Orchard Boston MeetupOrchard is a free, open source, community-focused project aimed at delivering applications and reusable components on the ASP.NET platform. Currently in version 1.3, the Orchard Project delivers a .NET-based Content Management System (CMS) application (like WordPress, Drupal, etc.) that will allow users to rapidly create content-driven Websites, and an extensibility framework that will allow developers and customizers to provide additional functionality through modules and themes.

This Thursday, December 15th from 6-8 p.m.a new group will kick-off (at the Microsoft Cambridge Office) dedicated to this Open Source project.  If you’re looking for a CMS to host your blog or perhaps to run a site for your company, Orchard is a great choice – particularly if you have a .NET development background, since you can customize and tweak behavior to your heart’s content.   And even if you’re not in the market for a CMS, Orchard as a enterprise-level, ASP.NET application has a lot to offer as a reference architecture for concepts and patterns like ASP.NET MVC, Dependency Injection, Razor, and more.

Arra Derderian, the leader of this new group, will focus the first meeting on an intro of Orchard and finding out what people want to learn about.  Each month’s meeting will include both speaking engagements and how-to/hands-on labs, so you’ll get some very practical experience on Orchard as well as the various technologies that it touches. In fact, the Boston Orchard CMS website is built on Orchard itself, so as the group continues to build out that presence, you’ll have an awesome opportunity for developing with both Orchard and a full-fledged Open Source project managed under the aegis of the Outercurve Foundation!