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Software

Plone 2.0: eWEEK Reviews, Raves About OS Software 189

securitas writes "eWEEK Labs' Jim Rapoza reviews open source Plone 2.0 Web publishing portal / content management software and raves about the Zope/Python-based system. He liked it so much it garnered an Analyst's Choice award, beating out a commercial portal suite, Traction's TeamPage 3.01, reviewed in the same issue. The Plone 2.0 release was mentioned a couple of weeks ago on Slashdot."
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Plone 2.0: eWEEK Reviews, Raves About OS Software

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  • by mindless4210 ( 768563 ) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:03AM (#8829056) Homepage Journal
    Once again, another example of why open source is the way to go. Think about how many websites out there wouldn't be the way they are without open source, and how many businesses rely on it.

    I have no firsthand experience with Plone but would be curious to hear more about it.
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:09AM (#8829078) Homepage Journal
    ... for eWeek seems to be "commercial support", doesn't matter cost, functionality, adaptability, extensibility and other obviously wrong ways to compare CMSs. It don't matter either if there are other ways of support that could eventually be far better than the standard commercial support they are used to, if it dont fit in they preconcepts, it is bad, period.
    • LDAP (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not sure what it is, what it's supposed to do or if it even exists, but it's very important. Props to Poone 2.0 for including LDAP support in the default install. It gets my vote.
      • I'm not sure what it is, what it's supposed to do or if it even exists, but it's very important.

        Which, Plone or LDAP?

        Dave
    • I thought is was a reviw about how good they were. Listening to you it's as if they had nothing but bad things to say... all I read was that having to search through several sources for an answer wasn't what most businesses would call 24/7 support. Just the facts as far as I can tell.

      What they didn't say is that for most 24/7 commercial support services you never get an answer or you get the answer "that feature didn't make it into the final release, you'll have to upgrade in two months if you want the fea
    • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @02:12AM (#8829245)
      I bet if they where willing to bust out a checkbook
      and hit the plone developer list they can get all of the support their little hearts desired. Not only that but they would likely be working with someone that actually wrote it instead of a helpdesk dork telling you to reinstall.
      • ... which is fine for a small number of deployments. Once you have thousands of deployments, and thousands of checkbooks all rushing off to the plone developer list, suddenly development grinds to a halt as they are too busy answering calls to write new code. There's a reason we have helpdesks - maybe you don't like dealing with them, but they are a fact of life.
        • by nhavar ( 115351 )
          Not necessarily true. Deployments may actually boost development as you find bugs and are presented with challenges by the client. These challenges may result in the creation of a new product, new documentation, or new configurations for deployment.
    • Even more poignantly illustrated by their most recent issue, which includes their annual "excellence awards [excellence...online.com]," which names:
      • Microsoft Windows as the number one platform for "e-business foundations,"
      • Microsoft Visual Studio as number one for "Application & Web Services Development,"
      • Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 as number one for "Personal Productivity."

      Need I say more?

      • Re:Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CountBrass ( 590228 )
        pVisual Studio is and always has been a superb development environment. So where's the problem with that award? Just because it's MS doesn't automatically make it unworthy of awards.
    • by fahrvergnugen ( 228539 ) <fahrvNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @04:38AM (#8829507) Homepage
      I work as a support rep for a company that charges our customers tens of thousands of dollars a year for support on a large-scale web-based application. A lot of what I do is phone-based, but let me tell you: Our customers don't have to wait on hold, they don't have to post in a newsgroup or hit an FAQ, and they don't have to hit some irc channel where the developers will sneer at them for not reading a serpentine and outdated man page before they can get any help. And they sure as hell aren't advised to scrub and re-install.

      They get zero bullshit, instant-response support, day or night, because that's what they pay for. I solve technical issues, sure, and I take great pride in my work. But I develop relationships with my problem clients, and work hard to make them happy. I communicate with them in a way that lets them know that it is a personal affront to me that their product is not performing exactly as they expect, and they know that they have an advocate within the company that fights through bureaucracy for their needs long after the sale has been made and their account manager has moved on to chasing the next dollar. Our development team works very closely with us and if we identify an issue as being a top customer support, it's fixed in the next release. If that's not soon enough, we'll get the engineering schedule re-arranged to produce a patch for our customer. Our shortest-time support rep has been with the company for four years, and at this stage, perhaps only the director of engineering has an equal understanding of the product. We cost a lot, but we're worth it.

