Latest Plone CMS Release Enhances Localization, Sub Site Support
Plone 3.3 has been released. Like its predecessors 3.2 and 3.1, it represents what Plone (news, site) has called another “minor” upgrade in the 3.x series. And like its predecessors, it focuses on some simple improvements that will make life easier for users.

While there are a number of refinements with 3.3, the one that will create most interest is that a single Plone instance will be able to run any number of sub sites, each with their own look-and-feel.

These sub sites will all come with different navigation, different portlets, separate content for listing pages, separate internal search, separate workflows and permissions and separate user dashboards.

Plone 3.0

Plone is an open source Web CMS. The Python- and Zope-based system runs on Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and Solaris. It also integrates with LDAP, SQL, SOAP, Web Services (WSDL) and WebDAV.

The daddy of the 3.0 series was released in August 2007 and came with a number of features that set it apart from most of the rest at the time.

Amongst those features were:

  • Full versioning support, including the ability to audit user activity
  • Inline AJAX Editing and Wiki Functionality including built-in link management
  • Live search for all files with the search-as-you-type ability, made famous by
  • Automatic integrity checking that checks for broken links
  • Strengthened security with improved auditing making problems easier to find and improved usability hopes to minimize issues during content creation.

Building On Plone 3.0

Since then Plone has released 3.1 and 3.2 successively, and now 3.3.

Version 3.1 added security hardening and infrastructure for developers. Major changes included:

  • Built-in protection against CSRF attacks.
  • Collection and static text portlets are now included by default
  • The Unified Installer is now buildout-based

The 3.2 version mainly focused on improving the packaging (eggs, buildout) and installer experience, and is based on Plone 3.1. Again, it did not include any major changes and all products that worked with Plone 3.0 and 3.1 worked in Plone 3.2.

Plone 3.3 Release

Highlights of the 3.3 release include the ability to localize navigation, tabs, sitemaps and searches within folders. This makes it much easier to develop autonomous sub sites within a Plone site, while a new add-on provides management facilities to exploit the new feature.

Other new features and refinements include:

  • Automatically redirects when accessing links, but not logged in
  • Resource registries upgrades for Internet Explorer fixes
  • Use of INavigationRoot standardized
  • Upgrading to PloneLanguageTool 3.0 and PlacelessTranslationService 1.5
  • Disabling inline editing by default.
  • Improved file change and lock handling
  • Removal of unused auto-sort and auto-order code left over from Plone 2.1
  • History viewlet shows all history data
  • The ability to customize indexing  with adapters.

Getting Ready For Plone 4.0 and 5.0

What's next for Plone? Well, there will be more developments in 3.x as well as simultaneous development work on 4.x.

This has been made possible by the break-up of the Plone development team -- or Framework teams -- into two: one for 3.x, the other for 4.x.

The ongoing purpose of the 3.x Framework team is to ensure the validity of Plone 3 and everything related to it, including documentation, continuity of the visual interface and to ensure the compatibility of new add-ons as the series progresses.

It will still be operational when Plone 4 goes live, and will stay operational until it's time to finally shelve it.

This has enabled Plone take a sensible approach to releases, reflected in the announcement at the end of June that the release of Plone 4 would be split into two because it had become so complex -- one for late this year as Plone 4, another for release in 2010 as Plone 5.

And in the background, there will be ongoing work on 3.x

Watch this space for further updates.