What’s the deal with Orchard and NuGet? Does Orchard suck?

Damn, Rob saw right through the PR lies of Phil Haack about the new NuGet gallery and figured it all out. Kidding, kidding. For your enjoyment and context, here is Rob’s post:

Phil made a thoughtful answer to the post where he gives the rationale behind the decision:

What I want to address here is what that means (or not) about Orchard.

“Why wasn’t it fast before?”

Because by default, back when the NuGet gallery was first built, Orchard was grossly under optimized. We made a lot of progress, but it still is under optimized out of the box --in a number of ways-- which is why we’re having this discussion for the 1.4 release:

One thing you cannot accuse the Orchard team of is premature optimization… But seriously, there are options available today: installing the cache module, or the combinator module. Or custom, in-site optimizations.

So could the NuGet team have optimized its gallery instead of mobilizing several engineers over a few months to rewrite it? Sure they could have, but it so happened that they didn’t, for reasons Phil explained better than I could.

As a matter of facts, our own gallery site, which just passed the million-download mark, still uses that same codebase that NuGet was using before. The new NuGet gallery doesn’t display total download stats (because the home page is now static html) but I believe it’s around 3 million so we’re looking at a similar scale here. Just visit http://gallery.orchardproject.net/ and you’ll see that it’s performing quite well. So what’s the deal here?

Well, we did spend the time to apply a few optimizations:

  • We profiled the code and fixed the biggest bottlenecks. Those fixes, of course, now benefit all Orchard users.
  • We profiled the database queries (using Ayende’s excellent NHProf) and optimized the biggest offenders.
  • We activated output caching.

All optimizations that NuGet never saw applied. And well, see for yourself, it’s not too bad. We’re not quite done, there is a whole lot more we can and will do, with what limited resources we have (hint: a lot less than NuGet).

We’re not the only ones: more and more big sites are going online with Orchard, with good performance.

But Rob also says something interesting and expresses a perception that I’ve seen many times:

“I’ve deployed Big CMS’s before as a solution for clients and every single time we decided to move away. They’re great for getting off the ground – but after a while there’s just too much friction.”

That is true of some CMS, but not all. In the case of Drupal or Orchard (not what Rob used, I checked), my own experience and that of many others is that because the content model is factored at precisely the right level of abstraction, it’s actually sometimes harder to get off the ground, but the friction diminishes over time. Where a more traditional application requires you to pile functionality on a relatively monolithic data model, modern CMS allow you to add functionality in a completely decoupled and unobtrusive way that puts the composition exactly where it needs to happen, somewhere between individual properties and full types.


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