      Now, my little rant in defense of commercial support aside: I agree, there's many positive things to be said for open-source software. But it's an investment, something that must be embraced. You can't just install a single open-source app in a mission critical environment and not be sure how it will be supported. There needs to be either a project-wide commitment to F/OSS software, with staffing brought on that can completely supports it, or you need to only use F/OSS tools that are so widespread that they are well understood, and free support is ubiquitous (Apache). It doesn't make sense to keep a highly trained cadre of admins on staff to take care of one application when a very specialized commercial support rep who has the director of engineering's cell phone # is a dial tone away. The difference between a few $80k sysadmins and a few $30k support contracts is substantial enough to catch the eye of more than one CTO, especially once you take employee turnover into account. Why not make that someone else's problem?

      Again, this all changes depending on the situation. Obviously, if that previously mentioned hypothetical $80k admin can replace five commercial applications that would cost $30k apiece in support contracts, he's a bargain. And we all of us know of many shops that manage to do this successfully. We also all of us (at least those who've spent a few years in IT) know of many shops that do not.

      So, I guess where I'm going with this probably ill-advised 2:30am rant is this: Commercial support can be an extremely important thing at times like these (2:30am), and it's not something you should discount so quickly. A lot of us are very good at what we do.
      • by dracvl ( 541254 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @09:15AM (#8830091) Homepage
        So, I guess where I'm going with this probably ill-advised 2:30am rant is this: Commercial support can be an extremely important thing at times like these (2:30am), and it's not something you should discount so quickly. A lot of us are very good at what we do.

        And what makes you think this conflicts with open source in any way? I make a living off Plone support (and training/development), and see no difference from a "commercial" product. Except that we can do anything given enough time, since the software is open and in a very transparent language (Python).

        If you want to call us in the middle of the night, you can - but it will of course cost you. Just like with commercial software. Don't think that commercial software is the only software with good support, because it's not.

        • That's awesome! I love hearing about stuff like this, and I didn't in any way mean to sound like the services you provide is somehow inferior to the services I or others like me provide.

          However, you also have to admit that you're the exception, not the rule.
        • I make a living off Plone support (and training/development), and see no difference from a "commercial" product.

          Perhaps I've missed a point somewhere, but isn't this exactly what fahrvergnugen just claimed? You both seem to be in agreement that paid support for a product is a good thing, so I don't see the problem.

          The grandparent comment was claiming that commercial support wasn't as important since standard open source developer support (unpaid for) might be just as good in different ways.

      • They get zero bullshit, instant-response support, day or night, because that's what they pay for. I solve technical issues, sure, and I take great pride in my work. But I develop relationships with my problem clients, and work hard to make them happy. I communicate with them in a way that lets them know that it is a personal affront to me that their product is not performing exactly as they expect, and they know that they have an advocate within the company that fights through bureaucracy for their needs lo

    • by zogger ( 617870 )
      I read the article, the reviewer liked what he saw, just was wishing he could have found a 24/7 place for customized support..

      well, well???? Isn't this supposed to be one of the two ways to make some clams with open source software, ie, this is a job going begging now?
      make money with open source by:

      A-using it directly to help make and sell and service your widgets

      B- offering custom service for the application software

      No current direct 24/7 support = someone reading the article who might be under or
  • raves? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:12AM (#8829084) Homepage
    ...and raves about the Zope/Python-based system

    Is software really such a topic that someone (besides a marketing guy) would rave about it in an objective review? I mean, I've had some good software packages that were easy to use (relatively) and did the job well (compared to alternatives), but they weren't revolutionary and didn't make me run through the streets naked, Archimedes-style.

    Any person who comes to me foaming at the mouth, "raving" about any type of software is going to have me taking a rather large grain of salty goodness.

    except linux. Because this is /.

    • Re:raves? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bruthasj ( 175228 ) <bruthasj&yahoo,com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @03:11AM (#8829355) Homepage Journal
      It's an expression. People of /.: please lighten up. Quit letting rage and hate boil in your hearts. Get out. Take a walk; breathe the fresh air and hear the birds sing. Free your minds from the cares of the word, the patents, the spam, microsoft, governments, corporations. Look in your inner self for answers and release yourselves from self-deposed anguish.

      take care.

    • "but they weren't revolutionary and didn't make me run through the streets naked, Archimedes-style."

