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Open Source Plone CMS

An introduction to the open source content management system, Plone, and case study on implementing

Open Source Plone CMS

  1. A welcome to Plone
    1. What Plone is and some of its background
  2. Case Study: Design and Implementation of CareerTech Website
    1. Our experiences with Plone
    2. Choosing an Open Source CMS for our Agency
    3. Examples and demos

Welcome to Plone

  • A content management system (CMS)

Plone - Name and Purpose

  • Find what you are looking for...
  • Allows for collaboration, while eliminating duplication of effort.
The word Plone originally comes from the electronic band Plone that used to exist on the Warp record label. The music is playful and minimalistic.
The founders of Plone-the-Software (Alan Runyan and Alexander Limi) were listening to Plone-the-Band when they met (as well as during the initial coding/design of Plone) - and one of the original quotes floating around at the time was that "Plone should look and feel like the band sounds". Thus, a legend was born. ;)
The current status of Plone-the-Band is not known.
Plone is pronounced in the same manner as the word "grown". It is not spelled out when you say it, and is not an abbreviation for anything.

Plone is Open and Accessible

  • Braille for "O" ... to be open and accessible. Available in many languages, built with accessibility in mind from the beginning.

Plone is Pluggable, extensible, amplifies your voice

  • Power to integrate, modify, Plone Add-ons.  The fact that logo looks like an XLR plug — a common connector for microphones — has also been noted.
Some other fun ideas people have thought of since: Plone makes an arrow like the ">" in HTML tags, or even the idea of growing content in a Plone Petri dish!

Plone Easy

A web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and upload content easily.

Plone Anywhere


Floating globe of the planet earth, in this case representing the concept of the world wide web.

  • Capable of managing content from anywhere with internet access.


Plone Design and Features

  • Plone runs on the Zope application server, which is written in Python.
  • Plone by default stores all information in Zope's built-in transactional object database (ZODB).
  • Repeatable deployments with buildout
  • Built-in scalability with Zeo

Plone Design and Features (cont.)

  • Granular Role-based Security
  • Excellent Workflow
  • Very capable document management system
  • Multilingual and unicode support is excellent
  • Great community

Plone System Requirements

What is needed to run Plone?

  • Operating System
  • Memory
  • Hardware

Plone Operating System

  • Plone can run on almost any modern operating system.
  • Typically installed on a Linux distribution ex: OpenSuSe
  • Officially: XP or later, OSX 10.4  or later, Linux 2.6 or later.

Plone Memory Requirements

  • Plone can run on as little as 200MB to 300MB according to their documentation.
  • There is a direct correlation between the speed of the site and RAM. Ex: As the site grows in content, users, product etc more RAM will be required for caching.
  • We have traditionally used 1-2GB of RAM for our production sites.

Plone Hardware

  • A single processor is fine for small deployments.
  • We have used a single dual core AMD 64 processor for years for production sites.
  • Recently we have virtualized and continue to only allocate a single processor.
  • The CPU utilization is generally very low.

Plone Hardware (cont.)

  • Storage requirements will naturally vary by project.
  • Careertech production CMS weighs in at 164GB
  • Horizon CMS just 5GB
  • Traditionally we have used single SATA 7200RPM drives. Very low cost and have done well, going on 5 years.

Plone Installation

  • Software dependencies, not an inclusive list:
  • libjpeg, readline, zlib, libbz2, libxslt, libxml2, python, gcc
  • Note: allow your package manager to get these for you



Case Study - The CareerTech Website


Plone Hello! :-)

  • 2003 - There's new technology and guess what?  It's Free and Open Source.

Plone Hello - Accessibility

  • HB2197 - Oklahoma's Electronic Information and Technology Accessibility Law

Plone Goodbye :-(

  • Too much change, too quick, without process - can turn a good thing bad in the eyes of our users.
  • In the eyes of rigid divisional areas, Plone was the devil. And if speaking its name was Taboo.

Plone in Hiding - Still Gives Freely

  • While Plone and its magical abilities were embraced by the IT staff and a few divisions ready to move forward, it largely disappeared from view as an option for agency websites.
  • With Accessibility laws about to pass, Plone didn't care it had been rejected, it still gave all it could.
  • Plone stripped down to HTML templates created from the accessible output of Plone.

Plone Re-Invented - From the ground up

  • Change is hard, but with some freebies it can be made a heck of a lot easier.
  • WebTechs adoption, change is noticed.
  • Plone silently and humbly pushes on, helping the content find accessible homes across the world wide web.

Plone Re-Invented - Through a Design Process

Plone Re-Invented - Permission Granted (minus the budget)

  • Completely overhaul all the agency's websites. So what can be do without a budget?
  • Web Team formed
  • Web Design Process implemented


  • Internal and External Audits of CareerTech (CT) Websites and their use of CT Branding.
  • Through the years many CareerTech related websites formed to meet the needs of their expanding services to various customers.


Discovery - Ummm...

ct logo audit many brands

  • Result: CareerTech had grown too localized and independent of one another and its brand equity was suffering.  People knew of particular services, but rarely knew they were part of the CareerTech education system.

Discovery – Audit Results

  • CT Website needs to be united and updated in the following areas:
    • Brand Identity Design
    • Consistent and Customer-focused Navigation Design
    • Content Management System (CMS) for Technical Infrastructure

Discovery – Requirements

Conceptional graphic with plotter printer on one side and then a huge website site map on the right with a WebTech silhouette holding paperwork on the right.

Discovery - Requirements

  • Feature Requirements - Feedback from out current web contributors, aka WebTechs.  Our customers have hearts.
  • Content Requirements - Site-map Project workshops conducted for WebTechs.
  • Total Site-maps: 60 total websites.
    • 56 are major agency content areas or divisional websites
    • 4 are web applications or other and will remain standalone systems.
  • Requirements Document - Management sign-off before moving forward.


Design - Choosing the right CMS

  • You have your requirements, time to shop.
  • You mean other than plone? Yes, the wonderful world of open source CMS.

Design - Choosing the right CMS (cont.)

  • CMS matrix
  • Testing and demos

Design - Plone Rises!

Say wha?  Why did Plone rise above the rest?

  • Ease of end customer editing and it's folder like organization of content.
  • Possibility to extend with other systems we have built on Plone and Zope framework.


Design - Plone Internally Branded: CT UNITED

ct united website banner

  • Plone is masked during migration. Combining the power of many sites into one.

Design - Plone Skin Before (Default)

Design - Plone Skin After (CT UNITED)

New Graphical User Interface to match current brand identity:


Design - Homepage Features


Design - Homepage Features (cont.)


View detailed explanation of the homepage features


Design - Search Feature

  • You can search across the entire site! To accomplish this, simply use the Global Search Bar:


Design - Search Feature: Live and Instant Results

  • The "Live Search" provides instant options as you type:


Design - Search Feature: Quickly Narrow Your Search

  • You can quickly narrow your search at any time and focus only on one section or area of the site at a time:



Credits and Sources

Plone Development - Templates, Add-ons, and Coding

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