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Slides from the 2008 Plone conference, detailing the process of running the OOTB project and lessons learned.

Slides from the 2008 Plone conference, detailing the process of running the OOTB project and lessons learned.

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  • 1. OOTB Theming Project Cat-herding for Plone: Organizing and Executing a Successful Remote Sprint
  • 2. Veda Williams • Plone Skinner for ONE/Northwest • 2 1/2 years of experience in Plone • I have implemented more than 40+ Plone themes • Plone skinning training - Naples ’07 • Active in making UI improvements to, etc.
  • 3. Plone Strategic Planning Summit February 2008 • Goal: to produce a plan for the strategic future of Plone • Result: ~50 “champion topics” chosen and assigned to owners
  • 4. The directive: Ship with more themes OOTB • Possibly organize theme sprints if/when Deliverance is delivered ;)* • Suggested champion: Veda Williams *Smiley face guilt trip from Alexander Limi
  • 5. Cat-herding: What it means to be a champion • A champion is the person responsible for moving a focus area forward, and reporting progress. • Being a champion does *not* imply that he/she is going to do the actual work — it's about being the responsible person for that focus area. Of course, there are cases where the champion is in fact the person that implements the solution too.
  • 6. Why Me? Someone apparently thought I knew how to herd cats
  • 7. “The cat needs a job” And apparently someone thought I had free time on my hands
  • 8. What was the *real* objective here? •“Shipping” themes with Plone implied additional functionality to be added to the installer •Deliverance was in a fairly raw state
  • 9. What About Deliverance? People were talking about it like it was the next big thing
  • 10. When in reality, it looked something like this...
  • 11. The real problem in asking me to lead the charge?
  • 12. I had never skinned a 3.0 site.
  • 13. What was really going on out in the theming community?
  • 14. The Theming Story (February 2008) • Bar to entry: HIGH • Documentation: LOW or NONEXISTENT • Number of active themers: UNKNOWN • Deliverance: SCARY
  • 15. The Revised Challenge • Create more 3.0 themes • Alleviate the day to day pain for themers But what did this look like in practice?
  • 16. Generate more themes for 3.0
  • 17. Identify best practices
  • 18. Identify gaps in knowledge
  • 19. Use the collected information to lower the bar of difficulty
  • 20. Improve the UI on to make the themes more findable
  • 21. ...and ultimately?
  • 22. Figure out how to let skinners sleep peacefully through the night
  • 23. Starting a Rolling Sprint
  • 24. OpenPlans planning site (still open for business) • ootb-plone-themes/ • Recruiting was understated -- 2 or 3 emails to the plone users or UI lists • Recruiting was mostly viral
  • 25. Project Structure • Milestone-based • Assignment of themes • QA phase • Rework • Deployment on & pypi • Scattershot approach • Throw the project out there and hope people will contribute
  • 26. The Scattershot Approach World of Warcraft: “A short range shot that deals 50% weapon damage and disorients the target for 4 seconds.” Which amounts to something like this...
  • 27. • No one dies. • Sometimes you hit your target.
  • 28. “Hard” Metrics for Gauging Success • # of participants • # of themes • Email traffic • Installer improvements • UI changes to
  • 29. Number of Participants • 49 members • 10 active contributors of themes • ~25 contributors to the discussion • New members rolling in every week • The project took on a life of its own
  • 30. “We even got our own secret handshake”
  • 31. Contribution rate • 20% contribution level to themes • 50% contribution level to the discussion
  • 32. Number of Themes • 66 total Plone themes listed on as of September 30, 2008 • 10 themes from the OOTB project made available on • 5 themes available for download from PyPi or the Collective • 1 theme used for the new TTW book
  • 33. You do the math. ~25% of the 3.0 themes on are from the OOTB project or have been used for Plone training
  • 34. Email Traffic • 65 unique threads • 300+ emails exchanged in a 10 month period
  • 35. Email trends • Marked drop in participation after the first milestone sprint • Lower response rates to emails • Feedback from the group at the end?
  • 36. Thoughts on Email Exchange • Initial questions were satisfactorily answered early on through email exchange • Many of the conversations happening on the OOTB list belonged on the UI list for Plone • To compensate for not exposing these conversations to the world at large, lessons learned need to get translated back to
  • 37. Installer Improvements • Kudos to Steve McMahon • As of Plone 3.1.4, all* dependencies are satisfied by simply installing Plone. • Not sure what the status is of Windows installers. *almost all
  • 38. UI Changes to • Design revisions have been approved by Alexander Limi • 3.0 migration is not yet complete, but we have a test bed • Steve McMahon will implement the changes • Designer of new UI is working these changes into the new design
  • 39. Knowledge Transfer
  • 40. Key Email Threads (Future discussions of this nature should be taken into the UI list at large; OOTB list will be specific to OOTB theming process only.)