      It's one of those epiphany moments when you start using it and developing for it. After Apache, Perl, PHP, ASP and all the other point tools. The thought is "Fuck me, *this* is how it *should* be done".

      Zope on it's own rocks. Plone on top is the icing. It's all free anyway, runs on every platform including Windows so you might as well try it for yourself.

  • More opensource CMSs (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:16AM (#8829095) Homepage Journal
    Plone is not the only one open source CMS around. Tikiwiki [tikiwiki.org], Typo3 [typo3.com],Drupal [drupal.org] and a lot more [opensourcecms.com] are open source, some even with commercial support (i.e. Typo3, comparing with it could be a bit more fair) if eWeek want that "feature" over every other possible functionality they could have.
    • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:25AM (#8829123)
      Plone is not the only one open source CMS around. Tikiwiki, Typo3, Drupal and a lot more are open source.

      It's good to see that Plone and it's kin remain solidly anchored in the tradition of giving cutesy, meaningless, names to commercially viable open source software.

    • Also try Jotweb [tummy.com].
    • Note that Typo3's WYSIWYG editor only works with IE. I don't think any of the others have WYSIWYG browser-based editing.
      • by lux55 ( 532736 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @04:32AM (#8829500) Homepage Journal

        Ours does, and it's cross-platform too (based on Mozilla's Midas extension, available since Moz 1.3). You can check it out here:

        http://www.sitellite.org/ [sitellite.org]

        In fact, we're not the only cross-browser WYSIWYG editor in town either (ours is already built into the CMS however). Another I know of is here:

        http://dynarch.com/mishoo/htmlarea.epl [dynarch.com]

        I'm sure there are others as well...

        The big benefit we've had so far with it is that a lot of our users come through web design shops, and design shops have traditionally been Mac shops. With Mozilla support, we can offer something our customers can use even on Macs.

        Cheers,

        Lux

        • WebGUI [plainblack.com] has cross-platform WYSIWYG and is cool enough to allow you to "plug-in" multiple WYSIWYG editors. Users can select which WYSIWYG editor they want to use by default in their profiles.

          It's 2004, people. Cross-platform WYSIWYG editing should be the standard, not exception. If your CMS isn't flexible enough to handle multiple editing plugins you should examine your architecture (not that I'm accusing Sitellite of anything. I know nothing of your CMS. )

          Check out WebGUI [plainblack.com]. You can learn quite a bit from

          • If your CMS isn't flexible enough to handle multiple editing plugins you should examine your architecture (not that I'm accusing Sitellite of anything. I know nothing of your CMS. )

            I agree. Our WYSIWYG editor is actually just an add-on like any other, that's simply distributed with the software itself and pre-configured. We used to use Richtext (richtext.sf.net I think?), but it wasn't very actively developed, and when Moz's Midas features first came out, there weren't any open source editors to plug

      • I don't think any of the others have WYSIWYG, browser-based editing.

        False. OpenCMS [opencms.org] has such an editor, provided that you use MS IE. OpenCMS is released under the LGPL. Furthermore, I understand that WYSIWYG editing (for OpenCMS) is available in Mozilla, too, provided that you buy a proprietary, third-party software.

    • I use a wiki clone, tried Drupal with a on-line-magazine-like env., used PHPNuke in the office in the past and I have to say I pretty liked Plone 2.0 as well. I gave it a spin last week and it has more functionality than I needed but I was impressed with the quality of the software. Drupal was quite good but if I were involved with the same project now, I would push Plone forward, it is much more flexible in content mgt roles which would have fitted the project. If all OSS are as good as this one... And if
    • Thanks for those links. I knew about tikiwiki, and looked at zope before. I thought zope was nice in theory but would take too much time to get started with and comes with too little or too complicated features, and this plone thing didn't seem to help much either. Tikiwiki however seems like a very easily deployed thing with all the right features.

      So the plone page begins with whining about patents, and the feature list boasts about a 'click and run installer' (so what), that it is 'standard', 'open sourc
  • by pauldy ( 100083 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:22AM (#8829109) Homepage
    A raving techie is the kind you see at a late night warehouse partying to music that would otherwise make his head hurt if he wasn't so up on the x trip. I love to see such thinly veiled articles as this that are made to be oh so much more than they really are. Come on I haven't seen a tech rave about software since Virtual Valerie and that's only because it was the first time he had made a woman moan without it being more of a groan of disgust.
  • RHEL 3 support? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by weave ( 48069 ) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:24AM (#8829118) Journal
    It looks like, from their supported release page, that for Redhat OSes, it's Redhat 9 or Fedora Core 1. That's a bit strange (to me) for RHEL to not be listed or have an RPM since businesses are being pushed onto RHEL.

