plone conference 2010 day 2

Plone conf day 2

Some notes and thoughts from day of plone conference 2010. These are mostly in note form, but wanted to get these online anyway, while they are fresh in my mind.

fixing the ungoogleable by Elizabeth Leddy

What happens when something breaks, and a simple google search doesn’t offer any results?

First, warn people (so they don’t bother you while you fix it, and they don’t panic).

Work out how quickly can you access your backups? I think this is very important – personally for smaller sites i’m doing individual site backups as packages mainly to make it convenient to restore them in a local dev environment, but I know some people are relying on whole server backups on tape. This would be laborious to restore in an emergency.

Isolation by elimination -> network, hardware, software, data
map out your system!

Eliminate things by switching them off – write your code so that it can handle dependencies being switched off.

Set up a system so that you have an isolated instance (so you can look at logs of only your own activity, rather than mixed with everyone elses)

Create a dashboard (maintenance page)

Monitoring

Write Test case’s to diagnose faults

Start writing a “help” email, but don’t send it. This is apparently known as “rubber ducking”. I do this all the time, I often spot my mistake when I past in a traceback to an email message to send to someone!

“horizon of intervention” – At what point do you need external help?

Get to know people with specialisms and buy them a beer! Participate in the plone community (I really need to do more of that).

Create tickets and close them as you go

Document your processes.

The state of plone caching by Ricardo Newbery

cachefu – useful tool, but as far as “internet time” goes, this is a little long in the tooth now (started 2006). End of life – critical bugfixes only

plone.app.caching – will be in future plone releases, but available now

load testing with funkload (not accurate regarding CSS/ image discovery)

load testing with multi-mechanize

BrowserMob – not free

Building a custom app with plone with minimal development by Eric BREHAULT

This was extremely interesting – Eric is the project manage for Plomino – a plone add-on that provides application development toolkit for creating database applications within plone – i.e. the types of database applications that non-technical people might create on there own machines with Lotus Domino, Filemaker or Access. The data is still stored in the ZODB, but models and forms can views can be created through the web. Formulas are done in python.

I can see this being really useful – all too often I end up building custom applications based on complex access database or excel spreadsheets i’ve been provided, but if I can persuade clients to use Plomino, then not only will it help get that data in a format suiteble for building a web application, but data can be collaborated on across teams, rather then emailing around (and inevitably forking spreadsheets and databases). There were some nice examples of data visualisation – a great quote “almost useless, but very nice”” – you need these to impress your boss.

Themeing with XDV (Diazo) Laurence Rowe

I wrote some notes on this yesterday, connected to Nates Deliverance talk, so won’t go into this here, other than to quote Laurence: “we write XSLT, so you don’t have to”

collective.amberjack: chapter one. The interactive age. Massimo Azzolini

Amberjack is a Javascript library for creating a site tour/ tutorial. Collective amberjack wraps this up as an add-on for plone. Interactive tutrials can be created.

An example was given using the windmill testing framework (windmill in itself looks nice alternative to selenium).

The Art of Integrating Plone with Webservices with David Glick

Most of this was over my head, but one important note I made from this is about urlib (which I use in a django screen scraper app i’m developing) can have two possible error responses – URLError and HTTPError – two possible error responses.

external ecommerce and plone playing along with Sasha Vincic

There seems to be a bit of a theme going here – an acknowledgement that Plone works out best long term if you use it as a “black box” CMS, and don’t try to do everything with it. The upgrade path is easier if you don’t add on your own customisations – “clean plone”. The current plone ecommerce offerings are not as good as external systems, so it is better to integrate with an external system, which is also then kept clean to allow easier upgrades.

In the python world there are some Django Ecommerce stores LFS and Satchmo, but the store doesn’t have to be Python – other proven systems such as magento can also be integrated with Plone.

To integrate with plone you need to integrate search, linking, thumbnailing. Valentine achieved search compatibility by creating objects in plone via an RSS import – see valentine.rssobjects. A latecomer to the talk asked “but which plone ecommerce product would you use if you had to?”. Answer “we wouldn’t”.

collective.transcode.star (lightning talk)

manage online transcoding
http://plone.org/products/collective.transcode.star – looks interesting, and may bring plone back into the picture for a project i’m doing.

BlueDynamics bda.plone.finder

osx style finder widget for navigating/ organising content in plone – looks great!

