Orchard Harvest 2015 – Case study: the NFLPA web site

The NFL Player Association web site is a migration from a WebForms application. The team wanted a WordPress-like CMS, but running on .NET. They ruled out SharePoint and Umbraco, and went for Orchard because of its dashboard (that was 1.8 at the time). They chose to deploy on Azure.

The previous version had a mobile and a desktop version, which was a problem as most of their traffic was going through the downgraded mobile experience. They replaced it with a single responsive Bootstrap theme.

The site is using Active Directory for membership and authentication of staff accounts, while non-staff accounts are in Orchard, with a complex custom process associated with the transition between the two types of accounts.

The Orchard application plus their CRM, are replacing four different applications.

Azure web applications enabled them to scale much faster when high profile press releases hit the site than with the previous cloud services setup. With Azure Redis caching in place, they can scale up if they need to, but never had to so far. Being able to do partial deployments of modules was also a big improvement over having to deploy the whole role every time. Caching also became a lot easier, with less issues.

They are using ElasticSearch to log and analyze the site’s activity. Reports are presented through a Telerik reporting UI.

They have been using TFS for bug reports and source control, but would use Git instead if they started today, if only to simplify merges when upgrading Orchard.

The migration was done in nine months.

One of the problems they are trying to solve is to enable caching for authenticated users. They are now working on single sign-on and user dashboards.

UPDATE: the video is online.

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