    RHEL 3 packages Python 2.2.3. Is that high enough for it?

    • Re:RHEL 3 support? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by codepunk ( 167897 )
      I built it for RHEL 2.1 and RHEL 3.0 and fedora. Dont mess around with the rpm it pretty much sucks. The best way I found is to build a custom python running in a user directory and put zope and plone on top of that. It keeps you environment clean and
      moving it later is a simple directory copy.
      • It keeps you environment clean and moving it later is a simple directory copy.

        Thanks. Great advice. I love nice and clean. When we upgraded our redhat servers from 7.3 to RHEL 3 it was a helluva lot of work due to all the customizations and stuff added to 7.3 over the years. RHEL docs said to do a clean install, no real upgrade option.

        I'm going to give this a try. I've been wanting to give my users some sort of content management system to head off any interest in sharepoint or something like that. We

    • Here is a byte article that has a nice discussion on some of the differences between 2.2.x and 2.3.x:
      http://www.byte.com/documents/s=8880/byt10 62182129 207/0901_laird.html
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:40AM (#8829176)
    Plone two is by far the best portal / cms system I have ever tried. It spanks the pants off of every single commercial system as well and I have tried some expensive ones. It is the flexibility and power of python that makes it so great.
  • Great code (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fsterman ( 519061 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:57AM (#8829211) Homepage
    Their outputted html is amazing, the CSS is elegant but very very powerful, they leverage as much of their Zope underpinnings as possible, it is quite extendable, has a nice management environment, international support is getting very good, and it's interface is great (they actually have interface engineers on the team), it is a very good CMS. It is easy to jump into too, there is a good amount of, if scattered, documentation. Being able to bridge between news sites and group-ware is pretty encompassing. It might not be the absolute best solution for every situation, but it is getting there with its plug in architecture.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:59AM (#8829212)
    I'm sure that this is a really great piece of software and I've been meaning to check out Zope for a long time. But I just can't get over this name. It just sounds too much like it ought to be signed to Warp Records or something.

    I just can't take it seriously... I look at a headline like "Plone 2.0: eWeek Reviews" and I go "oh, so Aphex Twin's released a new album then?"
  • by AnuradhaRatnaweera ( 757812 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @02:07AM (#8829235) Homepage
    For feature by feature comparisions between a large number of CMS applications, check www.cmsmatrix.org [cmsmatrix.org].
  • Advantages of Plone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IWK ( 20254 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @02:14AM (#8829254)
    We've been using Plone for a while now and for me it has a few distinct advantages:

    * Plone works *out-of-the-box* and is easy to extend and configure.

    * Plone provides excellent workflow support. A Workflow is the editorial chain used to manage documents. Creating new workflows is easy.

    * Plone is easily extended with external components ("Products" in Zope/Plone parlance). I run Plone with Zwiki (a wiki extention) and CMFBoard (forums), making for a very rich intranet site with loads of possibilities. Check out the The Collective [sourceforge.net] or the Zope website [zope.org]

    * Plone comes with Archetypes [plone.org], which is a framework which allows for the relatively easy creation of new content types (in Python)

    * It runs on Zope which is a very powerfull Application Server and Content Management System. Zope has got a rather steep learning curve, but its documentation has been improved and it has got a very supportive and vibrant user community.
    • Plone:
      • Comes with everything you need.
        • HTTP server
        • FTP server
        • WebDAV access
        • SMTP connectivity
        • User and Group level security
        • Content cataloging and search functionality (ala Index Server)
      • Cross platform (Mac, Linux, Solaris, Windows, etc)
      • New functionality can be added via plugin products (i.e. message boards, wiki's, additional database types, java/jsp support, php support, etc.)
      • Workflows provide an easy mechanism for defining who creates content and how content gets published. These can be easily cha
  • by latroM ( 652152 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @02:31AM (#8829292) Homepage Journal
    ... beating out a commercial portal suite, Traction's TeamPage 3.01, reviewed in the same issue.

