[Scientific] Re: [Educational] Buildout for a educational Plone site

Andreas Jung lists at zopyx.com
Sun Dec 23 03:39:18 UTC 2007

Hola Nate,

--On 22. Dezember 2007 14:48:01 -0600 Nate Aune <natea at jazkarta.com> wrote:

> Hi Andreas,
> Thanks for taking the initiative to create a buildout. However, I'm
> not sure about some of the products that you've chosen to include.

The bundle contains staff that I am using for deployment to my educational
customers. I am working successfully with several institutions in this 
field...from chairs to institutes to universities).

># ATSchemaExtender
> This one is particularly nasty because it wipes out the entire
> Archetypes directory that comes with stock Plone, and replaces it with
> another one. I'm concerned about migration issues, if someone wants to
> remove the product. Now they have to try to recover the original
> Archetypes directory?

This was a culprit of the old FSD version (which is now using 

># TextIndexNG 3.2.1
> Doesn't Plone3 already provide for full-text searching of Word/PDF
> docs?  It seems like adding another dependency such as TXNG3 is
> unnecessary when Plone3 has this out-of-the-box.
> I realize that TXNG3 has a lot of other advanced functionality, but
> I'm guessing that for most educational institutions, these are not
> must-have features.

A common requirement are multi-lingual websites...and Plone does not 
language-dependent indexing of Plone content (together with LP).

># FileSystemStorage (enabled for File type)
> While FSS is an excellent product, I would be wary of promoting this
> product when a future version of Plone is expected to use Zope's
> built-in blob support in the form of plone.app.blob. If universities
> start using FSS, there could be significant cost in migrating to
> another external file solution.

Right now we have no official Plone solution with blob support and
no official released Zope version with blob support. I don't promote
unreleased staff. I promote solutions that are known to work and that
were reliable in former projects. This conservative strategy is much better
than using cutting-edge software - especially stuff that is not integrated 
into the Plone core so far. In addition using non-Plone-core add-ons were 
always a PITA during migrations. If plone.app.blob becomes more mature and 
if it should go into the Plone core, let's use it...but for now I consider 
it risk deploying Plone sites on unofficial core extensions (especially it 
seems to require a special Zope 2.10 version with blob support). The 
experience (especially the migration experience from some universities 
using Plone 2.X so far) tells us: not staying mainstream -> big migration 
fun (or call it pain).

># ZWiki 0.6
> Again, ZWiki is an excellent product, but Plone 3 now provides a very
> capable Wiki solution in the form of wicked. This is likely to be
> sufficient for most universities needs.

No. Especially when you work with people with a scientific background they 
usually work with ZWiki and extensions like LaTeXWiki.

> I think we want to be careful
> about confusing people with too many choices. Let them try out the
> built-in wiki that comes with Plone 3 first, and then if they find
> it's not sufficient, they can always upgrade later to ZWiki.

As with TXNG: it's optional.

># FCKEditor 2.4.6
> I'm sure FCKEditor has some distinct advantages over Kupu, but why
> replace the default editor with another one, when most universities
> are going to get along just fine with Kupu? Kupu is also more tightly
> integrated with Plone, whereas with FCKEditor, there will be features
> that are missing that Kupu already provides. Why confuse the users
> with yet another choice?

No single customer  is actually  happy with Kupu. FCKeditor works fine with 
Plone 3 and there is no functionality missing. FCKEditor just works and the 
site administrator and the user has the freedom to choose either Kupu or 
FCKeditor. You argue: don't confuse users with multiple editors, I argue: 
don't distract users with a toy editor. If you like Kupu, take it. Most 
professional Plone users don't like Kupu.

> I guess the point I'm trying to make, is let's make a buildout that
> leverages the existing features of Plone 3, and not add any redundant
> and potentially intrusive products unless they add real immediate
> value for the people who are going to be evaluating the product.

Sorry but I have to disagree. The buildout contains software that is 
actually used successfully in educational deployments.

> Sure, some power users will prefer TXNG3 over Plone's default
> full-text indexing, and some will prefer ZWiki over wicked, and some
> will prefer FCKEditor over Kupu, but why include all of these  in a
> "base" distribution of Plone?

See above. The quick installer give the administrator the choice what
to install.

> I could see these add-ons being included in a "advanced / power user"
> edition, but I think for now, the focus should be on letting people
> try out Plone as it comes out-of-the-box, with add-ons that don't try
> to replace existing functionality, but augment or enhance the core CMS
> with features suitable for an educational institution, such as
> FacultyStaffDirectory, CMFBibliographyAT and PloneFormGen. None of
> these products have many dependencies, and can be uninstalled without
> any consequences.

Sorry Nate but I am not working on trialware :-) This is about doing
professional software for professional customers and most universities
or related institutions are not interested in trialware...they want working 
solutions :-)

> While I can completely understand your desire to promote your own
> products (and they are indeed excellent products),

Huh? Except TXNG there no other product from my side. So there is
nothing about promotion.

> I think we should
> weigh that against the needs of the greater educational community.

I have contacts to most German universities and related institutions that 
work with Plone and some of them are customers of mine. So I am aware of 
their needs :-) In addition we have contacts to universities through the
German Zope User Group (DZUG) which has a special committee to deal with 
universities using Zope and their needs. I doubt that the needs of
other universities are much different.

Happy Xmas,

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