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Plone, quo vadis?

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Many developers have blinders when considering their technologies. We tend to fade out the sometimes hard-to-learn skills and hurdles in dealing with the system, and sometimes look contemptuously at other technologies that repeat the same mistakes that our community has already made.

We rant about the hurdles we have with our own system, but forgets about the many smart elements that comes for free.

This presentation is meant to be a self-critical analysis of our "Plone" system and the community behind it, and to provide a discussion stimulus for the future of Plone.

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Plone, quo vadis?

  1. 1. Plone, quo vadis? Alexander Loechel PloneConf 2018 - Tokyo All Images are CC0 or referenced
  2. 2. This talk is based solely on my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the Plone Foundation or the Plone Community as a whole. To be a steward and director of the Plone Foundation does not mean giving up your own opinion or basically speaking for the entire community.
  3. 3. Independent position ● public servants (University) ● IT-Manager ● not in charge of WCMS / Web ● Don’t earn my money from selling / developing Zope/Plone ● computer science background ● result focused
  4. 4. “Which is the best WCMS?” Web Content Management System ⇒ WCMS
  5. 5. “It depends …”
  6. 6. But you are a Zope/Plone person
  7. 7. Isn’t Zope/Plone already dead?
  8. 8. Not yet ...
  9. 9. Rich Hickey 10 “Most of the biggest problems in software are problems of misconception.”
  10. 10. It is time for a critical self-analysis CC3-BY-SA - MOs810 - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sigmunt_Freud_house_Pribor_(sociable_monument).JPG
  11. 11. Critics and Complaints
  12. 12. Steep learning curve
  13. 13. Over complex
  14. 14. Bad documentation ● structure ● completeness ● Not easy to understand
  15. 15. Development & Release Process with Problems ● No regular Releases ● Missing Installer ● Missing Translation ● Regression Bugs ● No new awesome features
  16. 16. How does Plone present itself? (SWOT-Analyse) ● Plone the Product (WCMS) ● Plone the Vendor ● Plone the Community Strength ● What are we doing right? ● What supports our efforts? ● What can we be proud of? ● Where are we better than others? Weaknesses ● Where are we weak? ● What is missing? ● What could others do better than us? Threats ● Changes in the surrounding ● Entwicklung des Wettbewerbs ● What’s risky for us? ● Where do we have problems? Opportunities ● Possible chances? ● Future opportunities? ● Positive trends ● Positive changes in the surrounding? SWOT
  17. 17. Plone the Product
  18. 18. is a CMS Content Management System
  19. 19. Plone is NOT a web framework
  20. 20. Plone the Product (WCMS) Strength Weaknesses Threats Opportunities Very secure accessible stable FLOSS licence “boring” translations Ressource Registry JavaScript Toolset Python few good maintained Add-Ons very complex Enterprise WCMS Platform Python Integrations Platform scaleable Concurrent writes Innovations-driver steep learning curve Editor Interface
  21. 21. Selected Aspects The good points
  22. 22. is a Content Integration Framework
  23. 23. infinite scalability
  24. 24. Plone Collections → Data Query
  25. 25. Plone EasyForm → Form Builder
  26. 26. Plone Rules-Engine Event System
  27. 27. Content Framework Dexterity → Data Schema
  28. 28. Plone Workflow Engine
  29. 29. Diazo → Easy Theming
  30. 30. Through-The-Web (TTW) Development: PythonScript & RestrictedPython
  31. 31. Empower Users CC BY-SA 3.0: Nick Youngson - Empower (http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/typewriter/e/empower.html)
  32. 32. Plone the Vendor Strength Weaknesses Threats Opportunities FLOSS Licence For continuity Bad or non-existing Marketing Professional Services Not a company No BDFLDeveloper Driven Community
  33. 33. How are WCMS selected
  34. 34. Most WCMS are selected based on ● Follow the herd (market share) ● Biased consulting ● Buying a WCMS as an add-on of “design / consulting / provider” ● Personal recommendations Who decides for the WCMS has changed → not IT anymore, it is mostly communications / press / marketing departments → technical considerations matter less