    How long it takes for people to realize that you can make money with open source so it can be commercial. Commercial software isn't the opposite of open source. Non-free or closed is.
  • by Supp0rtLinux ( 594509 ) <Supp0rtLinux@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @03:18AM (#8829368)
    Great product, but if you follow the links to the plone website, then watch the demo for the HIGOV.net implementation, part of it (near the end) shows integration with monitoring software... and it reveals the private IP addresses inside their LAN and that they run telnet. Considering that I just finished Kevin Mitnick's book on social engineering (the Art of Deception), this wasn't the best choice of content to put into a demo. Running telnet on a firewalled, private LAN is one thing. But telling the world your private IPs that are being used for telnet services mean one only needs a username and password now...
    • "Considering that I just finished Kevin Mitnick's book on social engineering (the Art of Deception), this wasn't the best choice of content to put into a demo"

      Oh wow, you read a book. You're totally 1337 d00d. How in the hell did this get modded up?
  • by lux55 ( 532736 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @03:23AM (#8829380) Homepage Journal

    ...to plug another newly-open-sourced CMS I'm the lead developer for:

    Sitellite CMS [sitellite.org]

    Written in PHP, unusually flexible, very strong add-on framework, free add-ons, including a search add-on based on Apache Lucene (no PHP Java extension required though), and HIGHLY usable by non-techies. Cross-browser WYSIWYG editing is built-in, and it's designed for non-techies to use, but real techies to code in. Like any proper template system, standards compliance is up to you however (although our XML-based templates require XHTML or XML output, so we do encourage at least ;)).

    There's also a commercial version, and commercial support available (this was the qualm that the reviewer had about Plone) at simian.ca [simian.ca]. We also sell commercial add-ons (gotta eat too, right? ;)).

    Anyway, </plug> -- just trying to scare up some more interest, never hurts to try. :)

    • There's also a commercial version, and commercial support available (this was the qualm that the reviewer had about Plone) at simian.ca. We also sell commercial add-ons (gotta eat too, right? ;)).

      Yes, but does it have a large, active open source developer community? The community site seems kind of dead. Where is the CVS site? Are OSS contributors required to license their changes for the corporate version?

      Without an active OSS developer community, it matters fairly little what license it comes with.
      • by lux55 ( 532736 )

        Yes, but does it have a large, active open source developer community? The community site seems kind of dead.

        The community is building rapidly. We're nearly 200 registered users strong now, and the site has only been going since the beginning of February. We're up to 600 unique visitors a day too. We're doing what little promotion we can, but we're a 2-person company/project, so time to get the open source word out there is pretty limited.

        However, with those stats, I wouldn't call the developer site

        • We don't try to hide this, but even the Free Software Foundation require that you assign/grant unlimited copyright to them on contributions. So I don't think it's unfair for us to ask the same thing.

          Why do you drag philosophy into this? Why are you getting defensive? I just wanted to know what your policies are because that tells me how likely you are to succeed.

          Also, a commercial version is a good thing for the community as well.

          You say that as if it's an established fact. But many of the most succ
          • I generally have my reservations about dual-licensed projects, because I don't want to get sucked into a program that turns out to be low in features and hard to work with unles I buy the 'commercial version' of it for hundreds of dollars, which may disappoint too. I'd rather go with something that has all the goods and momentum in the libre version and that has good commercial support available that I will need only when I know what I have built up work very well and is a big success, and I'm ready to move
            • Hi,

              To allay your reservations about our dual-licensed project at least, the two versions are functionally and visually identical. In fact, the commercial version is offered simply because a GPL version has some restrictions that are incompatible with some commercial users' intentions (making their changes closed-source). This presents an opportunity for us to offer the same thing to open source folks and to closed source folks alike, while making at least some money offering the same software to the latt
              • I'd like to start saying that my reservations were not specific to your product, but generic (and possibly unwarranted), for any product that has libre (or (but worse) freeware/shareware) and commercial versions. But given the number of libre CMS-type systems available, I find that I can afford to be sceptical and choosy for the 'quick fix' sort of thing that I am looking for.

                "the two versions are functionally and visually identical."

                That is very nice indeed. It could be me (as in: me not spending enough
          • We don't try to hide this, but even the Free Software Foundation require that you assign/grant unlimited copyright to them on contributions. So I don't think it's unfair for us to ask the same thing.

