Science and Doc Sprint Wrap-up

On February 2-5 2008 sprinters gathered in Davis, California to improve Plone's ability to support scientific collaboration. We made some excellent progress and had a great time in the process.

Bibliography Tools

CMFBibliographyAT is a product that empowers Plone with the ability to import and export bibliographic content from a variety of sources and formats. We made a lot of improvements to CMFBib:

  • Michael Hauser got things started by making us a CMFbib buidout
  • Raphael Ritz updated CMFBib work on Plone3!
  • Eric Steele powered out support for Zotero and COinS.  COinS is a microformat for embedding bibliographic references in XHTML. Zotero is a browser plug-in which reads COinS and supports bibliography management.  
  • Erik Rose improved the documentation and contextual help in CMFBib, making it much more user friendly. 
  • Nate Aune made a CMFBib Screencast (coming soon to
  • Matthew Lange and Alex Mandel worked on debugging cases where CMFBib didn't import BibTeX records missing authors and titles. They found solutions to making those imports work. 
  • Raphael integrated the PubMed import feature that was developed his student by Ralf and showed us a demo of querying PubMed from within Plone(!!).
  • Chris Calloway crafted a user story for DOI support.
  • Raphael refactored the handling of identifiers via the a new generalized 'identifiers' field.  This allows entries to reference multiple source IDs such as PubMed and DOI.
  • Ross Patterson eggified CMFBib to be more buildout-friendly.
  • Martin Opstad Reistadbakk improved the support for member-author linkages.
  • David Siedband and Raphael extended the CMFBib base schema to support a separate BibTeX keyword. We updated the import process to parse the keywords from BibTeX to that new field.  We decided to make this a new, separate field to avoid overloading the stock 'Subject' vocabulary in existing sites.  When you import a lot of entries it is easy to end up with a very large keyword vocabulary.  We think that this naturally leads to needing a more sophisticated system for keyword management such as PloneOnto.

Ontologies and Hierarchical Keyword Handling

  • Ross Patterson made us a PloneOntology buildout which will be the basis for future development. 
  • Raphael and Ross made PloneOntology work on Plone3 and fixed things up so that the unit tests all pass. 
  • Balazs and Martin made us a KSS-based auto-complete widget and gave us a demonstration of it working with PloneOnto.  Their code can be found on this branch
  • Raphael coached a lot of us throughout the sprint to better understand CMFBib and PloneOnto.  I think that is one of the big 'wins' of the sprint is that a lot more of us now understand these tools and can contribute to them and help support others in their use.


Documentation: Quick Reference Cards (Cheat Sheets)

  • Kamal Gill and Steve McMahon made a ZPT/TAL reference card. 
  • Jonathan Callahan made one for Plone CSS. 
  • Jason Hammons and Dave Brenneman made a reference card for Plone UI customization
  • Kamal and Balazs made one for KSS.


Unified Installer

  • Steve McMahon and Kamal Gill made progress on getting the unified installer to use buildout.


Social Events and Presentations

As usual, some of the best parts of the sprint were the non-programming activities. 

  • Kevin Wolf facilitated a visioning session on using Plone to support scientific and environmental collaboration. 
  • Balazs gave us an advanced tutorial on using KSS.
  • Raphael gave us a demonstration of PloneOntology. 
  • Nate Aune gave us a demo of some of the cool new features in Plone4Artists including calendaring and web-services based publishing to Eventful and other such sites. 
  • Almerindo Ojeda gave a lightening talk on his experience building the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas
  • Ross Patterson gave a lightning talk on Grouparchy
  • Matthew gave a lightening talk about making Plone-based tools for genomics.
  • Steve McMahon hosted a great house party. 
  • The UCD Center for Mind and Brain hosted a meet-and-greet event with lightening talks. 
  • We also explored the UCD Arboretum and had some Caribbean food and refreshing beverages at the Delta of Venus.

Thank You

Thanks to all the hard-working sprinters and remote sprinters!  Thanks especially to the guys who traveled a long way to attend: Raphael from Sweden, Martin from Norway, and Balazs from Hungary.

All of this would not have been possible without generous support of our sponsors and the hard work of our organizing team. 


International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility's (INCF)
Mazama Science
The Nature Conservancy's Central Valley Project
Steve McMahon / Reid McMahon
Almerindo Ojeda
Simula Research Laboratory
UC Davis Center for Mind & Brain
UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas
UC Davis Department of Philosophy
UC Davis Linguistics Department
UC Davis Science & Tech Studies
Wolf and Associates
Zope/Plone User Group of Davis


Sprint Organizing Team

Nate Aune
Jason Hammons
Matthew Lange
Steve McMahon
Carol McMasters-Stone
David Siedband
Jeremy Smith
Geoff Stratton


Future Science Sprints

We have a lot of momentum coming out of this event, so please consider joining us at the next Plone science sprint and supporting this work through sponsorship.  There is already talk of a scientific sprint at the Plone Symposium East in March.   For more information send a message to the Plone scientific list

See you at the next sprint!