Posts Tagged ‘plone’

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the best CMS of all? We may not have enchanted mirrors to tell us what the deal is, but Idealware has done nonprofits the favor of compiling an updated report that compares four major Content Management Systems and assesses their different strengths and weaknesses. The report, an update of the popular report that came out in 2009, takes into account the latest version of each of the tools. Even if you’re not with a nonprofit, this is likely one of the best sources of information comparing these tools!

IdealWare uses fourteen criteria to evaluate Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and Plone. Each system had its strengths and weaknesses but we were pleased to see that the CMS that we most often use, Plone, came out on top in a number of ways. The report noted that Plone was the CMS of choice for many major newspapers and large businesses. When measured against WordPress, Drupal and Joomla “Plone’s functionality is as strong, or stronger, than the other three systems in every area we reviewed except for one.” Go Plone! Below is a closer look at some of the strengths, and points of improvement for Plone

Securityplone logo
One aspect of Plone that is operating very competitively is website security. The report found that Plone’s architecture made it difficult for security issues to present themselves through add-ons or themes. There are also generally few vulnerabilities and errors. Plone beats out the rest hands down.

Accessibility and SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) determines how highly ranked your website is for specific keywords and Plone has several features built in that enhance how highly ranked a website is. Things like having an automatic header page and being prompted to use alt-tags on images is standard SEO practice that someone who’s not tech savvy could implement seamlessly. Plone also automatically populates metadata fields from the content of a page.

Ease of Use for Content Managers
While Plone can be used for complex websites, it excells as being easy to use in terms of the interface for managing the content. It is easy for anyone to keep their site updated with editing tools that are in the same place that you view the content, as opposed to a backend area. The report notes how intuitive Plone’s dashboard is, and how simple it is to perform cornerstone tasks in website management like adding pages and editing text. Plone was one of the stronger CMS in making it easy for users to achieve their daily tasks.

So what didn’t Plone do so great in?
Plone is a complex system built on a different architecture than the other systems compared (a main factor in why it is more secure!). As a result, it is a little more challenging to install and set-up without the expertise of consultants who know the system and tools. Even so, Plone has made huge improvements in the last two years to provide great ease of installation experience. While we are confident that tech-savvy self-starters can figure it out, ifPeople is also happy to do the heavy lifting when it comes to taming the technology for your use! Contact us if we can help you evaluate Plone for your website or sign up for one of our monthly Plone demos (free webinar). The ease, organization, and security your website will get will be well worth it.

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Here’s a quick note that I wanted to pass on about this big event that is happening in our neck of the woods (during the most beautiful time of year!!). We hope to see you here in Atlanta next year!

Call for proposals – PyCon 2011

Proposal Due date: November 1st, 2010

PyCon is back! With a rocking new website, a great location and more Python hackers and luminaries under one roof than you could possibly shake a stick at. We’ve also added an “Extreme” talk track this year – no introduction, no fluff – only the pure technical meat!

PyCon 2011 will be held March 9th through the 17th, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Home of some of the best southern food you can possibly find on Earth!) The PyCon conference days will be March 11-13, preceded by two tutorial days (March 9-10), and followed by four days of development sprints (March 14-17).

PyCon 2011 is looking for proposals for the formal presentation tracks (this includes “extreme talks”). A request for proposals for poster sessions and tutorials will come separately.

Want to showcase your skills as a Python Hacker? Want to have hundreds of people see your talk on the subject of your choice? Have some hot button issue you think the community needs to address, or have some package, code or project you simply love talking about? Want to launch your master plan to take over the world with Python?

PyCon is your platform for getting the word out and teaching something new to hundreds of people, face to face.

In the past, PyCon has had a broad range of presentations, from reports on academic and commercial projects, tutorials on a broad range of subjects, and case studies. All conference speakers are volunteers and come from a myriad of backgrounds: some are new speakers, some have been speaking for years. Everyone is welcome, so bring your passion and your
code! We’ve had some incredible past PyCons, and we’re looking to you to help us top them!

Online proposal submission is open now! Proposals  will be accepted through November 10th, with acceptance notifications coming out by January 20th. To get started, please see:


For videos of talks from previous years – check out:


For more information on “Extreme Talks” see:


We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!

