New website for Hillier launched using decoupled CMS, Orchard Core.

Hillier operate 16 UK garden centres and have three quarters of a million trees growing at any one time. Many of the trees that line our UK streets and parks have been grown by Hillier, including those at Olympic Park.

Having recently successfully re-developed our own in-house website using a decoupled methodology, we decided to apply this approach to the new Hiller website

What is a decoupled CMS?

Content management systems are at the heart of many websites these days and are no longer simply about managing content. Online marketing, e-commerce, email marketing, analytics, SEO and personalisation can all come under the remit of a modern CMS. The problem for many smaller users is that these products have become complex and monolithic with a bewildering array of features which can be hard to navigate and operate. In response to this, the concept of decoupled (and headless) content management systems has emerged.

Decoupled content management systems separate the content from the other aspects of the website—such as styling and templating—which can make a big difference to the maintainability and performance of the website. For end users, a decoupled CMS puts the emphasis on the most important aspect of the CMS, that is, keeping their content up to date. A decoupled CMS is concerned only with the management of content and in turn the developer (and customer) is freed from having to follow any development limitations imposed on them by a tightly coupled CMS. This makes for a more agile and flexible development environment, where the developer has more freedom to choose how to implement the chosen design of the website. This freedom is especially useful when considering the necessity of websites to support an ever expanding array of devices. 

Future Proofing?

No website can be made future proof, but by separating the design from the content the process of upgrading or re-implementing the design is made much more straightforward. A decoupled CMS grants ability to re-engineer the front end design around a simple core content delivery API.

Why Orchard Core?

We chose to use Orchard Core CMS for several reasons:

  • A simple, modern, clean interface that users find easy to work with
  • Designed to work with the latest Microsoft ASP.NET Core framework Orchard Core is highly modular, extensible and flexible
  • Although in Hillier’s instance we used Orchard Core in a decoupled capacity it can also operate as a fully featured traditional CMS
  • Orchard Core has a great pedigree based on the established Orchard CMS. Orchard is an open-source project with sponsored Microsoft employees guiding development
  • Being open source Orchard Core does not cost anything which makes it ideal for customers on a limited budget. It’s also fantastically well supported which has proven to be very helpful when looking to provide customers with optimal solutions.

If you’d like to explore how a decoupled CMS might make your own website more effective, whilst also stretching your budget, then please do get in touch with Alan Thorpe, our MD, for a no-obligation chat.

Post by

Robin Coode