Plone Conference 2010 Day 1

quality schwag from Plone Conference 2010

Just back home after day one of Plone Conference 2010, with my mind buzzing so thought it would be a good time to write up some of my thoughts and notes. It was really difficult to choose between the talks on offer on the three different different tracks, but here are some thoughts on the ones I attended.

Keynote by Alexander Limi and Alan Runyan

Two main themes here – ubiquity/availaibility and designer friendliness.

To make Plone more mainstream it needs to be available to non-technical end users through the same means that other systems are already available – namely being able to deploy easily on cheap hosting, specifically the one-click installers on shared hosting in cPanel and similar. This would allow users to easily evaluate Plone for their needs in the same ay that they can already with wordpress, drupal and joomla – apparently there is a new joomla instance created about every two minutes. I must stop Alan Runyan and see if he has thought about microsoft web platform installer – nowadays this includes the option to install wordpress, drupal, modX, and load of other systems, including downloading and installing dependencies. It would be great if Plone was in that list.

One of the aims of Plone 5 is to make it more designer friendly. I think this is really important – even though since the release of plone 4 i’ve started using plone again for intranets and extranets (mainly straight out of the box with a few minor cosmetic tweaks), I currently still use something like wordpress, or a home-rolled CMS for website builds. That is now going to change – the theming story is being completely re-written by the introduction of Deliverance/XDV/Diazo (already available – more on that later), and Deco (TTW layout and content editing). The aim is to make Plone appeal to designers as something that helps, not hinders them.

Quote of the talk has to be from Limi – “Plone doesn’t suck, because the developers don’t hate the core technology” (or something like that) – in reference to the revelation that many drupal/wordpress/joomla developers admit they actually hate PHP, whereas Plone developers love python.

Deco: new editing interface for plone 5

The next talk I attended was Rob Gietema’s demo of Deco. This is looking really good, although i’m a little bit skeptical of drag and drop and in-place editing (I like front-end based editing, but prefer lightboxed modal editing to in-place), mainly because i’ve seem layouts explode and page elements disappear, or refuse to drop in the correct place on similar systems in the past. However, I haven’t actually tried this one yet, maybe i’m just clumsy! I think in general designers and content editors are going to love it.

LDAP and Active Directory integration

I attended Clayton Parker’s talk on LDAP and active directory integration – can’t say I absorbed much, but i’m sure i’ll be asked to do this one day, so it’s good to know that this is tried and tested and the tools are already there.

Easier and faster Plone theming with Deliverance and xdv

Nate Aune gave us an overview of Deliverance. I’ve known about Deliverance for ages, but the penny dropped for me today about how useful this is. The basic principle is this – deliverance acts as a proxy to transparently take HTML output from a website and merge it with HTML from a theme, according to a simple set of rules. In the case of plone, this means you can create a theme in static HTML and have content from a default theme Plone site displayed wrapped up in the static HTML. Simple rules can be applied e.g. “take the news portlet from the plone site, drop the header and footer and all the images and display in the element with and id of “recent-news” from my HTML theme. magic!

Nate quoted one example where the HTML theme is stored in a dropbox folder which the client has access to to make tweaks and changes. I can see front end developers and designers loving this.

There was much discussion at the end over which technology should be used for this – XDV is a fork of an earlier version of Deliverance, which has slightly different functionality. XDV, which is to be renamed Diazo, will be the theming engine for Plone 5. With that in mind, i’ll concentrate my efforts on Diazo. I’m excited by this for non-plone reasons – a majority of my works seems to involve integrating technologies that don’t belong together – this will really help.

Design and development with Dexterity and convention-over-configuration

Martin Aspelli gave a talk on dexterity – the (eventual) replacement for archetypes. This is already available, but not mature yet. The talk was mainly conceptual rather than code-led, focussing on best practice for designing your site or application – when it is suitable to create a content type, and when you might be better off creating a form, or using a relational database. Best quote “code is like a plastic bag” (reduce, reuse, recycle). Write less code.

Laying Pipe with Transmogrifier

Another talk from Clayton Parker – transmogrifier is a system to package up migrations of content from other systems. My thoughts on this were that it looked like hard work for a one off import (usually i’d write a one-off python script for something like this), but creating packages would benefit the plone community e.g. if there were packages available covering migrations from a standard wordpress, drupal or joomla, this would benefit plone. I suppose this could also be used to import content from older instances of Plone, where the upgrade path is broken.

