Sunday, 1 November 2009

Plone conference keynote

This is an attempt to paraphrase Alexander Limi's keynote speech, rather than reflect any of my own views (added as comments instead).


Good to see two new plone books are out, e.g. Erik Rose
plone 3 for education -
and contrary to Google trends - usage is still increasing.

plone 4/5 roadmap:

native blobs in 4

performance should be twice as fast as 3 -
largely due to Chameleon and its compiled ZPT template acceleration (also used by Pylons for Genshi)

code base should be 30% smaller

deliverance - more into the core

dexterity - to replace archetypes but will still have AT in 5

deco - UI layout design framework using tiles to replace viewlets and portlets. All of the page elements can be drag and dropped rearranged.
- so edit mode becomes a design mode too! (Live demo of deco drag and dropping layout followed)

Issues about promoting plone

Cant compete against cost and simplicitiy of PHP CMS for web page publishing - so sees goal as the high end of the market - enterprise collaborative CMS, easy to extend with simple apps.

Hence the competition is Alfresco, RedDot, Sharepoint etc - Plone community need to create standard content importers from these.

Fix to drive plone again. More user groups, etc.


  1. In general the whole speech had the feeling of a rather defensive rallying cry to the troops.
    The fact that the keynote was dedicated to this rather than a more general open source issue tending to emphasize this.
    Interesting to see that Plone now sees itself as unable to compete with PHP on cost (and simplicity) for small sites. Also that from being a minor upstart, Alfresco is now seen as a key rival to target. Especially since there was the usual thing of looking at the new toys in the box, but none of them target this, ie file repository, office integration and web services. Instead they build on areas that Plone already beats them in - ie. easier custom content creation (dexterity) and more tools for web interface customisation (deliverance and deco*).
    On the plus side the continued dedication to the public web side of CMS helps to distinguish Plone from other enterprise CMS offerings, and the focus on simplification and speed are certainly welcome. However given its new enterprise targetting I think full multi-site deployment and scaling features out of the box are what are really lacking when compared to Alfresco et al. (NB: This is influenced by >60% of the University of Bristol's Plone CMS - UOBCMS - work being scaling - and we have still hit a wall now with the current architecture)

    *Personally I can see deco going the way of KSS, ie its glossy so it gets overused and ordinary editors end up with variant site layout on each page - breaking accessibility, when really this is a tool only for use in strict moderation for web design prototyping.

  2. Ed,
    There was a great presentation called 'Unloading Plone' which dealt with scalability:

    Interesting to see you say you've hit a wall. Maybe we should get together to look at it as I'm sure there is more tuning that can be done.


  3. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for being the first person outside of ILRT to read this blog ;-) or at least comment on it.

    Regarding the wall it is for editing performance* not the public interface, and it is to some extent one of our own making, since when we first created the architecture we didnt account for the UOBCMS system scaling to over 200 websites and the same number of concurrent editors in a single plone instance and Data.fs

    *NB: So the issue is the core ZODB issue of bad performance with many hundreds of concurrent editors rather than particular to Plone, and the work arounds are known.

    It is something that will be solved by a new architecture when we write the next version, with things such as Solr replacing the zcatalog, and perhaps separate Data.fs per site auto-buildouts triggered by editors via the web interface. However the point is all of this will require custom infrastructure and add ons for cross site content pasting and the catalog etc. Whilst other CMS appear to have multi-site and multi-tenancy scaling out of the box.

    Of course I guess these things can be packaged up and released to join collective.solr, PloneQueueCatalog et al, then Plone will have it virtually out of the box too. But if Plones new target competition is Enterprise CMS then maybe it needs to have a standard multi-site / tenancy scaling option in the core.