Stories from the front lines


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Tips, tricks and all-around survival guide for the less technically-inclined Plone server administrator from someone who has been running a Plone site in production since 2006. Highlights include how to unlock the power of Collections, third-party products: when and when not to use them, and the care and feeding of content owners/creators.

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Stories from the front lines

  1. 1. Stories from the Front <ul><li>5 Years of Plone in Production </li></ul>Stephen Bollinger Web Services Librarian, F.D. Bluford Library North Carolina A&T State University
  2. 2. About Me <ul><li>Gopher (Get off my lawn, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>HTML Since 1995™ </li></ul><ul><li>“ Library” School </li></ul><ul><li>DotCom “Consultant” </li></ul><ul><li>Information Architect Hired Gun </li></ul><ul><li>Public Librarian </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Librarian </li></ul>
  3. 3. About My Work
  4. 4. Plone Experience <ul><li>Capital Area District Library </li></ul><ul><li>Began Development in July 2006 (v2.1.3) </li></ul><ul><li>Launched in November 2006 (v2.5.1) </li></ul><ul><li>Relaunched in June 2007 (v2.5.3) </li></ul><ul><li>Upgraded in December 2007 (v3.0.3) </li></ul><ul><li>North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University </li></ul><ul><li>Began Development in May 2010 (v4.0b1) </li></ul><ul><li>Launched in August 2010 (v4.0b4-ish) </li></ul><ul><li>Currently Running v4.0.4 </li></ul>
  5. 5. You’re in the Army Now <ul><li>What a Veteran Would Like to Tell His Rookie Self </li></ul>
  6. 6. Lessons Learned the Hard Way <ul><li>Don’t Overreach </li></ul><ul><li>Backup, Backup, Backup </li></ul><ul><li>Control is Overrated </li></ul><ul><li>The Care & Feeding of End-Users Is a Tricky Thing </li></ul><ul><li>It Takes Years to Learn a Tool </li></ul><ul><li>Content Is Everything </li></ul><ul><li>Reuse, Reuse, Reuse </li></ul><ul><li>There Is Help Out There </li></ul>Image Credit: Dirt Road ©Ian Munroe CC BY 2.0
  7. 7. Pyrrhic Victory <ul><li>When Your Reach Exceeds Your Grasp </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Dangers of Overreaching <ul><li>Can You Support It, Long-term? </li></ul><ul><li>The Shifting Sands Underneath Your Feet </li></ul><ul><li>Your Credibility With Your End-Users </li></ul><ul><li>“Gee Whiz” vs. Mission Critical </li></ul><ul><li>Keep It Simple, Stupid </li></ul><ul><li>The Right Tool for the Right Job </li></ul>
  9. 9. Don’t Burn Your Bridges <ul><li>Backup, Backup, Backup & Backup Again. Then Try a Restore. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why Restore Is So Important <ul><li>Your Site Is Sick & You Don’t Know for How Long </li></ul><ul><li>Can It Be Fixed Without a Restore? </li></ul><ul><li>How Well Does Your Server Administrator Understand Plone? </li></ul><ul><li>What Do You Stand to Lose? </li></ul><ul><li>Will Your Users Understand? </li></ul><ul><li>Do You Have Redundancy Available? </li></ul><ul><li>Disaster Planning & Recovery, Off-Site Backups </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, It Doesn’t Matter Unless You Can Restore </li></ul>
  11. 11. RETREAT! <ul><li>Why Control Is Overrated & Technology Alone Cannot Save You </li></ul>
  12. 12. Must… Not… Micromanage… <ul><li>Our Workflow Collapsed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Managers Did Not Use the System Often Enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content Moldered in the Queue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When Somebody Finally “Went Rogue”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It Was an Approver/Manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It Only Happened Once in 4 Years </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Supporting the Troops <ul><li>A Bumper Sticker Isn’t Enough </li></ul>
  14. 14. More Than Training <ul><li>Be Careful Sharing Your Pain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your Users Will Rebel If You Bad-Mouth Your CMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You Are There to Support Them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make Your Developer(s) (& Yourself) Interact With Your Users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They Will Tell You What Isn’t Working </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empower Them to Help Themselves & Their Peers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make Help Easy to Find </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage Them to Cooperate, Share & Collaborate </li></ul><ul><li>Trust Your Users </li></ul>Image Credit: ©Mike Gifford CC BY-SA 2.0
  15. 15. Confessions of a Veteran <ul><li>It Took Years to Get Here </li></ul>
  16. 16. Enough With the Slides <ul><li>Let’s Go Behind The Scenes </li></ul>
  17. 17. Plone Wishlist <ul><li>I Appreciate Everyone’s Hard Work. Plone Is Vastly Improved. But It Would Be Really Nice to Have: </li></ul><ul><li>Robust RSS 2.0 In/Out </li></ul><ul><li>A Safe Way to Delegate Control of Select Portlets </li></ul><ul><li>The Ability to Reuse the Same Static Text Portlet </li></ul><ul><li>A Better Backup Story for Windows Plone </li></ul>
  18. 18. THANK YOU TO: <ul><li>Windows Installer Creators/Testers/Maintainer </li></ul><ul><li>Sunburst Theme & Creators/Testers/Maintainers </li></ul><ul><li>PloneFormGen Creators/Testers/Maintainers </li></ul><ul><li>WebLion </li></ul><ul><li>Enfold Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Product/Add-On Creators/Testers/Maintainers </li></ul><ul><li>Plone IRC Channel/Google Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone Involved in the Plone Community </li></ul>
  19. 19. Thank You <ul><li>Questions & Answers </li></ul>©2011 Stephen Bollinger Except Where Noted This Presentation Is Licensed CC BY-SA 2.0