Multilingual sites – caveats and tips

Sasha Vincic talkd about strategies and gotchas for multilingual site builds. Even though Plone has tools for this, there are common scenarios, such as the “missing page” scenario where a translation of a site may not have the same number of pages as the base translation. He also covered common issues such as escaped HTML being translated by third parties and being delivered content where HTML attributes have been translated, therefore breaking the HTML.

Guest Keynote: Challenging Business

This was an inspirational treat for the end of day one – Richard Noble is a fantastic speaker, and after a day of CMS talk it was great to hear his story of the challenges of his past world land speed record record achievements, and the current one – the Bloodhound SSC project. As well as building insane rocket powered cars (the current one has an F1 engine onboard just to drive the fuel pump!), his goal is to inspire children and young people to become engineers, as there is an impending massive shortage of engineers in training. I was also interest to hear that there will be no patents on the technology developed for the new car – the advancements will be made avaiolable for anyone in the engineering industry to build on – sound familiar?

archived comments

Thanks for the roundup Rick! Looking forward to the rest.

Mike 2010-10-27 21:29:18

Good, clear writeup. I could not make it to the conference this year. It’s nice to be able to follow it a bit this way. Thanks, Rick!

Maurits van Rees 2010-10-27 21:42:13

Thanks for the comments guys – videos for all the talks will eventually be online, so hopefully everyone who couldn’t make it won’t miss out 🙂

Rick 2010-10-27 21:58:26

Thanks for the post!

I agree with you re: transmogrifier which is (partially) why I wrote http://pypi.python.org/pypi/parse2plone

Keep the blogs coming 🙂

Alex Clark 2010-10-28 00:50:01

CMS strategies

When it comes to Content Management Systems (CMS’s), i’ve been “round the block a few times” so to speak, having spent the last ten years mostly working on CMS driven sites – starting with bespoke classic asp/ MS Access (shudder) back in 1999, before moving onto bespoke php/mysql systems, wordpress, drupal, zope/plone and dabbling in countless others. My conclusion: there is no holy grail, because the people developing and maintaining the code and content vary, and there are other important factors. Therefore I always take time to decide on the best approach for each project.
It is rare that I get a “greenfield” project where I am free to start from scratch. Without getting right down to weighing up the pros and cons of individual systems, here are some of the factors that help me (and my clients) make a decision:-

  • Will I be starting from scratch or building on something else?
  • Am I working alone, or with one or more other developers?
  • Does the client have a preferred technology i.e. if they already have an intranet written in a particular technology, it makes sense to use the same for their website. (Unless of course they hate their other systems – it might be a good bargaining point to go a different direction altogether!)
  • What’s the content like? – is there a large amount of text content, categories and pages or is it “snippets” of text that need to be editable, amongst otherwise highly graphical content?

Commercial Content Management Systems
I’m not going to talk about the “big” commercial CMS’s – the only people they are useful to are the people who’s job it is to go and buy a CMS license, companies who own or sell the software and companies who have made the investment to become specialists in such systems. That counts me out, and as i’ve never heard a developer, designer or content manager singing the praises of such a system (entirely the opposite), i’m going to presume they are all overpriced rubbish, and talk about what I know! I know that sounds flippant, but I refuse to believe that any of the vendors of the expensive, closed commercial systems have solved problems that a community of thousands of people working on competing open source systems haven’t. Also money saved on an expensive license can be spent on support, maintenance and customisation of a system with no license costs. Which brings me onto…

Off-the-Shelf open source CMS’s
One obvious route is to use one of the mature, all singing and dancing systems like Plone (zope/python) or Drupal (php/mysql). They are easy to install and have a comprehensive feature list, but usually one other thing in common – voodoo. By voodoo I mean a whole load of essential code deep down in the architecture that your average web developer (counting myself here) isn’t supposed to touch, and can spend hours/ days working out how to hook into it to make seemingly simple changes. For someone who becomes an expert in the system, they have full access to the code, so become familiar with the hooks and this isn’t a problem. For the charity/ company/ organisation where the development budget has run dry, it can be tricky finding anyone (available) who can work on it. If the content maintainer likes the admin interface these can work out really well, if they don’t it can be a ton of reverse engineering to make it “work” for the content manager.