  • 41. What’s the best way to override a stylesheet?
  • 42. • Paster recipe does this via empty stylesheets • Initial conversations on the OOTB list indicated that overriding should be done via cssregistry.xml • Further off-line discussions indicated that using empty stylesheets allows more than one Plone theme to be applied; cssregistry.xml is Zope-wide
  • 43. When and how do we use the browser/ folder?
  • 44. • Most themers supported using the skins directory, and leaving the browser folder images and stylesheets options available “in case” they are ever needed • OOTB recipe was created by Trey Beck to use only the skins directory for images and stylesheets, but not widely distributed. (I use this.)
  • 45. “My dream would be to have ZopeSkel generate an empty plone product (nested python namespace, with basic zcml and only, just like the 'plone' ZopeSkel template), and then to be able to inject the code needed for creating a skin directory (registered with portal_skins), or a zope 3 resource style image declaration, or a zope 3 skin layer, or the base code for a viewlet.” -- David Convent
  • 46. “... why not to add one more question to theme's generation process like quot;Generate stylesheets and images as browser resources?quot;. This would let people like me who want to use DTML in stylesheets and store all the theme's mess ;) in skins/ without need of removing browser resources. If people answer [Yes] - we generate the skeleton as it is right now. If we one answers [No] we generate main.css in skins/SUBFOLDER and do not generate browser resources.” -- Denys Mishunov
  • 47. “This also highlights the urgency (expressed many times already) of unifying the two approaches to visual customisation and scoping out the role of Deliverance in lifting aspects of theming out of this murky world and into something with a much shorter tool chain.” -- Martin Aspeli
  • 48. Can we integrate the Sub-skins product with CSS Manager tool?
  • 49. • Reminded us of the frequently requested “subsite” feature • Highlighted the push towards tool integration (paster + subskins + CSS Manager + gloworm = Deliverance??)
  • 50. What about DTML Support?
  • 51. • Stylesheets generated in a theme product should support DTML by default • Currently no stylesheets are added to the skins/stylesheets folder, and new users may not know how to use DTML
  • 52. Is it ok to modify main_template?
  • 53. • Use viewlets if at all possible, but yes, you can still do this. • I do this, and Limi probably still does. :) • For the purpose of OOTB themes, keep these changes to a minimum and comment your changes
  • 54. How do we publish a product on
  • 55. • Some themes were added to PyPi but never made it back to • Highlighted the need to document this on in the “contribution” section
  • 56. What documentation does an OOTB theme product need?
  • 57. • Readme.txt / Install.txt need to cover dependencies, how to install • Install.txt not currently generated by paster recipe, but should be • Themes by Denys Mishunov contain great examples of what these could look like; also documented on the OOTB site
  • 58. Was OOTB a success?
  • 59. • Creation of 16 themes, or 25% of the existing 3.0 themes on • Significant participation and active email exchange • Installer improvements by SteveM • UI changes coming soon! • Clarity in terms of next steps
  • 60. Side Effects • Completed theming manual by Anne Bowtell • Completed theming chapter with David Convent for the new TTW book • I accepted nomination to be editor for the theming section of documentation
  • 61. General Observations • Energy is finite • Shorter sprints may work better than a rolling sprint • Email exchange needs to be exposed to the broader community • Interest in the project continues • The champion is not a bystander in the process. :)
  • 62. Where are we going from here?
  • 63. • UI improvements to to highlight themes are forthcoming • Documentation gaps have been identified and will be assigned • Deliverance work / tool integration work is happening • The OOTB project will continue, sans milestones and with more personal initiative
  • 64. New Plone Theming Book (due out in early 2009)
  • 65. Theming Sprint • October 11 & 12 • Varied topics • Sprinters welcome!
  • 66. Themes Available for Selection on “Pick me! Pick me!”
  • 67. Simplicity by David Little, 3.0
  • 68. Nonzero by duffyd
  • 69. Intense Simplicity by pigeonflight
  • 70. Busy City by pigeonflight
  • 71. Lazy Days by pigeonflight
  • 72. Bitter Sweet by Volodomyr Rudnytskyy
  • 73. iCompany theme by Denys Mishunov
  • 74. Hosting theme by Denys Mishunov
  • 75. Andreas01 by Speedbreeze
  • 76. Python by Speedbreeze
  • 77. Relic by Speedbreeze
  • 78. Green Community
  • 79. HedDex Greenfield Theme by Michael Krishtopa
  • 80. Andreas09 by David Convent & Veda Williams
  • 81. CHZenLike by Christoph Handl
  • 82. Hamnavoe by David LLittle
  • 83. Image Credits • drawings • Texas Monthly and Dick Cheney • Serta Mattresses • Southern Culture on the Skids • (tumbleweed) • Tiger Temple Thailand
  • 84. Let’s Celebrate! “I think your cat is drunk.”