[triangle-zpug] Re: [Triangle] Intros all around?

Tom Bryan tbryan at python.net
Sun Jan 2 18:07:03 CET 2005

On Friday 31 December 2004 11:48 am, Joel Burton wrote:

> 1) what your experience with Plone has been?

I've listened to Geoff and Chris rave about it for the last couple of years.  
:-)  I've downloaded it to look at it, but having played with Zope a bit, I 
was very confused at the time between what Plone was providing versus what 
Zope was providing.  Now, I haven't looked at either Zope or Plone in over a 

> 2) what your experience with Zope (if outside of Plone) has been?

I played with Zope 2.3.3 a few years ago while working with EcoAccess.org.  As 
I understood them, the fundamental requirements for the EcoAccess software 
team were to provide a content management system with proper workflow 
control.  Now, I realize that we would have had to develop something like 
Plone on top of Zope, but since few of the project's developers had any 
previous Zope experience, we were a bit overwhelmed.  :-)

> 3) How long you've been programming in Python?

I first learned Python in 1998.  I've never had the opportunity to write and 
ship a major application in Python, but I frequently use it in creating 
little tools for testing, troubleshooting, and such while developing 
applications in C, Java, or C#.  Python is probably my favorite language, and 
I have been the primary organizer of the TriZPUG since we created it in 
October 2003.

> 4) What areas you're most interested in my covering?

I'm primarily a server side application developer.  I've done very little web 
development, but I'm currently unemployed, and I thought that this bootcamp 
would be a great way to force me to learn something new....especially since 
the TriZPUG has been very Plone-focused lately.  

Unless someone suddenly hires me to do Zope/Plone-based web development, I 
imagine that most of the things I'll learn in this class will be for "spare 
time" projects.  When I'm learning something, it helps me to have a 
particular project in mind, so I'll be focusing on that EcoAccess's 
requirements this week.  EcoAccess.org has been in stasis for over a year.  
I've recently contacted the founder about restarting the project on a 
Plone-based site, and he sounded enthusiastic about it.

For EcoAccess, I know that I'll need to understand user and group management, 
workflow, and topics.  Several of the founder's ideas map directly to these 
parts of Plone.  He wanted to have "section" editors, essentially reviewers 
who were only permitted to review documents concerning certain content.  The 
way he described it didn't sound like having a reviewer per folder...more 
like a reviewer per set of keywords.  I'm not sure whether that's even 
possible.  He would also need tight control on visibility.  I'm sure that 
he'd prefer for content under review to be absolutely inaccessible unless a 
user is logged in.  It's sounds like Plone just makes content hard to find 
when it's visible but not yet public.

Other than that, the founder also preferred to store a lot of the information 
in a RDBMS.  I don't remember whether he was just concerned about locking up 
all of his data in the ZODB or whether he had specific requirements that 
pushed the project in that direction.  In any case, I'd like to understand 
how Plone can pull content from a RDBMS and how much I can and should push 
into the database.

I also have a set of content types that I'll need to implement eventually.  
I'll be digging up the requirements tonight, but I remember that they 
included specific content types for links, bibliographic citations, FAQs, and 
glossary items.  Perhaps I'll bring a copy of the high level requirements to 
the class so that I can find out whether each item is covered by the default 
Plone install, easy to implement in Plone after I've finished the class, 
difficult but possible, or just really whacko/don't even try it right now.  

Finally, since EcoAccess is a non-profit with an all volunteer development 
staff, I'll need to understand how a distributed team can work on a single 
Plone project, running and testing their changes locally, integrating code 
and design on a staging server, and deploying to a production server.  I 
understand how to use revision control (CVS, e.g.) to do this for file-based 
software and websites (a JSP/servlet-based website, for example).  What I 
don't understand is how I can do something like integrate changes two 
designers are making to the Plone skins.  Does that go through revision 
control?  I get the feeling that this part of a site is treated like content 
and kept in the ZODB.  


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