Bespoke CMS’s
On the other extreme you have a bespoke CMS written from scratch giving the developer fine grained control over everything they need to do, and easily picked up by another developer, provided that it is sensibly written. However, as developers usually have their own way of doing things, it may take another developer time to learn how the system works before they can make changes, or they may want to re-write it altogether! The downside of any bespoke system is that it can take months to build features that you get for free in an off the shelf system. I often build a bespoke CMS where I need to bolt new functionality onto an existing system, where there isn’t enough budget to start from scratch.

Bespoke CMS built on a framework
In between are bespoke systems built on a framework (such as Cake PHP, Ruby on Rails, Django), so much of the repetitive coding work (such as user management and admin forms) is handled for you, but it’s still a bespoke system. The downside of these is that you need a developer who already knows, or is willing to take the time to learn the framework. The upside is that new functionality can be added quickly and in a consistent manner by someone familiar with the framework.

“In-House” CMS
By which I mean a bespoke CMS which isn’t written from scratch each time, but a mature “tried and tested” bespoke CMS built and maintained by an agency or developer, then reusued or repurposed for each new project. The advantage of this is that the developer/ agency have a high level of familiarity with the system, so are able to make fine-grained changes as required, that they may not be able to make with other systems. The disadvantage is that these can be the trickiest systems to be picked up by another agency or developer, and their may be IP issues (see below)

Intellectual Property / licensing
I’ve already said that i’m not going to talk about the commercial CMS’s, but one consideration when choosing which way to go, particularly with a bespoke CMS, is what happens if you were to move to another developer or agency? Will the source code and database files for your CMS be handed over along with the website or are you going to have to license it /buy it/ start again? Also what would happen if you wanted to sell the website and CMS on at a later date?

Standalone vs Retrofitting
This refers to the last of my bullet points above – not all websites are the same. Some (like news or university websites) are text-content heavy, with hundreds or maybe thousands of pages and categories, and some websites have highly designed (as in graphic design) content.

In the latter scenario it is often better to build the site as static HTML first and retrofit a simple CMS later. The bulk of the work in building such a site will be in getting it looking and behaving correctly, and their may need to be lots of fine tuning to the layout, which is easier if you aren’t reverse engineering a theming system. Moreover, the text content may be confined to small snippets of text, or a simple news blog, which can easily be plumbed in later.

The former scenario would suit an off-the-shelf system that works standalone – i.e. one that allows content editors to start populating content before the templates are finished, which are then applied as a skin/theme later – it may even be the case that the site can’t really be designed properly until the architecture and content are in place.

archived comments

Great post Rick, and it really rings true with me. Certainly the bit about taking ages to do a simple change.

I’m sure if you invest a lot of time with a framework/CMS system then it will pay dividends however, my concern is that, if the only tool you’ve got is a hammer then everything looks like a nail…if you catch my drift!

Joel

Joel Hughes 2009-09-19 18:43:28

Sitting on the fence – Why I sometimes choose not to use Plone in favour of Drupal or WordPress

As an experienced Plone front end developer, people are often surprised when I often decide not to use Plone, in favour of something like Drupal or WordPress. I thought it would be useful to explain why and how I make this decision. I know some of these points won’t be popular in the Plone community, but they are based on experience, and think this blog post will be useful to people deciding whether to use it or not.

Plone is complex
From a development point of view, Plone is a complex piece of software, at least compared to something like WordPress. I’m not going to go into specifics here, but for someone like myself who is primarily a front-end developer, sometimes I can lose days trying to add a simple custom feature, that I know I could create in hours on a php based site, probably just with a few lines of code in the template (a practice that is often frowned upon, but usually harmless and more importantly gets the job done). However much of this is down to my skillset and understanding (and probably my natural abilities to a certain extent) which brings me on to the next point.

Development resources – a chicken and egg situation
I have to hold my hand up and admit to being a bit of a “web monkey” when it comes to development – i’m self-taught, beginning with hacking around classic asp and php scripts and moving onto object orientated programming only in the last few years. With Zope and Plone the entry bar is higher – there is a whole framework to learn if you want to develop custom features, which is a good thing from a maintainability and system architecture point of view, but there is a significant time investment involved for someone wanting to transfer from something like php. Even an experienced Python developer will have some learning to do to get to know Zope and Plone.

