Rick Hurst Web Developer in Bristol, UK


Category: review

Review: Professional Plone Development part 1

Firstly an apology: I was sent Martin Aspeli’s Professional Plone Development for review back in October last year, and I still haven’t got round to reviewing it – not out of laziness, but extreme time shortage due to going freelance/ starting a company last year. Hopefully I can make amends now by reviewing it section by section as I jump into Plone 3.

A bit of background about me and Plone: I have worked predominantly with Plone for about 4 years, coming from a background in classic asp and php. My area of Plone expertise is front end templating and skinning, which was my main area of usefulness at Netsight for a couple of years. I have also presented a couple of Plone based workshops at Bristol Skillswap, attended two Plone conferences and a Snow Sprint. Despite this involvement with Plone, I have had a love/hate relationship with it, at times thoroughly lost deep down in the software stack, and fighting my tendency to think purely in terms of scripts and relational databases, other times singing it’s praises to anyone who will listen. Since leaving Netsight I have only worked on one Plone (2) project, as i’ve gone back to my old ways, favouring php for most projects, but just got stuck into an inherited Plone 3 project, and started using a vanilla Plone 3 site as a knowledge base/document repository/intranet/extranet for my own company, olivewood. (Hosted on a mac mini in-house, which I thoroughly recommend, but that’s another post!).

I’m currently feeling a little lost, with the Plone 3, which is why I decided to finally start reading/ reviewing the book.
Ok, enough about me, lets talk about the book: I opened the book last night and read through the foreword by Alexander Limi, and the first chapter. It left me with a fantastic feeling about Plone and the future of Plone – it summarised what is different about Plone, and how important (and fun) it is to participate in the Plone community to get the best out of it – the polar opposite to working with a proprietary product, where the vendor tries to cultivate a community around it, but it’s not the same. It also made me feel slightly guilty for moaning about aspects of Plone in the past – who exactly was I complaining to? I resolved to make sure that the next time something frustrates me, that I actively participate in making the situation better, i.e. to at least actively become part of the problem, if not part of the solution!

Chapter 1 covers Zope and Plone history, Plone as application vs Plone as framework, considerations for when deciding if Plone is the right tool for the job, and the importance of the community.
A couple of other things I learned from the foreword and chapter 1:-

  • The original release of Plone was built (predominantly*) by just two people, Alexander Limi and Alan Runyan who didn’t meet until Europython 2002 just after the first release
  • The Goldegg initiative is a sponsored effort to improve Plone’s framework stack, not a type of python egg!

Ok, I will try to deliver another installment as soon as possible, but i won’t necessarily be doing it in order – i’ll be skipping straight to chapter 8 (skinning)
* Building on top of Zope/ CMF – the work of many people!

archived comments


Thanks for buying the book. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

I would probably read the chapters in order, or at least skim them in order. You’ll find it a bit hard to grasp some of the things chapter 8 otherwise. At least, I’d read chapters 3 and 5 first.


Martin Aspeli 2008-09-18 22:22:29

Thanks for the compliments on the foreword. Interestingly enough, that foreword has generated more nice personal emails to me than anything else I can remember writing. 😉

Alexander Limi 2008-09-18 23:15:37

More books to review

PHP books to review

I’ve been sent a couple more books to review from Packt publishing – Codeigniter for Rapid PHP Development, and Object Oriented Programming with PHP5. I have immediate use for these as I am currently working on a few PHP5 projects and was looking around for a PHP framework to use for part of one of them, so expect reviews next month.

I’m also feeling a bit guilty as I still haven’t had time to review the Plone 3 book they sent me a while back – I need a nice Plone 3 project to get stuck into before I can do that justice, but will try to at least give it a read next month too, and report back my initial impressions.

archived comments

I personally really like CodeIgniter – and that was before packt gave me a copy of this book too. FYI: Apparently the latest version of expression engine is built on CI.

Ian Wootten 2008-05-02 19:05:48