Development environment advices

Some advices on how to set up your development environment for Orchard Development.

Software to install

Below you can find pieces of software that you should install for the best Orchard developer experience.

  • Visual Studio 2017, 2019 or later with the following plug-ins:
  • Web Platform Installer for installing any necessary local developer tool or SDK. Install WebMatrix for simply browsing local SQL CE databases if you don't use the SQL Server Compact & SQLite Toolbox VS extension linked above.
  • Local IIS and SQL Server (as well as SQL Server Management Studio) set up as per the following article: "How-to: running Orchard locally through IIS using SQL Server"
  • An up-to-date browser with developer-aiding tools. Recommended is Chrome with the JavaScript Errors Notifier extension to get notified of client-side errors easily (it's a bit like the Orchard Error Log Watcher feature of the Lombiq Orchard Visual Studio Extension).
  • Fiddler for inspecting any HTTP traffic.

Make sure to always run Visual Studio as an administrator!

Visual Studio tips

  • Use code snippets; try out the ones in this package too that specifically aid Orchard development.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts. The most useful ones are:
    • F5: start with debugging
    • Ctrl+F5: start without debugging
    • F6: build
    • F10: run to the next line, when debugging
    • F11: step into the code on the current line (e.g. if the current line is a method call this will forward you to the body of the method), when debugging
    • Ctrl+F10: run to the cursor, when debugging
    • Ctrl+.: opens the Smart Tag
    • Ctrl+Shift+Enter: adds a new line below the current line
    • F9: places a breakpoint on the current line
    • Ctrl+K, Ctrl+D: format document
    • Ctrl+K, Ctrl+C: comment selection
    • Ctrl+K, Ctrl+U: uncomment selection
    • Ctrl+,: opens the Navigate To windows (i.e. search for types or members)
    • Ctrl+D, Ctrl+E or Ctrl+Alt+E: opens the Exceptions configuration page. Tick Common Language Runtime Exceptions - Thrown to see all exceptions, even if they're caught.
    • Ctrl+Q to access the Quick Launch bar
    • Shift+Del: delete line
    • You may want to set up Ctrl+W for closing the current file for the File.Close command and Ctrl+Shift+T for Edit.UndoClose (only available if PowerCommands is installed).
  • You may want to always run VS as an administrator. This will simplify debugging web apps running in IIS since you can only attach a debugger to the IIS worker process if VS is run as an administrator.

Mercurial and TortoiseHg tips

  • Interact with Mercurial through the TortoiseHg Workbench. You can add a cloned repository to the Workbench by opening it from the repository folder: right click on the folder and select the Workbench.
  • Use groups in the Repository Registry to group your repositories.
  • See the mercurial.ini in file in this package that you can use to initialize your Mercurial instance quickly with some useful settings. You can open your mercurial.ini file quickly from inside TortoiseHg by going to File/Settings/Edit File.
  • .hgignore files (drop into the repositories' folders and rename to .hgignore):

This page is part of the Orchard Dojo Library!

This page and many others here are part of the open-source, portable package of Orchard 1.x goodies: the Orchard Dojo Library. The Library is freely accessible by anyone; just go to its repository to download its full content (you can even download the textual content of the Library as a big concatenated document in HTML), file issues or fork it! You can even edit it online on Bitbucket, just click on the Edit link in the upper right corner!

Note that the Library also has an Orchard Core version, check it out here!