see the parts that are defined by default.

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We could create a custom part with some UI specifics ….

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We could also create custom “fields” for use in our content types.

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To create a custom content type go back to the “Manage Content Types” and add a new one.

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After pressing “Create” I have a content type named “Presenters”.

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The custom content type is created using fields and / or parts.

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Above I add a “Custom Field” called “Years at Microsoft”.

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Then I select the “Parts” that I want to include in this content type.

When I click save, the UI shows me the parts that have been added to my custom type and adds a “Create” item to the admin menu for the custom type that I just created.

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If I click on that link I can create an instance of my custom type.

Note that I have a title, a “routable field” etc because I specified these parts as components of my custom type.

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Once I’ve added an instance of my custom type that instance is part of my Orchard Web Site.

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This quick walk through is a VERY simple introduction to Orchard Content types but hopefully you can get a feel for how powerful and flexible the user definable content type system is.

The more I work with Orchard, the more excited I get about it. I hope your install it and have a test drive yourself.