The Month in Plone: July 2009

There’s a whole lot happening with Plone and the community this month, so here’s the summary of what happened in July 2009 to help you keep on top of it all.

In this month’s issue:

  • Plone Foundation Announces Support Channel Superstar Contest
  • Plone Conference 2009 Opens Call for Session Proposals
  • Plone At Open Source World - August 12-13
  • Features Accepted For Plone 4 Announced
  • Plone 3 Theming Book Simplifies Making Plone Your Own
  • Get a Special Deal on "Professional Plone Development"
  • Check Out This New Plone-powered Website

Plone Foundation Announces Support Channel Superstar Contest

Be the most helpful in our #plone support channel in August 2009, and you can win free admission to Plone Conference 2009 in Budapest and a $1,000 travel stipend.

The Plone Foundation, in recognition of our excellent IRC-based support channel, is pleased to announce the first Support Channel Superstar Contest. Individuals can nominate themselves or other people for recognition of their outstanding value to our user-support culture in #plone.

"The purpose of this contest is to recognize how special #plone is for our users, and to celebrate all the Plone community members who answer questions there.  It provides 24-hour-a-day, every-day-of-the-year direct support from our most knowledgeable and helpful users," says Jon Stahl, Chair of the Plone Foundation. “This kind of support really demonstrates the strength of the open source model."

"The #plone support channel is at the heart of what Plone is — friendly, approachable and always there to help you out”, adds Alexander Limi, co-founder of the project. “It has been an important part of our story since day one."

The winner will receive conference admission for Plone Conference 2009 in Budapest plus a $1,000 travel stipend. The second-place winner wins free admission to any future Plone Bootcamps course. Runners-up will receive Plone gifts such as t-shirts, bumper stickers and other fun items.

The contest was conceived and sponsored by Joel Burton, a Plone consultant and trainer who delivers Plone Bootcamps for new-to-Plone and experienced users. "From watching students in courses learn about our always-available online support, I know how important it is." says Joel. "With this contest, we want to recognize the culture we have —and inspire future support channel superstars, too!"

The contest runs until August 25, 2009. For information on the rules and the nomination form, please see the 2009 Help Channel Superstar Contest.

Plone Conference 2009: Call for Session Proposals Opens

Get ready to submit session proposals for Plone Conference 2009 in Budapest! Submissions are open now, and will close September 6th.  Past conferences have always had more great proposals than speaking slots, so start preparing yours today!

Submit your talk proposal at:

 The Plone Conference 2009 Program Committee will use the following criteria to select sessions for the conference:

  • Broad relevance to Plone community (end-users, integrators & developers).
  • Demonstrations of production-ready products that solve common problems of Plone customers.
  • Case studies that showcase strategies for success with Plone that can be reproduced by  project managers and integrators.
  • Sessions that will teach Plone administrators & integrators at beginner or intermediate level the core skills necessary to succeed with Plone.
  •  Sessions that will help people make the leap to being effective contributors to the Plone community.
  • Sessions that position Plone against competing systems and showcase Plone's strengths.
  • Sessions that will spark people's passion for Plone by making them feel empowered and successful.
  • Sessions that describe Plone community processes.
  • The speaker's track record of delivering well-received sessions at past Plone events.
  • Geographic, sector and gender diversity of presenters.

Plone at Open Source World, San Francisco - August 12-13

Watch for Plone at Open Source World in San Francisco on August 12 and 13.  Interested in attending?  Click the link below to tweet about Plone's appearance at Open Source World, and if you're one of the first 10 people to do so you could score a free ticket to the event. (Retweets don't count, since it's hard to separate the people who are interested in the tickets from the ones that are just republishing)

Features Accepted for Plone 4 Announced

The Plone Foundation is happy to announce that following the framework team has selected 40 proposals for improving Plone in the upcoming Plone 4, the largest number accepted for a release in Plone's history.

While Plone 4 was initially planned to make already implemented features of Plone 5 available significantly sooner, the improvement proposals accepted also include brand new features and improvements.

The different users of Plone were considered carefully when deciding on proposals to ensure the best experience for users, integrators and add-on product developers alike.

Plone 4 will ship with a new default theme, based on that of, and will use the TinyMCE editor instead of Kupu.  The user interface of collections and search will be improved, as will management of portlets.