This means that I struggle to find local freelance resources to work on a large Plone project with me. I also struggle to find sysadmins with zope/plone experience, and not being a sysadmin myself have found myself in a few hairy situations. I know of at least two ventures that have got into difficulties because of resource issues – I think partly because Plone can be a victim of it’s own success – there are lots of Plone developers, but they are all busy!

Hosting
Plone requires specialist hosting – or rather you can’t run it on the majority of locked-down budget shared hosting. Many of my clients already have hosting arranged and don’t want to move, so something like WordPress suits their needs better, for a simple site.

Overkill for simple sites
Sometimes a site only needs to be dynamic for the sake of a blog/ news section – I find plone is overkill for this, and often prefer to go with something more lightweight, even (gasp!) a bespoke CMS when I need to bolt extra functionality onto an existing site, and there is no budget for a rewrite.

So when would I use it?
Without a doubt Plone makes a fantastic intranet, out of the box. I eat my own dogfood here – I use an unmodified Plone 3 site for my own company intranet and document management system. Drupal/ WordPress do not even appear on the radar in comparison for this task. I would also use it for any site/ application that has a need for complex workflow, membership and groups.

Lastly, i’m happy to use it for any project where I can team up with an experienced zope/plone techie to help with the more low-level stuff. I was recently blown away by seeing how an experienced Plonista at Team Rubber quickly dealt with some temporary extremely high read/write traffic on a Plone site by firing up a whole set of zeo clients on amazon EC2 – a scenario that i’m sure would have been a nightmare to deal with on a drupal or wordpress site, and i’d be equally out of my depth without help.

In summary
I hope this is useful and doesn’t upset the Plone evangelists too much. Plone is a serious, well architected, secure system that leaves the competition standing in most cases. I think by “competition” I am talking about proprietry CMS and intranet systems that cost ten or hundreds of thousands of pounds, not the likes of Drupal or WordPress. If you don’t want to do much customisation it makes a good choice for smaller projects, but if you do you are going to need a developer (or invest in growing one of your own), who is a. available, b. you can afford, otherwise you might be better to go with something else, with a lower development entry level.

archived comments

This is a nice write up. Sounds completely reasonable to me.

Kai (a Plone developer)

Kai Diefenbach 2009-05-08 11:20:57

True words..

I use plone for my intranet/dms, too. Maybe u can share your concepts/ideas or how u use it and for what..would be cool.

Greets
Gomez

Gomez 2009-05-08 12:06:43

I agree, right on down the line. And if you have not already, you should consider blogging about how you’re using Plone as a DMS.

Rose Pruyne 2009-05-08 13:36:19

Great summary of everything I have been through since deciding on Plone at my day job about a year ago.

I don’t think even the most fervent Plone fan would advocate using Plone for everything. (Though I am sure there are people skilled enough to customize it to point will work for anything.)

Our major problem has been what to use when Plone IS overkill. We are a 3-person team and also learning Python at the same time. We are a little hesitant to take up another new framework (like Django) but at the same time it doesn’t seem to make sense to have some stuff on PHP and some stuff on Python. (And 1 of our team members would have to learn both.)

Anthony Bosio 2009-05-08 13:50:16

@Anthony yes, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to span php and python/zope/plone, unless like me you pick up different types of work from different clients and knowing both is quite useful. I guess Grok http://grok.zope.org/ would be a sensible choice in your situation because it keeps things python/zope 3

Rick 2009-05-08 13:57:45

Great, thoughtful, piece, Rick. If all you want is a few static pages and a blog, Plone is indeed overkill. The good news is that I think you’ll see the learning curve getting smoother over the next year as we simplify the content types, theming and page layout stories. I think this will put a lot more power into the hands of folks like me who haven’t mastered all of Plone’s innards.

The Plone community has learned a lot from both its successes and its mistakes over the past 8+ years, and we have a lot of great innovation in the pipeline.

Jon Stahl 2009-05-08 15:12:18

Why do you think Plone evangelists would be upset by this? I think most of them would (or at least, should) agree whole-heartedly with this analysis. In my opinion, Plone doesn’t even compete with WordPress and barely so with Drupal. As you said, – “overkill for simple sites”.

