Simplifying Plone: Conclusion

What are the next steps?

In the articles Simplifying the content authoring experience, Improved handling of rich media and Composite pages, listings and content proxies, we have laid out an approach to radically simplify the content authoring experience in Plone.

We have in one fell swoop eliminated the need for:

  • Collections as a separate type,
  • Images as a separate type,
  • Composite page types,
  • Proxy (represent one object in two locations) type,
  • Default pages,
  • The need for a separate “Contents” tab,
  • Folder as a separate type.

We have made it substantially easier to handle:

  • Rich (“opaque”) media like video, audio and Flash,
  • Content reuse, i.e. generating new content by reusing other content (example: book with 3 different audiences),
  • Application-specific functionality like forms/polls/maps inside a page.

We have made it possible to:

  • Share “snippets of Plone” (widgets) to other systems — blogs, iGoogle, Facebook — you name it.

…all while making the UI massively simpler and easier to work with.

And if that wasn’t enough, the infrastructure improvements can be done gradually over a number of small releases in the 3.x series, and then culminate in a Plone 4.0 or 5.0 where we make the entire picture come together in a coherent new user experience. And we mostly don’t need to invent new infrastructure, instead we can build on work done in the Plone 3.x releases.

Next Steps

Where do we go from here? I want you all to help with fleshing out the plan, as well as contributing code and testing resources to make this happen. The next steps will be:

  • Identify which individual components are needed,
  • Figure out which of them can be built in parallel, and which ones can potentially be included in the 3.x releases,
  • Identify champions for the different areas,
  • Schedule sprints for big-picture integration sessions.

We hope to have the first of these sprints at the Plone Conference 2008 — and I hope we’ll see you there! Everyone is welcome this time around, and we’re trying to set up a range of sprint tasks, so that developers of all skill levels can participate in different ways.

I hope you will join us in taking Plone to the next level!