Please also note – registration for PyCon 2011 will also be capped at a maximum of 1,500 delegates, including speakers. When registration opens (soon), you’re going to want to make sure you register early! Speakers with accepted talks will have a guaranteed slot.

Important Dates:

  • November 1st, 2010: Talk proposals due.
  • December 15th, 2010: Acceptance emails sent.
  • January 19th, 2010: Early bird registration closes.
  • March 9-10th, 2011: Tutorial days at PyCon.
  • March 11-13th, 2011: PyCon main conference.
  • March 14-17th, 2011: PyCon sprints days.

Contact Emails:
Van Lindberg (Conference Chair) – van@python.org
Jesse Noller (Co-Chair) – jnoller@python.org
PyCon Organizers list: pycon-organizers@python.org

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On September 1st, the latest version of Plone was released and a lot of innovation from this leading Content Management System is now available to new and existing Plone users! Plone 4 is more intuitive, more visually appealing, and faster. We’re so excited about this new version that we’ve been buried in working on it and launching new sites (check out the latest launch: SEEC) to get the news out for the last six week! Below are some of the key upgrades on Plone 4 that you may like:

ploneNew Look: Plone4 has a new template included when it is installed that is sleek, minimalist, and functional. After nine years of using a staple design, Plone 4 uses a modern table-less formatting and simplified CSS.

Performance Improvement: Plone 4 has a number of improvements that help it run fasterand more efficiently. It’s twice as fast as Plone 3 representing accelerating advances in performance for the platform (while many other systems are getting slower and more complex!). Plone 4’s capacity  to handle very large files has improved drastically since all file data is now stored on the file system rather than in the database. This enhances the ability of Plone to scale to handle huge content repositories out of the box!

Intuitive Visual Editing: The HTML editor in Plone 4 has been changed to a Tiny MCE which offers Plone users more ease and flexibility in design. It offers much stronger support of html tables and better support for embedded flash content. This visual editor is also widely used in other systems outside of Plone as well, meaning that it will have greater support and improvements over time. Overall Plone 4 provides better tools for creating the site you want with less of a headache.

Improved user management: Plone 4 has also streamlined the process of creating and managing users for your website. It is faster to create new users and place them in groups.

User Experience Improvements: You’ll notice several improvements in the way Plone leverages AJAX technologies in this version. The result is fewer page loads necessary to use and manage a website. Navigating to the back end administrative area of the website has been improved. Even small changes like allowing users to sign in with their email or username lend themselves to an improved user experience.

Other things we are excited about from this release:

  • Easy upgrading from Plone 3!
  • New version of the User’s Guide to Plone book!
  • The XDV templating tools that make it easy for designers to use html and css to create custom look and feel for Plone sites!

Plone 4 is a system that surpasses other CMS’s – open source and proprietary options – in terms of usability, security, community, and scalability. This latest release represents a lot of great work by the community and we congratulate and thank all those who have contributed to Plone 4!

If you’re interested to learn more about Plone, we invite you to:

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NTEN’s National Technology Conference 2011 is gearing up for another robust showcase of all things tech in the nonprofit world. NTC 2011 will take place in Washington D.C. on March 17-19, 2011 and as always, will feature sessions from tech companies and organizations throughout the country who are chosen by you! It’s voting time again, and we would love for your support in the following sessions we proposed. We’re on a quest to share our knowledge and this is a great venue to reach many people and our session proposals for NTC range from strategy to innovations to downright fun!   Below are the sessions we have submitted. By following the link you will be able to give the session a ranking. More high ranks = more chance that it gets accepted!