            Why do you drag philosophy into this? Why are you getting defensive? I just wanted to know what your policies are because that tells me how likely you are to succeed.

            Um, I don't believe I was being defensive, at least not intentionally so. Sorry if it came across that way.

            And I wasn't trying to drag p

  • is shit. the lsbom it installs has a non-standard "200pieces" markup at the beginning of every line in the BOM, messing up any scripts you may already have to remove things. I ended up using OSXPM (google for it) to clean things up.

    Remember to remove the folder in /Applications the new Plone user it creates and the Plone folder in /Library/StartupItems as well.

    *whew!*. that was ass. Not going to mess with it again.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:22AM (#8829568)
    I consider them way ahead of time.
    And I'm glad to see Zope and one of it's major products, Plone, getting this recognition. I consider Zope vastly superior to any other available Application Server. It's suitable for rapid and large scale developement likewise. If you want to know how the future of databases and high level programming of custom apps will look like, check out Zope.
  • by HammerToe ( 111872 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:32AM (#8829580) Homepage

    I recently came back from the Plone Sprint in Austria. For those not familiar with sprints, this is where you get a bunch of developers in one place for a week to concentrate on development.

    Virtually all of the people there (there were ~50 attendees) ran their own small businesses (myself included, Netsight [netsight.co.uk]) that used Plone -- mostly providing installation, customization, and support. Most of these companies *depended* in Plone for their livelihood.

    What struck me the most was how business focused all of the developers were. This is something that really sets Plone apart from some of the other OSS projects out there. All of these people are making real dollars on developing this software, and hence *need* to have a business focus otherwise their businesses would fail. As technically great as many OSS projects are, many of them don't have the business drive to succeed.

    The second thing that really struck me was a demonstration by a blind woman from the local Institute for the Blind. Plone is known for being very hot on accessibility, but this was just amazing. The woman had half a day training, and was then able to enter content, add metadata and take it through a workflow -- all using a braille reader and text-to-speech software. And what is even more amazing, is that she doesn't speak any English, she was relying on the internationalization features of Plone to deliver a German version of the UI -- including all the alt tags and hidden things that screen-readers rely upon.

    --
    Matt Hamilton (aka HammerToe)
    Netsight Internet Solutions [netsight.co.uk]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm posting anonymously, for the obvious reasons.

    We're just about to ship a in-house web application to 50,000 users. We did a significant amount of the work using Python 2.3.3, Zope 2.7 and Plone 2.

    These tools made it possible for us to get some visually nice things out quickly, but they are a maintenance nightmare. To be able to leverage Plone 2, we had to update to a more recent version of Archetypes. We have to use 11 different components, of which there is no real support for 3. The people who have d
    • by dracvl ( 541254 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:47PM (#8833735) Homepage
      Where should I start?
      • If you're going to deploy a system for 50 000 users, make damn sure you have a support contract.
      • The Plone/Zope/Python software stack is a big piece of software, it's not like your average "CMS" which is little more than a blog system with bits bolted on to it. It takes some time to master, just like any Content Management Framework. Workflows, schemas, scripts - there's a lot to learn.
      • From your description, you haven't understood how Archetypes work. Arranging everything in skins is not the way to extend Archetypes.
      • You have to have done something seriously wrong to get 1.2 seconds/page. Did you read the optimization documents at all? Plone is deliberately created for fronting with a cache, like Squid or at the very least Apache mod_proxy with cache.
      • For bigger deployments, you use the ZEO clustering and a load balancer in front. Zope scales more transparently than any Java system I've encountered.
      • Zope Page Templates are different, and require some getting used to - but once you do, nothing comes close in programmer productivity. It's a very clean separation of content, code and logic, and is very maintainable over time. Of course you can write spaghetti code in it too, like any language.
      • Blindly trusting third-party add-on modules is not a good idea - if you don't know how to evaluate them, pony up the cash for a 1-day analysis from a Plone solution provider, and you wouldn't have these problems. It's open source, you can't expect any piece of downloadable code off the net to be high quality.
      • As others have pointed out, the Plone UI is one of the most extensible web interfaces out there - and I can't see how you've managed to not extend it in a clean way, it follows best-practices from everything involving HTML and CSS technologies. It's a minimal mark-up UI that is eminently extensible. Seeing as I am one of the people that created it, I am of course biased - but the first thing people compliment when they come to Plone is normally how clean the UI structure and how modular the CSS/XHTML is.

