Plone Application Development Patterns

by Vincenzo Barone last modified Sep 24, 2007 03:21 PM

In 2004 The Nature Conservancy adopted Plone as the platform for ConserveOnline.org, a community site for sharing conservation information. Since then, we have gained experience implementing several successful Plone intranet applications, made plenty of mistakes, and learned how to - and how not to - approach new Plone projects. This talk will compare our experiences developing two very different intranet Plone applications that manage conservation information. The first application has a complex data model with a relational database backend and makes minimal use of Archetypes. Its requirements - including data model and user interface - were rigidly specified based on a spreadsheet tool. The second application is Archetypes-based and was developed using UML modeling and ArchGenXML. It has a simple data model, uses the ZODB for storage, and its requirements were more loosely specified. From the lessons we learned on these projects, we have developed a set of application pattern definitions to guide us when choosing technologies and estimating costs. We think these pattern definitions can help managers, integrators, and people new to Plone understand when to use Plone, when not to use Plone, and how to structure their interactions with clients to ensure a successful Plone project.