Matt Hamilton and Eric Steele - The State of Plone

published Oct 10, 2012

Keynote during the Plone Conference 2012.

This is a talk from the Plone conference 2012.

Matt Hamilton and Eric Steele hold the keynote speach on the State of Plone.

Matt Hamilton is the current President of the Plone Foundation. Eric Steele is the Plone 4 release manager.

So, what has happened the last twelve months? Sometimes you think nothing has happened, but when you start writing it down you get really excited because so much is actually going on. This year a Plone Konferenz in Munich, Plone Symposium South America, Plone Open Garden in Sorrento, Plone Symposium East in the US. So several regional conferences in local languages, which is fantastic. In total between five and six hundred attendees. These are grass roots events, not coordinated by the Plone Foundation, which is good. At this Plone Conference, there are people from 27 different countries. We can be proud of our global diversity.

We have had the Plone 4.2 release and 4.3 is now in alpha. A lot is done during sprints. We average one major Plone sprint per month currently. 5597 commits in the past year, 208 contributors. The past month saw 66 people committing to the core of Plone, with 13 of them being new. We will probably break that record this month. We loose some people who move on to new projects, but there are still more people coming in than have left. The Plone core development list is very active.

There are fourteen new members in the Plone Foundation. These are members who have made major contributions to Plone.

World Plone Day had lots of activities worldwide. We can use more events and developers and users in North Africa, Middle East, India.

We had our sixtieth Plone TuneUp online event, shepherded by Carol Ganz from Six Feet Up. Lots of tickets have been closed. In just that last day, 34 tickets have been solved.

We have the Plone Roadmap. The roadmap team created this ongoing document, which is a high level summary of goals of what we want to do with Plone. Some goals may shift. We want to iterate, have more frequent releases. Introduce new technologies early, before they become the standard. We want to be more aggressive about moving under-used and under-maintained features out of core. We want to keep sane upgrades, instead of possibly breaking backwards compatibility in Plone 5.

Plone has moved to github. All of Plone core has moved, making merges, patches, pull requests much easier. Much of the collective has moved too.

There is a new Windows Installer, which is often the first impression a new user gets. Enfold has done a lot of work here. Ross Patterson has been working on getting a much more native installer. The installer uses the same base buildout as other installers. We have been looking at managed cloud deployment options. We have Bitnami, Turnkey, Ploud.

Elizabeth Leddy and Karl Johann Kleist have been cleaning up the Plone Trac, the ticket system, cleaning up tags, reassigned bugs. Fantastic, really helpful. We have made the bug report form simpler. A QA team triages tickets, checking if they are valid and clear.

Timo Stollenwerk leads an effort on automated testing. This is about maintaining code quality. Jenkins is a big part of this. Recently Travis-CI. We are starting to use the Robot Framework, which helps for testing javascript, which is very much needed with the amount of javascript code we have.

Looking forward

So, what about the next decade? In the beginning of Plone the decisions came down to Alex Limi and Alan Runyan. Now we are no longer dependent so much on individuals. The community owns the project. The Foundation Board handles IP and trademark issues. The Roadmap Team sets the overall direction of the Plone code. The Framework Team deals with the code itself, looking at what is really going in and what not.

I (Eric) want to have three points for the next year: approachability, integration and involvement.


Documentation is a sore point. There is a lot of good stuff, but it is not shepherded right now. So I want to Documentation Team back. I want to make sure all new features get documented. Documentation about doing core development is available, translations are wanted.

For the User Interface we have the UI Team, with Nathan van Gheem. They look at improving our UI so developers know what they should do, what they should keep in mind. The team does UI reviews of core features. WebLion and Paul Roeland have been working on accessibility.

Nejc Zjupan and others are working on plone.api package, which has taken the approach of first creating the documentation and then the code, really good. It makes the 80 percent of tasks in Plone code that you do, much easier, needing much less code.


We have the "3 Ds": Diazo (Plone 4.2), Dexterity (Plone 4.3), Deco/Tiles (probably Plone 4.4).

A lot of people are moving to for example pyramid if they do not really need a CMS. With Diazo you can make it easier to integrate a pyramid application with Plone using the same theme.

Deco is out there, being used, especially the core Use it and we can perfect it.

The Plone Theme Editor, started by Martin Aspeli, is probably the way that at least new developers will create themes, and probably existing developers too. It lowers the barrier massively. Back in May we heard from a group at UCLA who wanted to move to Plone but were a bit scared to start. They heard of the Plone Theme Editor and starting using it and send lots of suggestions to Martin, working with him to improve it. I could not be happier. You can put this in front of someone who is not a Python developer and he can use it. And a core developer can use it too and export it to the filesystem for inclusion in version control.


We want to reduce barriers to contributing.

We are working on a new contributor agreement process, making it easier to understand and still legal. Some lawyers still need to look at it. We are looking at offering mentorship, pairing up new developers with experiences developers. The UI team can help contributors getting the UI right. We want to recognize good work, see the Plone Awards that will be awarded this week.

Call to action

Email from a friend who is along with me during the conference, but basically does not know Plone. She went with me yesterday evening and talked with Plone people and mailed me: "I don't care what they do, I just want to be a part of it."

What are you going to help with in the next twelve months? How can you make Plone better. Help is needed in code, community or process.