Integrators will benefit from new control panels designed to make upgrading to Plone 5 easier, the ability to control dashboards for whole groups of users, and the ability to customize the roles and member data of a site without modifying templates.

Plone 4 will also include many important "behind the scenes" improvements.  Plone 4 will use Python 2.6, providing improved performance and memory usage as well as more flexibility for developers.  The markup for logged in users will be improved to fix validation errors and many bugfixes provided, making third party product code cleaner and more understandable.

Plone 4 is slated for release at the end of 2009, with preview versions expected to be available around the time of Plone Conference 2009 in October.

"Plone 4 is an exciting release that not only focuses on polish and infrastructure, but also on giving Plone an updated look," says Plone co-founder Alex Limi.  "Another impressive aspect of the release is the sheer number of proposed improvements, and how many developers that have chosen to get involved in this release. It speaks volumes about Plone's continued growth and professionalism — the level of commitment from the many Plone consulting companies and independent developers impresses me every day."

Plone 3 Theming Book Simplifies Making Plone Your Own

Veda Williams,  co-editor of the theming documentation section of  and web developer at Seattle's ONE/Northwest, just published Plone 3 Theming, the first in-depth guide to customizing the popular content management system.

Plone 3 Theming introduces users to the best practices in Plone theme development and covers topics such as configuring the development environment, creating a basic theme, use of add-on tools, skinning tricks, and much more. The book also introduces the concepts needed for customizing templates in Plone and provides handy tips along the way that will simplify the theming process. Finally, the book takes an informative look at the thrilling and greatly simplified future of theming Plone sites arriving with Plone 4.

We asked Veda to tell us more about her book and the publishing process:

Whatever possessed you to write a book about Plone theming?

I think Martin Aspeli may have mentioned my name to Packt Publishing as a person who might be willing and able to write a book on theming. I had already collaborated with David Convent on the Practical Plone 3 theming chapter and that writing experience went very smoothly. Although I didn’t really want to write an entire book, I knew it had to happen if the Plone community wanted to attract more themers, and I knew I could do the job.

Were there any folks in particular in the Plone community to helped you out in this endeavour?

Absolutely! I especially want to thank Steve McMahon and Denys Mishunov for their assistance as my editors and for their patience with my endless questions. My colleagues, Jon Baldivieso, Andrew Burkhalter, David Glick and Jon Stahl were also invaluable and helped me to puzzle through some of the more complex concepts. I absolutely could not have done it without them.

What has been your biggest challenge in documenting Plone for the Documentation section? 

Documenting theming on is tough because it’s a broad topic, but co-editing with Anne Bowtell has made it much easier to keep making progress. It’s also made me appreciate the joys of a content management system — if there is an error, you can fix it in real time. If there’s an error in a book, you can’t always count on your readers looking at the errata to see if a correction has been noted.

One last thing to share with potential Plone themers?  Veda says "Theming involves a large learning curve, but with enough information, beautiful sites can be created. If this book helps even one person to do that, I’ll feel like it was time well spent."

This book comes hot on the heels of Practical Plone 3, a recent collaboration by nearly the entire web team from ONE/Northwest and many other prominent members of the Plone community. Williams wrote that book's chapter on customizing Plone and co-wrote the theming chapter with David Convent.

Plone 3 Theming can be downloaded as an ebook or purchased as a printed volume from the Packt website. Errata can be found and reported here.

While we're on the topic of books about Plone…

Get a Special Deal on "Professional Plone Development" — For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook version of Professional Plone Development by Martin Aspeli for less than $10 by visiting this link on the publisher's website to get this special price. 

Check out This New Plone-powered Website!

YES! Magazine, based in Bainbridge Island, Washington, is an award-winning, ad-free, nonprofit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world.  They've recently launched a major website upgrade, powered by Plone. YES! now has a polished, professional web presence that showcases 14 years worth of world-class journalism, blogging and community interactivity.  Notable site features include a sophisticated multiple-axis taxonomy system for linking together articles across issues and years, multilingual content, audio and video, blogging, and Plone's legendary searchability and search engine optimization. YES! staff built their new website in collaboration with Web Collective ( and ONE/Northwest (

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