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Where is Plone heading to? Reading thru the tea leaves

Plone Symposium MidwestA good portion of the Sixie crew is now back from the superbly organized Plone Symposium Midwest (PSM) (hats off to Kim Nguyen and his companions) at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh, WI. It took the team a long week to recover as the conference kept us all very busy from the crack of dawn all the way till very late in the evening --- err, scratch that, early morning.

So, what do we take back from PSM this year? Where is Plone heading?

PSM being the largest Plone event in the US this year, saying it was a highly anticipated event is an understatement. Plone developers, integrators and users alike were looking forward to something better than tea leaves and crystal balls to answer the question of "where is Plone heading". And, oh boy, did we get the answer, loud and clear!
Diazo Training for Plone
First, our own Chrissy Wainwright's training class on Plone theming quite literally sold out with a record of 19 people in her two-day session! This is twice as many sign-ups as she usually gets.

Then our CTO, Calvin Hendryx-Parker, totally filled a large computer lab with his a "Plone 101" intro session. All of us inPlone Training with Six Feet Up the Sixie support team, as well as the UWOSH crew, had to either sit on the floor or on a folding chair way at the back to be able to leave the computers to the trainees.

This was quite a workout for our PloneDemo.com website. At some point, I spotted 54 people logged in the system at once, and creating content simultaneously!

Then Ken Wasetis, from Contextual, presented an outstanding comparison between Plone and Drupal (Video). Now, now, we aren't here to bash Drupal. Drupal is huge and backed by a very wealthy organization. It powers very large and complex websites... too. And that's what's really cool about all of this: Ken concluded the two CMS are really side-by-side on many features. So, a lot of investment money doesn't necessarily buy a better technology. The Plone Community still manages to produce an outstanding enterprise web content management system. Oh, and, if you are looking for robust workflows, flexible collections, outstanding security, and granular versioning, you may still want to choose Plone over Drupal ;-)

The unforgettable Elizabeth Leddy also painted a very exciting picture of the Plone world, citing numerous stats and graphics. Two stand out specifically: Plone development sprints are up as we get closer to Plone 5, and 4 out of 5 of the top Plone core developers are twice as active than last year.

And did I mention the Symposium attendance pretty much doubled from last year?

All of this really confirmed what we had all intuitively known: the Plone community is definitely experiencing an exciting and healthy level of activity shared by both old-timers and newbies.

At the heart of this buzzing activity is one communal project: Plone 5. Officially announced. Described in detail (on paper, even!). Fervently debated. Actively developed by a myriad of world-wide busy bee developers all working together toward the same goal: releasing the next version of Plone.

Eric Steele's keynote "The State of Plone" (Video) gave the signal: we are done talking. Now we are in "doing" mode. Plone 5 IS going to happen, <expletive of your choice>!

Plone 5 will come with a clear set of themes:

  • Plone's learning curve is about to get much smoother thanks to a new API, a leaner core code base, and the move to better JavaScript and CSS standards.
  • Customizations will be easier than ever. If you want to know the technical details: Plone's default content types will use the Dexterity framework and legacy CMF skins scripts will be converted to use z3c.form and Zope 3 views. This will unify the way customizations are made and simplify the core of Plone.
  • Content contributors will enjoy the faster UI, as well as the new folder contents structure that allows them to manage large volumes of content. They will also love the new calendaring features, including the ability to set up recurring and whole day events. The new universal toolbar will make editing pages a more consistent experience and will simplify the theming work that goes in the background.
  • Plone 5 will come with a responsive design out-of-the-box using the modern theming technology Diazo. It will also be compliant with new accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 1.0).

This is the passion that fueled a whole week of trainings, presentations, lightning talks, debates and sprints at the Plone Symposium Midwest in Oshkosh, WI.

This is why we are supporting the Plone community more than ever:

  • We gave 2 trainings and 3 talks at PSM
  • We are pledging 20+ hours a month of QA time to Plone
  • We are proud to announce our Dir. of Engineering has joined the Plone Security Team
  • We are inviting the whole community to join us on a Bastille Day Sprint to advance the plone.app.toolbar project and Plone marketing efforts in general
  • We are turning Plone into a full-featured multisite CMS with Lineage and Resonate

Do you want to join a thriving, true open source community? Come to the Bastille Day sprint or contribute on the PayPal page. Do you need a feature that is currently missing in Plone? Tell us about it. Do you want a demo of Plone? Contact us.

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