  • Salesforce + CMS Integration Showdown: Plone, Drupal, and Joomla- With the rapid increase in Salesforce use by nonprofit organizations, integration has become vital. One question we often get is – what website tools integrate best with Salesforce? We’ve decided to bare all in a battle of the most common nonprofit Content Management Systems. We’ll feature the open source tools Plone, Drupal, and Joomla in a rapid-paced, information packed session to help you decide! It will be fun, exciting and concise!
  • Unleash Your Fundraising Potential: Marketing Automation for Nonprofits Is your fundraising success limited by the number of touches you can have with each potential donor? Learn to cultivate relationships to a transaction with marketing. Marketing automation is a way to convert more people to donors that can effectively grow your staff’s capacity (without adding to head count) while increasing your effectiveness. In this session we will introduce the importance of integrating marketing and fundraising and show how you can use marketing automation.
  • 25 Ways to Improve Your Communications Capacity.
    The shear quantity and frequency of communications that most organization seek to produce has increased dramatically. Whether its blogs, tweets, commenting, web site updates, collaborations, cross posting, press releases, or good old print brochures. To stay abreast your organization needs to maximize its capacity for communication. At a time when there is no way you are hiring additional staff, that means making the staff you have as efficient and effective as possible. This session introduces 25 ways to use your existing resources to make the most of your communications.
    Implementing new technology project is always a process of organizational change. But it doesn’t have to be painful! You can take the opportunity to improve your strategy and operations while increasing your teams capacity for learning and adaptation. This session will cover how to approach a technology project with the impact on the organization in mind, how to develop requirements in an inclusive way, and how to manage change within your organization as you implement the system.

Show your support by giving your voting for your favorite sessions!

If you have suggestions for other topics you’d like us to share on, please leave a comment!

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Plone 3 Multimedia

Plone 3 MultimediaThe material covered in Plone 3 Multimedia by Tom Gross from Packt Publishing is a bit broader than I expected.  I was expecting an introduction to Plone4Artists and information on how to include pictures, audio files, video files, and flash in your Plone site.  These are all there, comprising chapters 2-5.  But the book also goes a step further, discussing topics that would also be of interest to those building sites that are multimedia heavy, including content categorization, maps, content syndication, and the best ways to store your multimedia content in Plone.

The book provides a great overview of what is available for Plone.  It covers all of the products that I already knew of and introduced me to a few that I had not yet heard of.  It can be useful to a wide range of skill levels, parts of it being suitable for Plone novices and other parts requiring a more intermediate level of Plone and Zope knowledge.

Again, I would have liked to have seen at least some mention of Plone 4 here.  The information here is all great, but I would love to get a taste of what the future holds, particularly when the future is so immediate.

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Plone 3 Products Development Cookbook by Juan Pablo Giménez and Marcos F. Romero from Packt Publishing provides practical information on how to create a Plone product from beginning to end.  It says on the cover that it provides “quick answers to common problems,” but it actually does quite a bit more than that.  It also provides you with tools that will help in making product development more effective.

I come to this book as someone who has used Plone for many years, but would like to learn more about developing products for Plone.  In addition to providing step by step instructions for common product creation tasks, the book also provides information on debugging tools, creating tests for your products, and packaging your products for distribution.

So far, the book has held up to practical tests as well.  It was able to help someone in our office, who had never created a custom content type before, create a new content type quickly and easily.  We’re thinking of using the book in our monthly Plone meetings to help the people who come to our group get up to speed in the creation of content types.

If there is one problem with this book, it is that it is for Plone 3 when Plone 4 will be released soon.  Much of what is here will still be useful, but there will be some changes.  Of course, writing a book like this, you will always we trying to hit a moving target.  Still, I would have liked to have seen a chapter at the end on what was coming in Plone 4 and what we could have expected to be different.

But, as I’ve said, this book has already proved its usefulness to me.  I would highly recommend it.

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Note: This post was co-written by ifPeople intern and Atlanta Plone Member Steve Allgood.

I’ve been thinking recently about how to get more out of our monthly Atlanta Plone meetings and how we could get more people interested in coming to meetings.  We have a lot of people with a solid understanding of Python and Plone in the group, but the group felt stuck.  It didn’t feel like our members were progressing in their knowledge of Plone or their involvement in the community.

I was inspired to change the way we do things after watching this video about the book Drive by Daniel H. Pink.  The argument is that what really motivates us to do tasks, requiring more than a basic level of cognitive skills, is self-determination, mastery, and purpose.  I focused on mastery and purpose as motivators for our group.  We should be a group that creates people who really know the ins and outs of Plone.  We should also be a group that gives back to the Plone community.

