Guido Stevens: The Plone Intranet Consortium

published Oct 30, 2014, last modified Nov 16, 2014

Talk by Guido Stevens at the Plone Conference 2014 in Bristol.

This is a big picture presentation. But don't worry, there will be a demo at the end.

United we stand, divided we fall. Plone is in a rough spot. Let's design and build some solutions. Yes, Wordpress is eating our lunch and our cake, but we should not sit back.


I have my own company, Cosent.

The Plone community is good. The backend code is good. The user interface was good, but has fallen back. Good enough is not good enough anymore. We need to do better. Only excellent user experience will win us customers.

When as a Plone company you want to sell Plone as an Intranet, you have a good starting point, but you are missing lots of pieces. You would have to build that yourself and let one customer pay for it. That is not going to happen, or at least it is a hard sale.

In the Plone community, the number of commits per month is rising, and the number of committers per month is also rising. Doing pretty well.

So what is wrong? We need to evolve or we will die, like dinosaurs. Plone Core currently is Web 1.0. We need a Plone Social, web 2.0: read/write, social networking, activity stream, time centric, personal perspectives, bottom-up sharing.


In 2010 I had the choice to ditch Plone or fix Plone. I chose to put all my eggs in one basket: Plone. Is Plone Social good enough? No. Look at Jive, that is some serious competition. We do not need to beat such a SAAS product, but we need to be close. Then customers will still prefer the local company that is closer to them and more attuned to their needs.

I think the "spare time" model of development is broken. It has brought us this far, but it is not enough anymore. Stuff is nearly finished on sprints, and then lags too long.

We need a new model. We have the talent, the technology. We can do it. We need to invest in a high quality, out-of-the-box product baseline. Low purchase cost, immediate sales appeal, fast delivery, shared maintenance across the community, new community ethos in collaborating together.

As Plone Intranet Consortium we band together and want to work on this. We had a meeting after the Plone conference last year. Every company there had their own workspace solution, everyone was maintaining their own stack. But they did not have enough resources to generalize it for the community.

Design first. Design is not about eye candy. You start with a decent vision of what your strategy is, what your project is trying to solve.

Roadmap-driven Scrum development. Normal working day, in company time. Legitimate leadership serves the community. The consortium board funds the roadmap. Investment per company: 1000 euro per month, plus one developer day per week. Cash is used to hire people to help with the design. Sprint every Wednesday.

It is 100 percent open source. It is not a product that we will make money on. We will make money on the service we deliver. We want to move the license to the Plone Foundation, we will talk about that.

What we are developing, are add-ons, not a core fork. Plone 5 compatible. Will port to mockup. You are welcome to join the consortium.

Cornelis has made a patternslib-based clickable prototype, that needs no backend to operate.

Demo by Alexander Pilz.

User experience sells. We showed this demo to a client last week and he thought it was an impressive preview of social functions in future Plone.

Roadmap. Phase one: activity streams, team spaces, dashboards, document structures/wiki. Phase two: calendaring, search, news hub.

We are pioneering a new business model for open source.

  1. Dream a vision.
  2. Combine investment.
  3. Design first! Use dedicated designers.
  4. Develop and release.
  5. (or really 3.1 already) Win customers.

We can boldly go where no one has gone before. We are Plone, we can do anything.

We have an open space tomorrow. Welcome! Sprint on Saturday and Sunday.


Watch the video and slides of this talk.