Eric Steele: State of Plone

published Oct 18, 2017

Keynote talk by Eric Steele at the Plone Conference 2017 in Barcelona.

Welcome to Barcelona! Great to be here. The Plone Barceloneta theme was made here, guillotina started here.

Plone 5.1 release candidate 1 is out.

Some of the features:

  • collective.indexing integrated in core, to speed up indexing operations
  • new portal actions control panel, so you can manage these in the Plone UI
  • we support Retina (high definition) scales
  • auto rotation for images

When: soon.

The stories that preserve our past. I want to talk about stories today. People leave projects, other people replace them, if you are doing it right. Contributors start of doing small things now and then, and then get hooked and start to do more and more, and then it usually goes down, and they may go to another job and another project than Plone. When all is well, others persons then stand up, and the project still continues.

Debian: developer half life of about 7.5 years: after that time, half of the developers are no longer involved. Others step up. Continuous renewal is needed, keeping the project fresh. You run into problems when a new generation does not step up quickly enough. If knowledge isn't shared, it is lost.

Alex Limi: we can have heated discussions in the community online, but usually you have seen the other person on a conference or sprint, and this helps in keeping the discussion healthy.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: if you want to build a ship, you don't tell people to get hammers and nails and wood and sail, but you teach people to yearn for the sea.

Blog post Martin Aspeli years ago: Pete and Andy try Plone 4, where he highlights some things that they like and that they miss. Several of these ideas are in current Plone.

Cal Doval was a designer who created a mockup of how the add-ons control panel could work. People saw this and knew that they wanted it. It is now in Plone.

It's time for new stories. For example: the Pastanaga UI, which Timo Stollenwerk will now talk about.


Pastanaga UI was created by Albert Casada. Pastanaga means carrot, and the logo is a stylised carrot. Albert worked on this in his free time, creating hundreds of icons, etc. I was impressed before I even saw it. Main ideas:

  • Simplify. Do not show what the user does not need to see.
  • Adaptive user interface. More people are viewing web sites on mobile devices than on desk tops now. You UI should work good on all kinds of devices.
  • Focus. I was writing a blog post in my code editor. [Note from Maurits: me too.] We want users to do that in Plone. Most current CMSes use TinyMCE or a similar editor, like Plone does, and we no longer stand out. The most time of our users is probably spent in TinyMCE, so we should make this better again.

Pastanaga is a carrot. Albert said he wanted a carrot on a stick, to entice people into using Plone again.

Another story. Ramon did all the stuff on, I saw he wast smart, so I just nodded and created a few tests. I did not have much time to work on it afterwards. Others came and made it work with Archetypes, which we did not initially want, but they improved our initial code to make it flexible, so why not. Then Eric Bréhault came along for plone.restapi. Then people worked on an angular client. So: we told a story, did some work, and others jumped in.

It is hard to maintain stuff on our own. We must become consumers of libraries that are already there, especially javascript libraries. Do not reinvent, but reuse.

For us developers, it is cool to create a version of Plone that works on Zope 4, or Python 3, but clients mostly do not care. They need something else, like the Pastanaga UI.

Make Plone outstanding again.


It's time for new stories. Start writing them. Thank you.