[Plone-conference] Openspace: growing plone | as a brand

Steve McMahon steve at dcn.org
Fri Oct 24 14:42:08 UTC 2014

Speaking of semantics ...

The term "users" has come up a lot in this conversation — sometimes to
suggest that the interests of users and consultants are at odds. There's
nothing wrong with the term, unless we're compressing it down into one kind
of users at the expense of others.

We've got lots of kinds of users:

   - end users and content maintainers: (no particular interest in how the
   site and theme reached them);
   - webmasters: maintain one or a few sites, both content and theme;
   - integrators: choose the platform, implement original themes, combine
   with other solutions;
   - developers: do custom and particular features

And, there are spectrums within each of those:

Ends users and content maintainers: accessibility and usability are
paramount. I think Pone does a pretty good job at all but the most
sophisticated needs. We could do better for that with a better tile story.

Webmasters: Because they do it all and are less likely to deploy sites with
lots of content-maintainers, this group may be less interested in issues
like authentication and workflow; that just makes things more complicated.
Likewise, they may not care much about API. TTW configuration is paramount,
even for theming. The lower end of this group needs software-as-a-service;
the higher end needs something like CPanel — and treats it like an
operating system. Plone probably does most poorly for this group; this is
WordPress' market par excellence.

Integrators: a very broad spectrum. The low end is effectively webmaster
for multiple organizations using CPanel-like deployment. Plone also does
poorly for these users. The higher end deploys on the OS level and executes
original themes. They may serve very large clients and can really care
about authentication, workflow and i18n. Plone as-is is superb for this
market, but has lost share to Drupal, liferay and such.

And, other users, like .edu or .gov institutions, make span the full user
spectrum. A departmental webmaster may do all the content and maybe even
theming, but will have support to handle issues like authentication.

I think the market we serve most poorly is webmasters to low-end
integrators. I don't think it's because we're more "developer-driven" than
other projects. I think it's history: the very low resource needs and
integration requirements for light installs of the PHP systems kept us out
of that market while they expanded. There really wasn't much we could do
about that in the past. It's hurt us, because webmasters often graduate to
being institutional decision makers. We can probably do better now than
before due to commodity cloud hosting. But we'll need to find an "in" to a
very saturated market.

The original post that I wrote that got some people upset was not meant to
say "I don't care about webmasters." But it was meant to point out the
proposed metric of maximizing the install base would (and I think was meant
to) focus attention on the webmaster-to-low-level-integrator group of users
in particular. My point was meant to be: don't lose our strengths chasing a
metric focused on one slice of users.

By the way, I'm bothering with a long response because I know that it won't
be possible in a single open space to have any kind of real discussion. I
hope we're all reading, thinking, and will be ready to discuss these
questions all conference long -- not just in one open space.


On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 5:50 AM, Paul Roeland <paul at cleanclothes.org> wrote:

> On 23-10-14 19:29, Chris Calloway wrote:
> >
> > It could also help some other friends who need some help, our Zope
> > friends. The ZF hasn't been able to muster even a meeting or a board
> > elections this year. They see themselves as existing only for supporting
> > Plone. I floated the idea at symposium of merging the foundations (to be
> > fair, I previously heard a similar idea on the ZF email list) but only
> > got lukewarm response as to how many problems that would present. But
> > the ZF is also a software conservancy upon which Plone is dependent, as
> > well as Pyramid and its children. We should recognize at least Z3A
> > conservancy as in everybody's interest.
> >
> > Likewise, Pyramid and its children have no conservancy whatsoever. I
> > talked to Chris McDonough about this briefly and he hasn't dealt with it
> > as he hasn't seen it as a concern... yet. But as we know, that leaves
> > more concerns about sustainability for customers of Pyramid and its
> > children than for its developers. There are many common interests and I
> > do believe some degree of cross-pollination is in everyone's interest,
> > as well as sharing the burdens of meta-infrastructure like foundations.
> >
> I disagree on this point, quite substantially. One of the things that
> make Plone (and the Plone Foundation) great, is that there is a lot of
> appreciation for non-coder, non-dev input. Hey, you've even let little
> old me in, who pretty much never has written any useful code in his life
> ;-)
> The community is much more than the code. And while code conservancy of
> at least Z3A should be on our minds, and I love the Pyramid people as
> well, I do see the PF as much more as 'burden of meta-infrastructure
> like foundations'. Or as something that can easily be merged.
> Now that may be semantics, but hey I do documentation now too as well as
> being a NGO veteran, and semantics and culture are highly important to me.
> But this has not much to do with the original discussion on this
> specific openspace, so is maybe a good topic for other discussions, and
> doesn't need to be drawn out in this email thread. Still, couldn't keep
> my mouth shut. Sorry...
> Paul
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