plone.png After nine months of hard work, the folks at the Plone Team have announced the release candidate build of Plone 3.0, available for all platforms. Plone, an open source CMS built on the Zope application server, is used by hundreds of professional web sites around the world. This upcoming release is promised to be the most advanced and feature-ridden version of this popular CMS product. Plone is known for its accessibility and ease of use, two assets that have led to implementation by clients like Amnesty International Switzerland, the Brazilian government, and even (gasp!) the CIA. A key to its versatility lies in its interface, which boasts over 35 translations, along with tools for managing multilingual content. Plone also follows standards for usability and accessibility; Plone pages are compliant with US Section 508 and the W3C’s AAA rating for accessibility. Not bad for something that costs almost nothing. Plone is also licensed under the GNU General Public License, which means that like Linux, you can use this open source program without a license fee—take that, Microsoft! Plus, Plone’s friendly interface has also led to droves of third party developers – their site claims there are close to a hundred in the Plone Development Team around the world. Plone 3.0 will include many new features, including full versioning, roll-back capabilities, in-place staging, and locking for all content, inline editing of content using Ajax, wiki support, new portlets infrastructure and management UI, OpenID authentication support, and an improved user interface for the sharing page. One of the more exciting upgrades that Plone users are buzzing about is the updated HTML editor, Kupu. Kupu’s updates and improvements will include automatic image resizing, image captions, named anchors, and span/character styles. These updates, combined with Kupu’s existing strengths, should propel Plone 3’s graphical HTML editing abilities toward the upper echelon of the CMS world. The Plone team is asking for a few noble souls willing to test their new software. Particularly, they are looking for third-party product testers and translators. They also need help testing the new features and are looking for product testers who would be willing to use their computer (with important files backed up, of course) as guinea pigs for Plone 3.0. If you are interested in helping test the new functionality of Plone 3.0, visit their website for more information. Are you a Plone user? Let us know what you think.