Alexander Limi, co-founder of project and Plone and the main person behind the Plone user interface, recently announced that he has accepted a job offer at Google where he will join their user interface design team. When I first heard this news, I was concerned about the version 3.0 release which is designated as a UI focused release and which Limi has a central role. I am somewhat comforted in knowing that Limi will actually have more time to work on this effort than he currently does thanks to Google's generous one day a week policy. Google already supports many open source projects through its Summer of Code program
What about Limi's company Plone Solutions? Limi will remain on the board and remain active on projects that Plone Solutions is involved with (most notably LinguaPlone.)
I can see why Google recruited Alexander Limi. Both Limi and the Google design teams appear to share the same design values of simplicity and cleanness. Limi is famous for taking out more code than he puts in to keep the UI from becoming clunky, uncluttered, and non-compliant with accessibility standards (Plone is one of the most accessibility compliant CMS available. So much so that many government organizations use Plone to ensure their compliance). Also, Plone's focus on accessiblity has a side effect of making the generated HTML particularly usable by search engine crawlers.
So, I wish Alexander good luck on the new job and I am sure that the Plone community will keep him honest on his promise to stay involved.
Over the past couple of months, two new books have come out on Plone:
The Definitive Guide to Plone by Andy McKay (a lead developer on the Plone team) available online for free and onpaper from APress.
Plone Content Management Essentials by Julie Meloni available from SAMS.
The review on Slashdot is very thorough and interesting.
Plone is becoming a real market leader in content management software. Consider that:
"The UK's Ministry of Defence's Defence Academy says it chose Plone and Zope, an open source content management system and supporting application server, for the software's functionality, not its negligible cost." (Infoconomy Article)
Two major newspaper sites (Boston Globe and the San Diego Union-Tribute) use Plone
The chief objection that I hear about Plone is Python and lack of in house skills. I have a feeling that with books like this, this trend may change. I wonder if Python and Zope could be the de-facto technologies for content management. Given that Zope has been designed from the ground up as a content management focused application server and Python is an extremely effective and high performing programming language, I would not count the possibility out.
There is a good discussion on the Drupal site comparing Plone and Drupal. Many of the contributors have experience with both systems and the general consensus is that Drupal is good to quickly stand up small sites and Plone is better for larger more complicated content management initiatives.
Here is a summary of the comments:
Plone is an enterprise-grade CMS that can support complicated workflow and permissioning and high traffic volumes. Drupal is targeted for smaller sites.
Drupal's LAMP based architecture is more open than Plone's Zope (all in one application server and database).
Python is higher performing and more object oriented, but more difficult to learn than PHP.
Plone has fewer but more polished releases than Drupal
Drupal's UI is very intuitive and requires little training