  35. 35. Gartner WCMS Quadrant 2017 Forrester Wave WCMS 2017
  36. 36. the Consulting Problem: Those consulting companies only present commercial Vendors, no Systems Open Source is mostly / completely ignored
  37. 37. FLOSS phenomenon / dilemma “Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”. FLOSS also requires money Comparable commercial software costs approx. 70.000,00 - 250.000,00 € / year license costs → > 1 full-time developer But who is ready to pay for FLOSS?
  38. 38. A reasonable Selection should base on ● satisfied requirements ● usage scenarios → User Stories ● economics ● strategic consideration (technically and organizationally) ○ technical platform ○ Infrastructure requirements ○ Stability, Security & Governance ○ Professional support ○ available Add-Ons ○ Requirements for editors, administrators & developers
  39. 39. Web → WCMS only?
  40. 40. competitors / segments / focus We should ask ourselves which should be our target audience / segment and focus
  41. 41. Vendors Web Content & Experience Management
  42. 42. Digital Experience Platform / WCMS Dilemma: Platforms offer flexibility But most institutions could not handle Under-buy / Over-buy Problem Technology Capability Spectrumlow high vendors promise real capabilities of the vendor Institutional skills Capacity Gap Hyperbole Gap real capabilities of the vendor Capacity Gap @TonyByrne @RSG Skill set of a CMS user (editors, administrators, integrators)
  43. 43. Platform vs. Product Platform: For a Vendor a platform is always better → larger Market Developers could build scoped applications Product: For a consumer a Product is always better → solves my problem Products solving specific Use-Cases directly Platform Possibilities Product more complexity, costs, time less
  44. 44. Mid-Range Products
  45. 45. Mid-Range Products
  46. 46. System / Vendor development To reach a greater market Mid-Range Products
  47. 47. System / Vendor development To reach a greater market
  48. 48. System / Vendor development To reach a greater market
  49. 49. Distributions with a product character (make complex systems simpler) System / Vendor development To reach a greater market
  50. 50. It is NOT a game of CMS
  51. 51. Focus
  52. 52. Content is King
  53. 53. https://xkcd.com/773/ Discrepancy between provided information and information sought by users
  54. 54. Complexity Dilemma ● WCMS needs to be so powerful that all requirements can be meet → gets more complex ● WCMS should be easily to handle for editors → WordPress Paradox
  55. 55. Gutenberg Editor - WordPress → Example for modern editing → also a Design and Focus decision → Back to Blogs → First Function to deactivate in an enterprise environment, corporate design disallows layout decisions transferred to editors → Focus on Content
  56. 56. CMS are boring MySQL is boring Postgres is boring PHP is boring Python is boring LDAP is boring WordPress / Joomla / Drupal / Typo3 / Plone / ... are boring Memcached is boring Squid is boring Varnish is boring Apache httpd is boring Cron is boring
  57. 57. "Boring" should not be conflated with "bad"
  58. 58. “Boring” let you get things done Every company gets about three innovation tokens. Source: Dan McKinley, "Choose Boring Technology" http://mcfunley.com/choose-boring-technology
  59. 59. Hype-Cycle
  60. 60. Innovation driver and adoption rate
  61. 61. – Richard Feynman 74 “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” Because you are a web-developer / IT-professional and it is easy to you, that does not mean it is easy or understandable for others
  62. 62. The Zen of Python - PEP20 Beautiful is better than ugly. Explicit is better than implicit. Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated. Flat is better than nested. Sparse is better than dense. Readability counts. Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules. Although practicality beats purity. Errors should never pass silently. Unless explicitly silenced. In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess. There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it. Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch. Now is better than never. Although never is often better than *right* now. If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea. If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea. Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!
