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

Martin Aspeli optilude at gmail.com
Mon Oct 27 09:15:14 UTC 2014

This. What he said. Talking about rewrites and architecture and pyramid and Python 3 is completely moot unless we *start* with the customer and the end user the customer is buying the solution for. And their expectations have changed *trememdously* in the past 5 years.  

Of course we tried this in 2007 when Alex and others invented Deco (the original, bold, clean and beautiful concept) and that may well have done it. I still think that it's better than anything else out there even now, although the gap is narrowing.

We tried again in 2011 with the CMSUI sprint that was less ambitious but would have provided a more robust platform to build from and was the thing that was going to unlock Diazo to make Plone the most designer-friendly CMS in the world (a specific, targeted route to market).

Both stalled at the fun first 80%, got confused with other things, stumbled with complex and boring legacy and migration challenges, ran short out funding and enthusiasm and suffered from a lack of sufficient first hand front end skill and architectural vision. The last 80% proved incredibly hard to pull off.

I really hope Plone 5 and mockup are the ones that succeed.


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On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 8:55 AM, Fulvio Casali <fulviocasali at gmail.com>

> On Fri Oct 24 2014 at 4:42:35 PM Steve McMahon <steve at dcn.org> wrote:
>> 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.
> Speaking of usability:
> I strongly disagree - "does a pretty good job" is being fantastically
> generous.  Plone might have been a leader in usability in 2004, but in
> 2014?  In OOTB Plone 4.3 (without mockup) how many page reloads and how
> many clicks does it take to do some really basic *content management*
> actions?  "Pretty good" does not cut it.
> We (developers, consultants, and what not) are not the only ones spending a
> large part of our days using many different applications on the web.  Our
> clients do, too.  They notice the advances in interactivity, dynamicism and
> UI fluidity (not to mention mobile-responsiveness) that have taken place
> over the years, even though they may not have the words to describe the
> differences.  Plone just feels clunky and dated.  And non-Plone developers
> notice that, too.  Frankly, I feel more and more embarrassed with the UI of
> my Plone-based solutions that I put in front of my clients.  Of course I
> can develop some custom jquery-ajax-y things in my project-specific add-ons
> like everybody else, but I can't overhaul the entire base UI of Plone.
> That's the particular patch of sand that I stick my head in.
> I'm glad mockup is in the 5 pipeline, and I'm looking forward to thethet's
> and frapell's training Monday and Tuesday here at Ploneconf.  I just don't
> know enough about mockup to be able to express a judgement over whether
> this is THE solution to Plone's UI backwardness.  Let's just say I'm going
> into it with great expectations:
> - we don't just need better widgets, though we definitely do (boy, do we
> ever!)
> - we don't just need a way to skin a site without affecting the editing UI
> - we do need an end-to-end UI overhaul
> - we need to be able to re-use UI elements in add-ons
> - we need to be able to customize and extend UI elements in add-ons
> A little story:  a client of mine recently decided to move their site to
> Weebly, and without telling me, they manually rebuilt their entire site on
> that platform, top to bottom.  Now, before you scoff that a small site that
> can be done in Weebly does not belong on Plone, here's the kicker:  before
> they could go live with the Weebly site, they reached out to me because
> they needed styling help with some forms.  They had not realized, or
> forgot, that those forms constituted the integration of their Plone site
> with their SalesForce account.  The eye-opening moment for me came when
> they gave me a login to their Weebly site, and I got to play with it.  Try
> it out, if you haven't.  No wonder!  I would go with Weebly, too!
> The Weeblys and Squarespaces of the world are supposed to live in a
> completely different market from what Plone would be used for.  My
> contention is that if Plone's editing UI does not allow our users to do
> Plone things in a Weebly way, or better, then we are dead.  And I'm not
> even talking about Wordpress or Drupal.  Weebly.  Squarespace.
> Another example:  I used to keep the accounting for my company in that
> horrible, unadulterated piece of junk that everybody uses because it had a
> near-monopoly:  QuickBooks.  (I don't know how widespread it is outside the
> US.)  In roughly a decade, thanks to its monopoly, Intuit never really had
> any incentive to improve it, just making minor incremental fixes.  For
> whatever reason, in the last couple of years they developed the online
> version, which usability-wise occupies an entirely different galaxy.  It's
> a web app that in my personal opinion completely eclipses and beats the
> pants off the desktop version, and most other web apps I can think of.
> Whether one should or should not use QuickBooks is beside the point.  Their
> web UI completely rocks.  I can't even believe I'm in a web browser when
> I'm using it.
> A lot of the debate has been focused on the backend - Zope, Pyramid, etc.
> Our backend still allows us to do things that other systems can't do.  The
> reason why we are looking at the backend is because most Plone devs have
> the expertise to improve that side of the equation.  That's not where the
> growth is.  We are not looking enough on the front end, because most of us
> do not feel really strong there.  So that's where the growth has to
> happen.  And where it's needed the most.
> It's too easy to pooh-pooh this argument in the rarefied air we breathe
> from the lofty heights of our UNIX shells while looking down at "shiny
> UIs".  The UI matters.  It matters to developers who see Plone for the
> first time, because they want to impress their clients.  It mattered in
> 2001.  It mattered when Plone was the usability leader.  It still does.  We
> don't want to be the QuickBooks for Windows XP.
> All the other PLIPs, dexterity work, etc, need to go forward, but those are
> not what will make a difference for Plone's future.  We need a Plone UI
> "Apollo project".  That is what I want to contribute to, in whatever small
> way I can.
> (I know that nothing happens in an open-source project unless someone jumps
> in and does it.  But one can dream - or dread.)
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