Martin

Martin Aspeli 2009-05-08 15:36:49

@Martin I guess the point I thought might be controversial is the bit about “getting into difficulties” with a plone site, by which I mean either a situation where a site stops altogether working one day (e.g. because of a problem with a corrupted ZODB or something like that), and you can’t get it back online without external help or a project becomes stale because a developer leaves and you can’t find anyone to replace them. I know this could potentially put people off using it.

Rick Hurst 2009-05-08 16:18:04

Fully agree, I use Django and CherryPy for simpler sites as my staffs will be still in Python environment. Switching different languages between projects can be counter-productive.

Michael Ang 2009-05-09 03:12:33

Good article. I agree with your opinion.
I quoted your point of view in my Japansese blog post.
http://www.shigeo.net/Computing/090509-not-always-plone

zope cheat sheet

Now that i’m getting a bit more familiar with zope (2), rather than blog every time I work out how to do things that are blindingly obvious to most zope developers, i’ve started a zope cheat sheet, to keep track of bits and pieces of example code that took me a fair amount of googling, searching and begging to work out. Most of this is probably stuff that I should have learned on day one of my zope indoctrination, but instead I plunged straight into plone and archetypes and never got to learn the basics, which I think got me into trouble later on. There’s not much there at the time of posting, and I need to create a more suitable template, but expect this to grow over the coming months!

archived comments

Nice, I’m getting into Plone/Zope myself and kinda had the immediate desire to steer out of Zope and just use Plone and whatever it contains.. but more, I am also beginning to think it’s important to get into the basics of Zope2&/3 and Python.. Looking forward 🙂

Paul 2009-03-29 23:41:06

new sweetcron/ codeigniter based site Too Old To skate

too old to skate

I’m pleased to say i’ve achieved another of my 2009 goals, by launching the (unfinished) new version of one of my personal projects Too Old To Skate. The main site is now running php/codeigniter based sweetcron, which is used to pull content in from the original wordpress, flickr, delicious, twitter, vimeo and a friends blogger based site. I have plenty more planned for the site, but little to no time to do it, so I thought i’d upload the site unfinished in the meantime to allow myself to do incremental updates, rather than be embarrased by a holding page.

Amongst the plans are:-

  • bring in the content (articles and photo galleries) from the now defunct plone(2) based DFR Skate zine – i’m thinking some sort of PHP/ codeigniter* front-end sucking in content (as XML/JSON or even plain HTML) from a Plone 3 site acting as a content server. Doing something like this with Plone has been on my mind for years! Maybe I should stick this in as a 2010 goal. Alternatively it may just end up as a skinned Plone 3 site on another subdomain – either would be good.
  • Skin the blog to fit in with the main site.
  • Other awesomeness – this is a non-commercial personal project and therefore my playground 😉

*Having now played with both codeigniter and cakephp, I think I prefer cake. However as sweetcron is codeigniter based it would be plain silly to be using cake on the same project.

Viewlets related Plone 3 theming article and discussion

There’s an interesting Plone 3 skinning article over here, which describes how to use viewlets. More interesting to me is the discussion at the end. The general points made here are:-

  • Viewlets are complex and can be a barrier to non-programmers, but are probably being used for the wrong things
  • Plone 4 will have some radical changes to make stuff like this easier (but learn Plone 3 in the meantime)
  • Deliverance is an alternative for skinning, may ship with Plone 4
  • Rolling your own public facing skin that ignores viewlets altogether is another alternative

Setting up a plone 3 dev environment on osx leopard

Firstly, to echo something mentioned in one of the articles referenced below – if you just want to install and try out plone on osx leopard – use the installer provided on plone.org. If you want a little more control, or want to get a better understanding of how things work, below describes the steps used to get the development environment I have just set up. I usually get these things wrong when I venture out of the realms of point and click installers, but this was fairly painless. The main purpose for this post is to self-document the process for next time, but hopefully other will find it useful.

1. Install PIL using macports

after installing macports (GUI installer), run this in a terminal :-

$ sudo port install jpeg

This ensures that PIL (Python Imaging Library) is compiled with jpeg support. Thanks to Tom Lazar for the tip

2.check out (from svn) and run this excellent buildout by Florian

(in your home dir – you’ll need svn installed)

$ cd
$ svn co http://svn.plone.org/svn/collective/buildout/python-macosx/
$ cd python-macosx
$ python bootstrap.py
$ sudo bin/buildout

This builds several different versions of python, and creates a virtualenv for the 2.x versions. I tried doing the last step without sudoing, but it wouldn’t have it. As a result, you’ll need an additional step to change the ownership of some of the files/ folders created by the buildout:-

$ cd ../
$ sudo chown -R yourusername python-macosx

3. Activate your python 2.4 virtualenv:-

$ cd python-macosx/python-2.4
$ source bin/activate

Your command prompt should now have (python-2.4) instead of a $. For information on what a virtualenv is and why to use them, see Dan’s article linked below.

