Plone Conference 2014: The Highlights

erstellt von Philip Bauer zuletzt geändert: 05.10.2015 10:30
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The Plone Conference has once again proven its value. There were many excellent talks and everyone had a great time. In Open Spaces and during many discussions between talks the current state and the future of Plone became much clearer.

Plone 5

The main thing is Plone 5. It look great, is a huge step forward in terms of user experience and brings tons of important improvements. The keynote of Plone's release manager Eric Steele showcases all these things.

Getting Plone 5 ready for a beta-release is the top item on everyone’s agenda. That effort not only involves finishing projects such as mockup, the new theme and contenttypes but also writing documentation for end-users, the upgrade-guide for developers and testing.

The Plone Roadmap

The second biggest thing was the roadmap-discussion. Discussions about the a new Roadmap started in October 2013 at the Plone Conference in Brazil under the catchy title "Plone Roadmap 2020". The initial topic was the future of Zope within Plone's ecosystem, but it turned into a broader discussion about all the things that the community wants to change in Plone, not forgetting the whys and hows.

Roadmap progress in Bristol 2014

First we looked at reasons why we use Plone. The following motivations were mentioned the most:

  • The Plone Community
  • Fully-featured user friendly product that is directly usable
  • Flexibility of the software architecture
  • It creates jobs
  • Best security-record
  • Open source

As Martin Aspelli put it so eloquently: If we are going to change Plone, can we please not mess any of the above up?

Next we compiled a list of things that we want to change in Plone in the next five years.

  • python-api
  • json-api
  • Improve end user experience
  • Documentation and training: Document the recommended way to do things
  • Improve TTW-story in theming, templating and customization
  • Simplify code base, reduce number of eggs, remove legacy technologies
  • Remove dependency on CMF
  • Roadmap communication

Not a single person advocated a rewrite since it is clear that a rewrite would mess with some things on the first list.

When looking closer at the aims it becomes clear that all of these things are already being worked on:

  • python-api: There is now a Plone Improvement Proposal to ship plone.api with Plone and also use it in the core. There will be further discussions about what we need from an api to further isolate Plone from parts that we might want to replace in the future.
  • json-api: The community is already working on a RESTful json-api for Plone that will allow isolating the front-end from the backend and experiment with various javascript-frameworks. With this api Plone will be better suited for for web-applications where Plone is "only" used as the backend and will be a friendly citizen in a world of mixed technologies.
  • UX: Plone 5 will already be a huge step in the right direction but there will always be room for improvement. The enthusiastic reaction to the efforts of the Plone Intranet Consortium showed how important a good UX is.
  • Documentation: The new docs.plone.org are much better than anything Plone had in the past. During the sprint the documentation was already being cleaned of examples that use grok. Also the documentation for the Mastering Plone Training teaches always the recommended ways to do things and will be expanded and upgraded for Plone 5.
  • TTW-Story: Although Mosaic (the new name for Deco) looks extremely promising this is surely one of the areas where Plone still needs to invest more. For template-customization we still rely on old technologies: The only way to customize a viewlet within Plone is to use the ZMI (not recommended!). The community will have to agree on achievable solutions to have some real progress. But do not forget that Plone already has a great TTW-story: Dexterity and the Diazo theme-editor are powerful features and blow the competition out of the water.
  • Simplify code base, reduce number of eggs: Many technologies (formlib, portal_skins, plone-tools, cpy/cpt) are already deprecated and the code is migrated to browserviews and z3c.form (*cough*) in Plone 5. There is also a PLIP that aims to move many plone.app-packages into the core-package Products.CMFPlone [https://dev.plone.org/ticket/13283].
  • Remove dependency on CMF: Without a python-api we cannot remove parts of CMFCore and Zope. Having that api will give us the options we need to replace/remove stuff. We'll need some experiments and even more discussions about what we want to remove and what to replace it with.
  • Roadmap communication: The discussion on a the Plone Roadmap will be continued. The next Plone Open Garden (April 2015 in Sorrento) will probably be turned into a Plone Strategic Planning Summit. Communicating the community's strategic vision of Plone in the short, mid and long term to the public is almost as important as agreeing on a roadmap and implementing it.

Since there is no official roadmap-team these kind of meetings are where the future of Plone is actually agreed on. This is where Plone happens and everyone who takes part is part of the roadmap-team.

The Plone Intranet Consortium

One of the most anticipated talks of the conference was about the Plone Intranet Consortium. Since its foundation last year, the consortium (of which Starzel.de is a founding member) is working on a competitive Social Intranet solution. One of the aims is to evolve and strengthen the position of Plone in a commoditized market. The design-first approach and the fact that Plone-companies put their resources together allows for high expectations. See the talk:

 

The sprint

As usual after the conference there were two days to actually work on Plone. The hotel had to quickly open another big room to accommodate all sprinters since many more people showed up this time than  expected. On saturday morning you could see the titanpad exploding when people started adding the topics they wanted to work on. I worked with a great team of developers on the default contenttypes of Plone 5, mainly focusing on making it easy to migrate the content of existing websites to Dexterity. Other results can be seen at the titanpad and here.

In 2015 the Plone Conference will be in Bucharest. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

 

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