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Timo Stollenwerk: On the Road - Plone 6 and Beyond

Talk by Timo Stollenwerk at the Plone Conference 2019 in Ferrara.

Collections are hard to explain in user trainings. In most cases you have to explain default pages first. Can we make this simpler? In Volto we do this by having folderish pages.

What if we kill all content types, and rely on one content type to rule them all? Confession: I actually voted against folderish pages in the Framework Team twice. So I was sceptical. With Volto we thought, let's give it a try, and we got overwhelmingly positive feedback. It avoids cognitive overhead.

Same with the Save button. Pastanaga puts this in the top left corner of the page, and I hated it. Then I actually tried it for 30 seconds and loved it.

Composite pages. The idea has been around for ages, and there have been lots of add-ons that do this, but it was never really good enough for core. Always a problem for migration.

Naming things. Some names are open for discussion. We renamed tiles to blocks. We renamed proxy to teaser. Topics, Smart Folders, Collections: in Volto we simply call this Listings.

I rediscovered a blog by Alexander Limi, one of the original creators of Plone: https://limi.net/things-plone Still an interesting list after all these years. And I recognize parts in the Pastanaga UI.

Plone in 2019 is tiny. This means we cannot afford to reinvent the wheel over and over again. So Volto builds on React, which has far more contributors. We tried Angular and Vue too, but React seems the best system. And we use the standard stack with React, Redux, Semantic UI. This will be very familiar to most React developers.

We have trained people with zero experience in html and css, and in three days they could basically theme a Plone Site, even though we only started talking about Plone and Volto in the last two hours of the last day. It was really amazing.

With Plone 6 we aim to simplify the stack. There are several PLIPs (PLone Improvement Proposals), like having the Plone Site root be a dexterity item. Most of these are optional, they would be nice to have for cleaning things up, but they are not strictly necessary. You can use "Plone 6" today:

  • Plone 5.2
  • Python 3
  • Volto 4

Carrot and stick: selling a Plone upgrade just because you get Python 3, and not the unsupported Python 2 (stick), may not be enough to convince your customer. As extra carrot you can say: you can have Volto.

You can try Volto out live: https://volto.kitconcept.com (Still Volto 3 at this point.) This weekend, come join the code sprint at the conference.