4. Follow the instructions for installing ZopeSkel and Plone in Dan Fairs’ article

(^^ scroll down and start at the heading ZopeSkel)

(python-2.4) easy_install ZopeSkel
(python-2.4) paster create -t plone3_buildout p3
(python-2.4) cd p3
(python-2.4) python bootstrap.py
(python-2.4) bin/buildout

5. start zope in foreground mode:-

(python-2.4) bin/instance fg

I think that’s it. One thing to note is that both the python-macosx and plone 3 buildouts died on me at one point (stalled with no errors – wasn’t sure if it was going to come back to life at a later date, so killed the process after about ten minutes of nothingness). In both cases I just tried the buildout again and it worked second time around. Hopefully I haven’t missed anything – please do comment if you think I have, or if you followed the above step by step and had no problems/ problems. At time of writing i’ve only tried creating a default plone site and uploading an image to test the PIL support.

Graham Higgins for the heads-up!

Plans for 2009

Inspired by Elliot Jay Stocks post “Goals, Old and New“, I thought i’d jot down a few goals* for 2009. In no particular order:-

  • Launch a web app – the original reason for starting Olivewood. We already have a working prototype (a web based trading/ procurement/communication hub – successfully in service for a distributor over a year), it just needs some refactoring to make it suitable to be released to additional clients with slightly different needs.
  • Relaunch Too Old To Skate – it’s a personal project, and it’s important for me to be working on at least one non-paying project, to remind me that i’m not just in this for the money. I’m already part of the way there with a sweetcron based mashup. I intend to launch it, unfinished or not in January.
  • Attend at least one web conference – last year was just too manic, and combined with bad timing I only managed WDC this year. On my possible list are FOWA dublin, bamboo juice in cornwall, plone conf in budapest, Europython in Birmingham and the list goes on.
  • Attend at least one barcamp. BathCamp this year was great.
  • Fix on a php framework and use it on a “from-scratch” commercial project, and get really, really good with it. Cake is the current fave, though will likely be using Zend Framework too on a magento based project.
  • Get to grips with plone 3 skinning – I want to consider myself a plone skinning expert again.
  • Get further than “hello world” with Django – ideally at least one commercial project. I’m not beating myself up too much over this, I thrive on examples, so i’m letting other people do all the early adopter stuff 😉
  • Better customer service – by managing my workload to avoid juggling projects, saying NO occasionally, and generally working in a more controlled and predictable manner.
  • Put up a proper portfolio on this site, maybe even a redesign – working on this website is always last on the list, it’s still using the default wordpress theme from way back.
  • Use and understand some technologies that i’ve been ignoring – JSON, WSGI, Zope 3
  • Do more on-site freelancing for agencies. I seem to thrive in that environment. Maybe it’s my agency background, or maybe it’s because I get to focus on the task in hand rather than the whole “business” side of being a freelancer. There’s also the whole co-worker thing.
  • Keep trading and survive the credit crunch recession (Touch wood) i’m already booked up for the first few months of 2009 – lets hope the work keeps coming!

* web/ career related – i’ll save the more personal goals for drunken new years eve conversations with friends!

archived comments

Nice one, Rick! I think that “saying no” one is a very wise tip indeed. I must learn to do more of that!

Elliot Jay Stocks 2008-12-22 16:19:42

Nice Rick. I wish you good luck and all the best for your 2009 projects.

Nicolas Alpi 2008-12-30 00:25:26

Faster Plone, Faster!



The plone performance sprint is now underway at the Pervasive Media studio in Bristol. There are about 16 plone developers from Germany, Norway, Denmark, Italy, USA, and the UK, working for 4 days to work on optimising the performance of plone. I’ll be dropping in, but unfortunately won’t be able to contribute much due to other commitments.

More photos here.

archived comments

Go boys !

Tarek Ziade 2008-12-11 21:52:31