A discussion was started on the mailing list and continued at the June 2, 2010 AtlantaPlone meeting about changing the format of the monthly meetings.  There was some concern about the amount of effort required for presentations when the group is so small and there was a desire to do more hands-on learning. Our feeling was that we could really hone our Plone skills by working on an actual Plone project.

Some ideas were tossed around about organized python learning, working on a Plone product, mini-sprints, lightning talks, pair programming, and having themed meetings.  Of course we were all still interested in the social hour aspects of the meeting, so we came up with a plan to continue that tradition as well.

5:30pm – 6:30pm Happy Hour & arrive when you can
6:30pm – 7:30pm Any|None Lightning Talks, then Learning Session where the group works through exercises or tutorials
7:30pm – 8:30pm Development session where the groups works on a pet project or PloneTuneUp issues in a pair/extreme programming development style

This gives us a little bit of flex time before 9pm in case there are more lightning talks than usual or a session runs over time.

The first book that we will be tackling is Philipp von Weitershausen’s Web Component Development with Zope 3, which includes exercises.  And we will be looking at creating a Plone product together that would be a benefit to the greater Plone community.

We’re looking forward to it!

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Recently, I’ve been wanting to write a series of posts aimed at users of Plone who are not developers but want to get more out of their CMS.  My target audience is Plone Power Users, or those who would like to become power users.  Are you someone with a firm grasp of content management in Plone, but would like to know a little bit more about what goes on under the hood?  Do you know your way around the Plone Site Setup, but get lost in the ZMI?  These posts will be for you.

There are a lot of important features of Plone that are hidden away from the average user, and with good reason.  There are things in your site that you don’t want the average user to be able to change.  But you would like to understand your site better.

I’m going to start my series of posts with a problem that one our clients was having.  This client wanted anyone on his staff to be able to add additional keywords.  However, he noticed that only he could add keywords.  It was clear that he could do this because he was a site administrator, but he didn’t want to make all of his staff administrators of the site.  It’s not clear where, in Plone, these permissions are handled.

To find the solution to his problem, I needed to check the portal_properties section in the ZMI.  The Plone Power User should know this section inside and out.  In that section, under site properties, there is a property called allowRolesToAddKeywords.  If you look at this in your site, you can see that users with the Manager or Reviewer role can add keywords.  You probably don’t want to change this setting, but it’s important to know that it exists because knowing that it exists helps you understand why some users in your site can add keywords and others can’t.  If you want a user to be able to add keywords, you have to give them the Reviewer role.  It might take you hours to find the documentation that would explain this you.  (I say this from experience.)  But if you know your Plone site well, the problem can be solved in minutes.

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Packt has publshed two books on Plone this month, Plone 3 Products Development Cookbook and Plone 3 Multimedia.  I have a copy of each of these books on my desk right now and I will be posting reviews as soon as I get through them.  Packt has also told me that they would be entering into a draw anyone who happens to make a purchase of these books within the first 2 weeks of its publishing date for a chance of winning an iTunes voucher/Amazon Gift Card.  They are also willing to give away one eBook each of the two titles above, as long as the recipient is willing to review the book for their blog or website.  If you would like to review either of these books, please post a comment, and I will see if I can get an eBook to you.  It will be first come, first served.  Here’s some information, on the Packt website, about the special offers on Plone books.

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Here’s my Plone/Zope tip of the day:

I was having trouble packing the data file on which a Plone 3.3.4 site was stored.  The packing process would fail with the following error message: KeyError: ‘m’

The short story, for those of you who hate to read, is that I added the following two lines to the [versions] section of my buildout:

ZODB3 = 3.8.3
zope.proxy = 3.5.0

And they all lived happily ever after.

The long story is that I learned enough about ZODB persistent references to learn that the ‘m’ in this case referred to a multi-database persistent object reference.  I’m still not quite sure what that is, but the comments in the ZODB code were kind enough to tell me that it had not been implemented as of that version.  Note that there is also a multi-database simple object reference, which is identified by an ‘n’.  So, if you are seeing: KeyError: ‘n’ (as was seen 3 years ago), the fix above will probably work for you too.  So, it seemed my solution was to upgrade to a newer version of ZODB3.  The comment in serialize.py for ZODB3 version 3.8.3 says that ‘m’ and ‘n’ are still planned for the future, but the code works.  Problem solved.

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