      Summarized, you won't get away without either spending some time learning how to work with the system or paying for some training or consultancy. Just like with any other complex system.

  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @09:17AM (#8830098) Homepage
    I am negotiating right now with one of my customers to get a long-term grant to build a GPLed Knowledge Management (as apposed to just content managment) layer on top of the Python/Zope/Plone stack.

    I usually use Java (or Common Lisp) for development, but Plone offers so much infrastructure out of the box, that the decision to use it seems right. (Although I have been experimenting a lot with OpenCMS, which also looks very good).

    -Mark
  • Which of these set-ups have good support for e-commerce? Particularly open-source e-commerce platforms, if anyone can suggest any that are stable and robust.
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @12:45PM (#8831270) Homepage Journal
    The state of Open Source CMS's has been driving me nuts for quite some time.

    Specifically, nearly all are written in PHP. I have nothing against PHP in general -- it is a fine language for some things.

    But it is not inherently persistant -- code has to be parsed and any objects recreated for every HTTP request. I've been watching projects like Xaraya and Drupal, but they are alower than they should be. Last time I tried Xaraya, it was positively glacial. Drupal is somewhat better.

    A few of us had a similar problem a while ago when trying to develop a Linux knowledge-base type application. A complex OOP solution in PHP absolutely killed performance. It didn't work.

    I've tried the Zend Optimizer with Xaraya but wasn't too impressed.

    I think that CMS's should be self-contained application servers. Any objects created should be persistant, not needing to be re-created for every HTTP request.

    I have a wild idea floating around in my head about a C++ CMS. I don't promise anything, especially since I'm not super-strong in C++. But I'm in the "tinkering" phase and maybe something interesting will come out of it. I guarantee it would be the fastest CMS on the face of the earth. :) Oh yeah, and it would be optimized for PostgreSQL. My other major CMS annoyance is that MySQL is always the preferred DB. If anyone wants to talk about this idea, feel free to email me: micah AT yoderdev DOT com

    Python/Plone/Zope could be an OK platform, but I'm still a bit concerned about performance. It seems as though applications that should reasonably written in scripting languages, like little desktop utilities, are written in C/C++, and things that run on performance critical servers are written in scripting languages, when they should be written in C/C++.
    • There is more to application servers than just raw performance. Hardware nowadays is much cheaper than development time. This is not to say that programmers should be lazy just because they have faster servers. I am just saying that things like dynamic memory allocation and rapid development offer many benefits in term of minimising errors and reducing code maintainence time than raw performance.

      Incidentally though, certain parts of Zope, e.g. the security code which is exectuted many times on every re
      • by Micah ( 278 )
        That's good to know. Maybe I should give it a try.

        By "cache managers" do you mean content caching? That was one of my ideas. The application server would cache, for example in a Slashdot style application, the entire tree of comments for recently viewed stories. That would make browsing the comments do-able without a single DB hit! Does Zope do something like that?

        And how is it memory-wise? Could it easily fit in an inexpensive virtual server that gives you 256MB RAM (or less)?

        I used to commerciall
        • Yes, I mean content caching. Zope comes with two cache managers as stanndard (there is an API if you want to writee your own). One is RAMCacheManager, which caches the results of method calls (including page template rendering) to RAM. The other HTTPAcceleratedCacheManager sets HTTP cache headers so an upstream cache (e.g. Apache mod_proxy or Squid) can deal with it.

          The caches are very flexible and the RAMCache allows you to cache 'bits' of a page. E.g. we often dynamically build navigation for a site,
        • memcached is a really cool cache system that I believe slashdot.org also uses now for caching comments. It's super easy to integrate into an app in various languages (Perl, PHP, Python, Java, etc.) and the protocol is published as well, so it can be made compatible with any language/application. 3 lines of code, and the performance of your site skyrockets. Check it out at:

          http://www.danga.com/memcached/

          Note: I have no affiliation with memcached, danga, or livejournal -- I just think it's a really sweet
    • Shameless AMD plug, but Zope's performance on AMD64 is very good. As long as you pick an architecture that has decent integer performance, you are likely to find that VMs (Python, Java, .NET CLR, etc) will usually run decently fast for most apps. The same isn't a much true with SPARC or ppc (not to knock those platforms).
  • There is a pretty solid article over at C|net's builder.com [com.com] that was written last August.

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