  63. 63. The Zen of Python - PEP20 Beautiful is better than ugly. Explicit is better than implicit. Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated. Flat is better than nested. Sparse is better than dense. Readability counts. Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules. Although practicality beats purity. Errors should never pass silently. Unless explicitly silenced. In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess. There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it. Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch. Now is better than never. Although never is often better than *right* now. If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea. If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea. Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!
  64. 64. Applies to developers as well as for editors → editors don’t want or need the most fancy tools they just want to build awesome websites
  65. 65. Empower Users CC BY-SA 3.0: Nick Youngson - Empower (http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/typewriter/e/empower.html)
  66. 66. Plone the Community Strength Weaknesses Threats Opportunities GSoC Lots of Innovations-Token Average age Community Mix decreasing number Very pleasant operating/communication environment Relatively small (around 200 active) Lot of innovative developers Developer Community Sprints Very smart people
  67. 67. Brandon Rhodes Intro to Plone Keynote PyCon 2016
  68. 68. Paul Everett - Introducing Jim Fulton @PloneConf2016
  69. 69. Some of the smartest persons on earth you can meet and talk to “You do not get a handshake, you get a hug” Chrissy Wainwright
  70. 70. 1. 2003 October 15 - 17 New Orleans, USA 2. 2004 September 20 - 23 Vienna, Austria 3. 2005 September 19 - 21 Vienna, Austria 4. 2006 October 25 - 27 Seattle, WA USA 5. 2007 October 8 - 12 Naples, Italy 6. 2008 October 6 - 12 Washington D.C. USA 7. 2009 October 28 - 30 Budapest, Hungary 8. 2010 October 25 - 31 Bristol, UK 9. 2011 November 1 - 8 San Francisco CA USA 10. 2012 October 8 - 14 Arnhem, Netherland 11. 2013 October 2 - 4 Brasilia, Brazil 12. 2014 October 29 - 31 Bristol, UK 13. 2015 October 12 - 18 Bucharest, Romania 14. 2016 October 17 - 23 Boston MA USA 15. 2017 October 18 - 20 Barcelona, Spain 16. 2018 November 5 - 11 Tokyo, Japan 17. 2019 ??? (no proposal) < 70 Tickets for PloneConf 2018
  71. 71. Necessary vs Important vs Fun
  72. 72. - Bram Cohen "The trick is to fix the problem you have, rather than the problem you want."
  73. 73. End of Life for Python 2 (2.7) by 2020-01-01 → Plone on Python 3 is a necessity 8 9
  74. 74. Empower Users CC BY-SA 3.0: Nick Youngson - Empower (http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/typewriter/e/empower.html)
  75. 75. User Experience is about simplified user Interfaces
  76. 76. Plone-React → Volto
  77. 77. “rapid turnaround” (Video Better Web App Development by Sean Kelly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWODIO6aCUE von 2006, NASA)
  78. 78. - Pete Cordell "Telling a programmer there's already a library to do X is like telling a songwriter there's already a song about love."
  79. 79. A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system. Source: "John Gall's law" - from "Systemantics: How Systems Really Work and How They Fail" - 1975
  80. 80. Bjarne Stroustrup 97 “If you think it’s simple, then you have misunderstood the problem.”
  81. 81. 98 Peter Drucker The best way to predict the future is to create it.
  82. 82. You can take the man out of Plone But you could not take the Plone out of the man Source: Laurence Rowe - Plone Open Garden 2015 - Sorrento
  83. 83. Plone will life on, there’s more to come

Many developers have blinders when considering their technologies. We tend to fade out the sometimes hard-to-learn skills and hurdles in dealing with the system, and sometimes look contemptuously at other technologies that repeat the same mistakes that our community has already made. We rant about the hurdles we have with our own system, but forgets about the many smart elements that comes for free. This presentation is meant to be a self-critical analysis of our "Plone" system and the community behind it, and to provide a discussion stimulus for the future of Plone.

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