[Product-Developers] Re: How can we win the battle for developers?

Martin Aspeli optilude at gmx.net
Thu May 8 20:46:07 UTC 2008

Dylan Jay wrote:

>> I think there are two ways to look at this:
>>  1. You can't find good developers because no-one wants to do Plone work.
>>  2. You can't find good developers because Plone is growing and everyone is
>> busy.
>> If you look at plone.net, there are over 250 companies that offer Plone
>> services. I don't think that's a sign of weakness.
> Not weakness now but potentially in the future. I think there a lots of 
> companies using plone because they have settled on the best technology 
> available, ie Plone. It delivers. We all know that.

I wasn't talking about companies using Plone (there are many more of 
those); I was talking about companies offering Plone services.

> But my argument is that if all the fresh blood is doing into 
> ruby/django/drupal then they will be reinventing the wheel there instead 
> of discovering Plone and improving it.

Sure, that could happen, and it would be unfortunate.

>> Plone is never going to beat PHP for attracting college kids who want to put
>> together a quick dynamic website (not that this is all PHP is good for, of
>> course). That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Most people who buy
>> Plone services also want to deal with professionals with some experience. I
>> think Plone has a place in the market for skills and investment, and it does
>> reasonably well there.
> Professionals all started as collage kids. And many professionals are 
> hobbiests who want to play with technology in their spare time at first, 
> but that soon terns into a serious skill and that turns into 
> contributing to the community or offering their services to others.
> These are the people we want to attract. These are the people who will 
> use google app engine and django to create some play apps. Or use drupal 
> and start telling everyone who extensible and powerful it is. and then 
> convince their corporate IT to use drupal for their intranet.
> For these reasons I think we can't be too arrogant about what kind of 
> developers we attract and how many.

I certainly don't think we should be arrogant. But I'm not sure you've 
captured the whole market with this analogy. People who make technology 
decisions usually make them based on more than what they happen to have 
tinkered with. They look at things like track record, scalability, 
availability of support and feature sets. By your argument, no-one would 
be building applications on J2EE. ;-)

> I noticed in the summit summary some words about hosting. I think this 
> is pretty important for attracting developers and we can do more in that 
> area. I don't think any action items got created for this.

See http://dev.plone.org/plone/ticket/7837

> I was thinking about how easy we could make plone deployment.
> What is it people want to know? How easy is it going to be and how cheap 
> is it. With VPS prices coming down you can host a few plone sites for 
> $20 a month.

I don't think that's viable, unfortunately. You're looking at more like 
$100 a month for something that can serve a moderate site. That's still 
cheap, of course.

> You just have to
> - learn some unix admin.
> - and find a VPS hoster.
> - work out how much memory you need
> - and setup a buildout on your machine
> - and put your code in svn

You don't need this, of course.

> - and deploy it to the server
> - and then buildout on the server and then run.
> Buildout is awsesome and that is so much less than it used to be. but 
> can we do more?

See the link above.

> Can we make google app engine experience that will work on an ecosystem 
> of VPS hosters?

I kind of doubt it. But then, I'm not sure I agree that this is such a 
hugely important factory. Deployment could be simplified, for sure, but 
I'm not sure that's where it hurts the most, by any stretch.

> We need a server builder.

Do we? :)

> Download an installer. It runs the buildout builder and then the server 
> builder. Pick from a list of supported Ihosting companies. Hit "go" and 
> you have a complete development environment and deployment environment 
> all setup for you.
> Just an idea.

I think that'd be cool, but realistically, that's going to take a *lot* 
of setup and relationships with hosting providers. I also think that for 
serious sites, people are going to want something more bespoke over 
which they have more control.


Author of `Professional Plone Development`, a book for developers who
want to work with Plone. See http://martinaspeli.net/plone-book

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