Okay, So i couldn't wait. I haven't downloaded the source code in a while and thought why not take a peek around.
I think the Orchard team has focused mainly on striping out their old theme engine to make place for the new old, and I have to say I am impressed. The new theme engine hangs off the work that the Razor boys have been doing along with support for WebMatrix – which is fantastic to see.
When I worked at Bath Spa, one or two people were talking about adopting WebMatrix and this made me feel a little uneasy mainly because Orchard at that point did not have built in support for it (And they were showing my VB.net examples), but now they do, I hope that the Bath Spa team keeps and eye out to see what they can do with it.
So I downloaded the latest revision on orchard off of codeplex to have a quick shifty (No Stu this is not the same as a Chiggy-Back), and I have to say that I like what I see.
The whole theme engine has been replaced with a brand new theme engine that in my eyes is a lot more extensible. At the moment I would say that the system its self is still rather simplistic, but where as before the scope of the theme engine was limited, this time around the Orchard team have made something which in my eyes can easily be turned in to something quite powerful and is not limited by previous limitations that were imposed on it.
With theming they have expanded on this notion of widgets which they introduced very early on with the module ‘futures.widgets’. It would appear that they have also introduced a very early concept of a ‘page canvas’ which is one of the features I wanted to see built. At ITV we have a great page canvas and I felt this is one of the ITVs CMS strong points, but with Orchard going this route, with the notion of widgets and widget pages, this leaves room for excitement. It would also appear that widgets can be inserted and displayed to different roles based on the concept of layers. The changeset I downloaded was slightly broken, so I cant screen shot creating a widget page.
There also is built in Email support, which is a fantastic feature that I hope to use on my own blog, so I can receive notifications of people who have commented. For all the people who have been emailing me about ideas for a Email Campaign CRM might want to think of adopting this as a first point of call?
More to come after I explore a little more.