Timo Stollenwerk: Plone 6 - Power and Control

published Oct 26, 2021

Keynote talk by Timo Stollenwerk at the online Plone Conference 2021.

As a kid, I played tennis. I was taught to hit the ball hard, and as close as possible over the net. Nowadays, trainers tell you to hit the ball slower, hit it longer, giving you more control, with topspin. So that is a trade-off between power and control.

A traditional, classic CMS is usually stuck in the past. Using dead technologies, like jQueryUI, an old stack. That is partially true for Plone 5 as well, although it looks prettier than most of the others.

WordPress uses the Gutenberg editor. Whenever I try out WordPress again, I keep having the feeling: I am not smart enough for this. I add a few images, and want to make them look the same size. They have lots of controls for that. Eventually I succeed, because I am a web developer. For text, you can choose lots of sizes and colors.

But: I am not a designer. I can accidentally pick a color combination that does not work for colorblind people. I don't know all this, so I tinker around and end up with a bad product.

The web is hard. You need a consistent design. Designers themselves are specialized into UI or UX. It needs to be responsive.

Plone 6 is not a classic CMS. It is a modern CMS providing both power and easy of use, and I think it is the only enterprise CMS that offers this.

Albert Casado created the Pastanaga UI. In the toolbar you see options to add or edit or order content, and the rest is still there, but hidden. For image alignment we show four options, and for size three options. This is simple, but it already gives you twelve possible combinations.

The Plone 6 UI is all about blocks, blocks, blocks. Responsive design means you usually have only one column, instead of the three that you can have in Plone 5.2. That single column will be a stream of blocks.

In Plone 6 you can use grid layouts. We started from scratch a couple of times on this, but we have something good now.

We have a teaser block. This is often used for landing pages. You add a teaser block that is linked to an existing content item, and it will show its image, title, description.

Plone 6 will ship with a few default blocks, like text, image, video, table of contents, etcetera. There are about a hundred Plone packages on npm now which have their own blocks. The Plone company Eau de Web works for the EEA (European Environment Agency) and they open source all their blocks, for example a faceted search block. RedTurtle created a forms block. Some others did as well, and then we usually cooperate and end up with an improved version.

We have "No Code Content Types". You can create contenttypes TTW in Plone, but what was always missing, was templates so you can customize how they look. We now have that.

The Volto frontend that will be in Plone 6 is in production use since 2019. A top German government institution uses Plone 6, American universities, Osaka University in Japan, EEA in Europe, many municipalities in Italy.

Today you can use battle tested Plone 5.2 plus Plone REST api plus Volto. That is already Plone 6-ish. You can also use the real Plone 6 alpha release.

In the past, all Plone versions were supported for many many years, but we never really advertised it. Now the Release Team and Security Team have said they will support Plone 6 for at least five years.

If you are not ready yet and need more time before you jump on Volto, then you can use Plone Classic UI. There is no need to rush, we have got you covered.

Summary: Plone 6 provides something really unique.