Plone Conference 2007
Its day two of the Plone Conference 2007 here in Naples, Italy. This morning we're sitting in the Conference Keynote speech which is being delivered in tandom by Alan Runyan and Alex Limi. Following are my notes covering the state of the Plone union, Plone 3 and more.

Plone Project Health

Plone has gotten really big over the last few years. It's been downloaded over one million times which is huge for a Web CMS. When Plone 3 was released, plone.org handled 9 times the normal traffic with no problem. There are 49 new code contributors in the last year. In the last 12 months, 84 people committed code to Plone, which is an awful lot. Plone is in the top 2% largest open source projects in the world. Only things like Apache and Linux are bigger.

Plone 3

Plone 3 is an amazing release. Very few bugs have been found so far. Major recent site launches on Plone have included: * Novell.com - will be presenting at this conference. Done in-house. * Central Intelligence Agency (CIA.gov) -- they might be here... we just don't know! :-) * Discover Magazine -- "one of the more gorgeous sites." (Thanks Alan!) High traffic site running completely on Plone. Solved the problem of getting an entire issue online easily. It used to take 3 weeks and now takes as few as 3 days with Plone. Books are out and more are coming: * "Content Management With Plone" - for content managers * "Professional Plone Development" - for programmers Plone.org has historically been a site used for every purpose involving Plone under the sun. It's very fast and stable. Using "Varnish" for caching.

The Plone Foundation

The Plone Foundation member meeting (notes) was last night. Voting for the Board ends tonight. A donation program was started on Plone.org and donations are tax exempt in the U.S. The Foundation received roughly $20,000 this year in donations. The Foundation completely owns the Plone trademark (31 trademarks around the world, including the U.S.), which is critical to make sure to not have the sorts of problems that have plagued the Joomla project (which was having major GPL violations).

Commercial Plone

Plone.net has launched. Plone.net is Plone's website for commercial efforts - case studies, press, providers, etc. There are 200 providers listed currently in 44 countries. Over 800 sites have been listed so far by providers. Next steps are to get more good case studies. Alex wants a job board added to Plone.net - "I need somebody to help me set up a Plone server..."

Plone Logo Refresh

Plone has a refreshed logo designed by Jola Hyjek.

Documentation

There was a documentation sprint at Google earlier this year that has greatly organized all of the docs on plone.org. It should now be much easier to find documentation for any need. There is another sprint coming up that is going to be attended by 140 people! The "add-on product" area of plone.org was redesigned by Steve McMahon and Veda Williams to make it much easier to find relevant products. Steve will be maintaining this area going forward. Alex congratulated the Plone 3 core development team, in particular Wichert Akkerman and Alec Mitchell. Alex thinks this is the strongest release ever.

Related Trends

Zope 3 is the biggest trend in that Plone is embracing the Z3 component architecture. Big improvements in software configuration and deployment in Plone. The testing suite story has improved as well. Zope Corporation has been a real thought leader in this space. Zope is now roughly 10 years old. There is a lot more community involvement than ever before. Alex rarely has to poke and prod people to get things done anymore. The demand for Plone services is outstripping the supply of service providers. A large percentage of the people at the conference have companies that are doing really well building sites with Plone. Many of them are looking to hire more developers. It's important to get more programmers into the fold.

Evangelism

Plone needs to do an even better job. The fact that Plone is in the top 2% of open source projects in size does not reflect in buzz. Talk about Plone on social networking sites like Digg. Go to user groups. Tell people about Plone. A print brochure is available for download on plone.org.

The Road Ahead

The future of Plone: make the technology more approachable for new people. Usability. Plone 3.0 added serious infrastructure and took a long time to develop. We want to get Plone 3.1 out more quickly -- 100% compatible with 3.0. Plone 3.1 will be a polish. For example, getting Kupu more robust and working on Safari. Roadmap: There will be a strategic planning meeting in February, 2008 at Googleplex. The results of this will inform the next major release. One of the things they want to look at is "Approachable Plone". Do some competitive analysis - why have we seen so many people moving from Vignette to Plone lately? Some upcoming events: a higher education event. A North American Plone Symposium (stay tuned).