Plone 4 (news, site) not only ramps up on features but also paves the way for future releases that will offer even more.

Hitting The Big 4.0

Faster is an Olympic ideal, beauty an aesthetic one and ease of use is most IT and knowledge worker's idealistic dream. Combine the three and you have a pretty powerful reason to get downloading the new version of open source Web CMS Plone which has them all as its headline improvements.

In our last story on Plone 4, we had it listed as out in December 2009, clearly a lot of extra work has gone on under the hood to get it into shape. But the developers now seem confident they have the right package and are throwing it open for launch this week.

Easy Upgrade, Better Performance

First things first, the new version offers a quick and easy upgrade route for Plone 3 users and regular installers for Windows, Mac and Linux users trying it out for the first time. Once up and running, power users will be testing out that claim of "50% faster than Plone 3" with a vengeance.

In the mean time, aesthetes should be impressed by the new Sunburst theme that offers style and simplicity.


Sunburst takes Plone back to basics, with style

Under the Hood

Plone 4 ships with Python 2.6 and Zope 2.12, making use of the improvements within. It includes TinyMCE as its HTML editor, replacing Kupu. For those obsessed with pop-ups (grrr) Plone 4 now includes an overlay framework using jQuery Tools allowing dynamic pop-ups -- including AJAX forms -- to your sites.

Learning Opportunities

With better RAM usage from both Plone itself and Python, it offers a better footprint through memory efficiencies, claiming an average of around 20%, particularly with Zope able to directly access large BLOB files from storage. A lot of these features are discussed in the following video.

Better Administration, Search

When the admins and users get hold of a new CMS, they always want to play and Plone 4 has a few new tricks to impress and improve our lot. Admins can create users accounts faster, grouping of permissions has been improved with nested groups, while logging in and making quick edits has also been made easier.

Searching has also been boosted by the addition of an easier to use advanced search form and improved searching for some Asian languages, which opens up Plone to whole new markets. It supports over 40 languages and, as mentioned, prepares the ground for the next major upgrade, Plone 5 in the future.

Plone 4 is a dinky 30+ Mb download, depending on your target system and is available now. PLone 4.1 is coming soon and will update Python to the latest version and add more minor fixes.