Using a Decoupled Orchard Core CMS to Develop ASP.NET Core Websites

You can use Orchard Core CMS to develop a website in several ways. Three popular strategies for using Orchard Core CMS to build websites are Full CMS, Decoupled CMS, and Headless CMS. And although we use all three strategies to build websites, we have found the decoupled CMS the most exciting strategy when training ASP.NET Core developers on Orchard Core CMS.  

This article will explore how using Orchard as a decoupled CMS is an excellent starting point for new Orchard Core CMS developers. But before we talk about that, we must shed some light on what each strategy entails.  

Multiple Ways of Building Websites Using Orchard Core CMS   

1. Full CMS  

Under the full CMS strategy, Orchard Core CMS serves the entire website by utilizing a custom website theme, widgets, content types, modules, shapes, content parts, and other available features.   

When you use Orchard headless CMS as a full CMS, the frontend and backend of the website are closely integrated, in other words, tightly coupled. This coupling allows you to utilize every feature of Orchard Core CMS.  

However, one requires an in-depth knowledge of Orchard and how it works before developing a website using it as a full CMS. Many ASP.NET Core developers that use ASP.NET Core MVC are often aware of the underlying technology, yet they still need to attain a lot of Orchard Core CMS-specific knowledge to be able to use it as a full CMS. And this is the case with all ASP.NET Core CMS.  

2. Decoupled CMS  

When you use Orchard as a decoupled CMS, it is to develop the backend while the front end is developed using Razor Pages, ASP.NET Core MVC, or similar frameworks. The front end employs content services to access the content in Orchard Core CMS.  

As the name implies, the front end and backend are decoupled, i.e., not integrated, in a decoupled CMS. This gives you more flexibility and room to develop the front end of a website.  

However, you still need to grasp how content services function and how to organize the content in the Orchard Core CMS backend. But compared to the full CMS strategy, a decoupled CMS strategy requires a relatively smaller amount of knowledge to build a website.  

3. Headless CMS  

When you use Orchard Core as a headless CMS, it completely separates the front end and backend of your website. In this strategy, the front end uses an API to access content and is entirely agnostic of Orchard Core CMS.  

You can build your own API or use GraphQL out-of-the-box as Orchard supports it. This option is excellent for Single-Page Applications (SPAs) developed using a JavaScript framework like React, Angular, or Vue.   

Moreover, you can also use Orchard Core CMS as a static site generator. Interestingly, this exercise requires little Orchard Core CMS development knowledge. Instead, most of the development skills you need focus on architecting the content.  

A Word on Why Decoupled CMS Suits Novice Orchard Core CMS Developers   

Your Orchard Core CMS development skills are the most critical element influencing your decision to choose a CMS strategy. Every content management system has a learning curve, which is no different for Orchard Core CMS. As mentioned earlier, opting for the full CMS strategy requires extensive Orchard development knowledge and skills.   

But you don’t need to build any custom modules or themes when you build a website using Orchard as a decoupled or headless CMS. As a result, you require relatively less Orchard Core CMS development knowledge and skills.  

Are you a .NET Core developer who has experience working with Razor Pages or ASP.NET Core MVC? If yes, we suggest that you begin your Orchard CMS journey by using it as a decoupled CMS. This will enable you to utilize your existing web development skills and Orchard’s content management services without worrying about building custom Orchard Core CMS modules and themes. Many Orchard Core CMS developers find this part – where you must develop custom themes and modules – an uphill challenge.   

Moreover, Orchard Core is not different from other .NET Core CMS in that every one of these CMS requires that the developer has an adequate understanding of the CMS and possesses the skills to develop reusable modules and themes in the CMS. This naturally translates into a higher learning curve.  

Whenever we train .NET Core Developers on Orchard Core CMS, we have them start by building web apps using ASP.NET Core MVC or Razor Pages with a decoupled Orchard Core CMS. It allows you to create more value for money than focusing on custom modules and theme development. Moreover, as a developer, you can enjoy all the content management features offered by Orchard Core CMS while working with your own choice of web development stack.  


It is very straightforward to develop marketing websites using a decoupled CMS, as they are not very complex sites. Once you have honed your Orchard Core CMS skills, you can turn your attention to developing custom modules and themes using the full CMS strategy to build incredible websites.  

But a decoupled or headless Orchard Core CMS may meet all your web development needs – no need to look further!  

Contact us at [email protected] to learn how Xavor can help enhance your digital footprint and enterprise web presence using Orchard Core CMS. 

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