Evolving Bits

Sat Oct 18 2008

Agility was one of the themes of Plone Conference 2008

A recurring conference theme for me centered around agility. Plone has benefited by moving from Zope2 to the more flexible Zope3 Component Architecture. Zope technologies are being made available as middleware for use on other platforms (via Repoze and WSGI). Grok is a Zope3 framework for projects needing something more lightweight. There were several very useful sessions on Agile Project Management.

There are also continuous improvements making Plone more agile for end-users. Plone 4.0 aims to make it even easier for end-users to manage their content (including better media support, unified widgets for easier page compositioning, "page centric", kupu improvements around layout), as well as more through-the-web features done right!

Tuesday Arrival

On my Tuesday Amtrak ride to DC, I connected with some conference folks on Twitter, found my hotel and ended up at the Science Club for a few drinks and mini-reunions. Hotel Harrington wasn't fancy, but clean, had wifi and was only two blocks from the conference and metro, so I was happy.


"10% Manifesto" was my first session. In Seattle, we've been holding a weekly Open Source Friday, which has a lot of parallels to discussions in this session. We're all practicing ways of putting that extra effort in to give back to the Plone community in which we all flourish, and also socialize and learn in the process.

I then caught up on the latest happenings with Ecommerce in Plone with the GetPaid project. This is now being used for a variety of use cases, and its component architecture seems to make it relatively straight-forward to create modules for your own needs.

"When Software is a Service, Will Only Network Luddites Be Free" brings up an interesting question: What does a free [as in freedom and open] computing cloud look like? http://autonomo.us


I started the day as a member of the "So you want to be a Plone consultant?" panel. It's a big discussion for a short amount of time, but we had a nice variety of panelists and good questions. Geir Baekholt's discussion of Open Scope contracts peaked my curiosity.

One of the questions asked "How do project come into Web Collective?" Clients often find us through our existing work with many progressive businesses and non-profits, our contributions of software and presentations in the open source community and Seattle Plone user group, and an interest in working with a company that practices a cooperative business model where all the members are owners of the company.

I was pleasantly surprised by a several tracks on Agile Project Management ("What makes a great development team" by Mike Robinson, and "High performance teams: What's the secret sauce?" by Gerry Kirk on Friday). Communication and project management often determine the success or failure of a software project, and tips and tricks in this area are always welcome.

Another interesting session was "Using Grok to walk like a duck" which covered several component architectures (from the limits of subclassing all the way through to the beauty of Adapters) and how Grok (and Zope3) support a dynamic version of Adaption.

After hearing about Deliverance 6 months earlier, "Using Deliverance to theme a website" was a nice way to catch up with the latest happenings here. If you want to apply themes to multiple sites, this seems the way to go.


Experiencing some of the complexities and limitations of formlib, I wanted to check out Stephan Richter's "z3c.form" session. z3c.form seems more refined, and can be used in in viewlets and portlets.

After talking with Jim Fulton at the Plone Summit at Google several months ago, I've been anxious to play with ExtJS, but haven't had an opportunity. Godefroid Chapelle showed us a rich browser solution using ExtJS and KSS.

"Repoze.bfg: A zope explosion" - Several months ago, we had the pleasure of bringing Chris McDonough to Seattle to talk about Repoze. It was pretty new back then, and WSGI wasn't something I had played with. Since then, and after working with some other platforms such as Django, I was excited to catch up with the latest on this project. The primary concept is to make Zope technologies available as middleware which could mix'n'match with other Python technologies via WSGI pipeline. In addition to the nice lightweight infrastructure, I think this highlights a longer term vision of being able to share best-of-breed Python technologies across various Python frameworks.

Saturday and Sunday Plone Sprints

Record turnout of people at the Plone sprints!

I was happy to collaborate for a couple of days with Aaron VanDerlip on Plone4Artists Calendar. I had used this on a recent project, and wanted to help make improvements to what's becoming a defacto solution for Plone calendaring, including an implementation of recurring events. I'm relatively new to the project and have been impressed with the product's architecture and its recent 2.0 alpha release. I enjoyed lending a hand to help fix bugs and refining some functionality.

I also though the concept of a "Beginner Sprint" was ingenious and helpful for including new people in the community and getting them up and running with everything they need. Nice work Jon Stahl and Joel Burton (and other Plonistas that participated).

Monday, Heading Home

Then a perfect ending -- I lucked out on a direct flight to Seattle (pays to get to the airport early) and ended up sitting right next to my friend and fellow Plone collaborator Andrew Burkhalter.