The Bastille Day Plone Sprint was hosted by Six Feet Up near Indianapolis in conjunction with the company's annual celebration of France's National Day. While the celebration was a huge success with close to 4,000 visitors, the Plone Sprint was equally productive with over 12 people working together to advance the open source CMS Plone. The celebration with its signature laser light show Saturday night was the perfect kick-off to the sprint. Several critical projects were addressed: plone.app.toolbar, Mockup, plone.app.widget, TinyMCE 4, Plone.org/.com strategy and Plone Marketing/ Marcom plan.
"plone.app.toolbar" is a new add-on for Plone 4.3 that provides end-users with a faster browsing and editing experience. It will be the standard UI provided in Plone 5.
The new UI will be consistent across all themes, but will not conflict with the design. With plone.app.toolbar, the editing interface will not be intermingled with the core theme of a Plone site, which will make it drastically simpler to theme Plone and reduce unintentional conflicts.
"Six Feet Up were excellent hosts, which really allowed us to focus on our work" stated Foster.
With Foster's help, Clayton Parker, David Blewett, Daniel Miller, Joel Kleier and Chrissy Wainwright worked on moving the old Plone UI into the new plone.app.toolbar.
The result is a series of universal widgets that create a consistent and more modern user experience:
- Easy image drag-and-drop-upload
Nathan Van Gheem worked on a new tool that allows content editors to simply drag and drop either single or multiple images directly from their desktop and into a Plone page. This radically simplifies the management of web images.
- Up-to-date collections
Rok Garbas and Joel Kleier collaborated to make the UI of collections (or "smart folders") more user-friendly: the new collection widget now uses the new date picker and "select to" fields.
- "Related Item" widget
Ryan Foster and Nathan Van Gheem worked together to modernize the "related item" widget UI. It is now easier and much faster to connect various pieces of content together.
- Improved tagging
Thanks to Rok Garbas' work, the Plone tagging widget is now greatly improved.
- Faster live search
Ryan Foster worked on improving the Plone live search feature. Users will have access to a faster and more flexible tool for searching and returning content in the Plone CMS.
- Streamlined date/time pickers
Rok Garbas and Nathan Van Gheem focused on greatly improving the date and time pickers, reducing the drop-down menus from 6 to merely 2.
- Beautiful dialog boxes
Rock Garbas and Ryan Foster rolled out slicker and more modern modal overlays - those dialogs that pop up and disable the background behind them.
- Responsive toolbar
Daniel Miller worked on ensuring the new plone.app.toolbar is responsive out-of-the-box, making sure it adapts nicely to any kind of mobile device.
While Parker, Blewett, Miller, Kleier and Wainwright were focused on creating documentation for the various widgets, Garbas, Foster, Van Gheem, Kleier and Wainwright spent two days improving the test coverage for the new Mockup widgets.
The Mockup new widgets were eventually compiled into a minified Plone product called "plone.app.widget".
4. New WYSIWYG Editor TinyMCE 4
Nathan Van Gheem worked on integrating TinyMCE 4 into Plone for a faster and nicer editing interface. At the end of the Bastille Day sprint, Van Gheem had his implementation working on his local development environment, "but more testing is necessary before this new editor is production-ready," he warned.
5. Plone Marketing
The Bastille Day Plone Marketing team included Charlie Rimpila, Eric Rozeboom, Carol Ganz, Jim Bartek, Mark Corum and Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker, not to mention Mystery (Carol’s dog).
The group worked on two major projects:
Project 1: PLONE WEBSITE
1) The Marketing team reviewed the initial first design mockup for plone.com. They all agreed on going with a distinctive color scheme (i.e. not white, blue and green) that complements and reinforces the tagline “Plone, The Ultimate Open Source Enterprise CMS”. Initial draft selected as a starting point:
2) The group reviewed the plone.org/.com strategy and explored the rationale behind maintaining two distinct websites. They considered the advantages of consolidating all Plone community websites under one umbrella with one uniform theme for consistency and manageability. They concluded that combining all the sites under one root domain as subfolders would enhance Plone’s ability to show up at the top of search results on key terms. This is due to the fact that search engines treat separate root domains and subfolders of domains as separate sites with separate authority on a given topic. All marketing participants agreed to recommend plone.com should simply redirect to plone.org. PloneEDU and PloneGOV should also fall under Plone.org while still enabling those special interest groups to control their spaces.
3) The Marketeers developed a high-level site map for plone.org:
4) They also developed functional wireframes for the plone.org homepage to assist the designer (Rita) in her second round of design:
Project 2: Plone Marketing Strategy
1. The team developed a draft Plone Marketing plan (mission, vision, strengths, weaknesses etc.)
Marketing Group Mission Statement: "We are dedicated to helping the entire Plone community grow their market share."
Marketing Group Vision Statement:
We continuously monitor the market and listen to our target audiences. We consolidate their needs and expectations, and communicate them to the Plone community.
We develop an effective positioning strategy for Plone.
We create a highly respected brand that is consistent across the board.
We cultivate a perception of excellence amongst our target audiences.
We help to recruit new community members.
We help to grow the Plone community fund-raising efforts.
2. The group reviewed 5 key features for Plone, researched facts to substantiate the claims, and developed specific slogans for each key feature.
3. Finally, the Marketing Team developed a draft Plone Marcom plan (target personas, identification of communication channels, how to reach them, etc.). The list of target personas is as follows:
1 - Tinkerer
2 - Media analyst writing about what’s new in the CMS world
3 - IT manager in a corporation
4 - Branding/advertising consultants
5 - IT student
6 - Top management in small/medium size organization
7 - Plone Community member
8 - Solution/RFP reviewer
9 - Digital Marketing Manager
Altogether, this was an awesome (and productive) Plone sprint. Six Feet Up was excited to host fellow Plonistas at their office and their homes and show them around town. Major improvements to marketing and the Plone UI were achieved.