Advice for a replacement for plone.

Dmitry S. Makovey dmitry at
Fri Oct 3 02:48:54 CEST 2008

disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with any company selling Plone services ;)
I also have nothing against Django and such. 

Ken Seehart wrote:

> I want a new python based CMS.  ... One that won't keep me up all night
> ....
> I've been fooling around with zope and plone, and I like plone for some
> things, such as a repository for online project documentation.  However
> for general-purpose web development it is too monolithic.  

did you try to actually strip off all main_template stuff and create your
own from scratch? That gets rid of "monolithic" part but requires some
discipline from you while giving you benefits of Plone (skins etc.)

I think you've got misconceptions about CMS as-is. CMS doesn't preclude any
look-and-feel, it just happens that Plone comes with default out-of-the-box
that suits 80% of population. If you don't fall into 80% - you're free to
customize the heck out of it. I know I did :)

I haven't seriously touched Plone in a while (since 2.1.x series) but the
above suggestion comes from the times when I was involved in Plone-related
development. It's an excelent tool running on a pretty stable and scalable
platform, I wouldn't give it up that easy if I were you. see below for

> Is there 
> anything out there with the following properties?
> 0. Web page being developed is a typical small business home page (i.e.
> not a newspaper or a blog).

easy with customized Plone

> 1. Page owner can edit pages on line with no expertise (plone does great
> here).

well, you've said it ;)

> 2. Main page does not look plone-like.  For an example of a main page
> that does not look plone-like, see  Note the
> lack of CMS style navigation widgets.

yep. get rid of main_template and start from scratch is that's what you're
after. otherwise it's not too hard to adapt skin to look like whatever you
want while maintaining all those widgets under-the-hood so if you log in -
it all "springs up" at editor. 

> 3. Item 2 should be reachable with nearly no effort (plone fails utterly
> here).

not exactly (about plone fails). see above ;)

> 4. Target viewer (not the owner), should /not/ see something that looks
> at all like a CMS system, but rather see exactly what the page owner
> wants the page to look like.

not sure what you mean here. sounds exactly like #2 and #3

> 5. Page owner should be able to view and navigate the tree of contents,
> and select pages to edit with a wysiwyg editor (plone does great here)...

see my comment for #2

> 6. ... But the target viewer should not see this tree.  See items 2 and 4.

comment for #2

> 7. Potential to add python scripted pages of various kinds.


> <philosophy> There are a couple different design approaches to making a
> development environment.  You can let the developer start with nothing,
> and provide the developer with tools to create something (e.g. zope,
> most plain text editors), or you can start with a finished result and
> let the developer rip out and discard what is not desired (e.g. plone).
> I often prefer to start with nothing.  It's a natural starting point.
> Note that systems that are based on starting with nothing can provide
> the benefits of starting with something by providing templates and such.
> </philosophy>

maybe what you want to look at - CMF (Plone's foundation). It's got lots of
things Plone reuses but it's a minimalistic set of tools. 

> I would love to see a system that would give me an editable Hello World
> page in under 5 minutes.  Hello World would be a page consisting of
> nothing but the words "hello world" (no tools, no navigation bar, and
> certainly no CMS navigation stuff) in a url such as
> and a different url to edit the page,
> such as or

in Plone - easy. Create customized document type, modify it's default view
template to not use main_template. done. under 5 min ;)

> If you are a plone fanatic and still think I should use plone, fine, but
> please let me know where I can find a "Hello World" kind of example that
> demonstrates items 2, 4, and 6.

ugh. as I said - I haven't done Plone development for some time now so all
examples I might find could be irrelevant today, but I'm sure architecture
is the same. See my comment above, you should be able to follow it if
you've got current Plone docs handy.

> In addition, I would like the ability to design the layout of the page
> independent of the content.  Plone has some nice features that would be
> very helpful, but again, getting to hello world seems difficult.

that's the beauty of Plone - separated content, presentation and logic. 

> Just plain Zope does a pretty good job at some of this, but I haven't
> found a good online wysiwyg editor for the page owner to modify content.

Kupu, Epoz.

mixed bag of reactions to Plone as a platform here:

however you'd have to ask yourself a question: which features in plone I
would consider essential and how long would it take you to develop them
yourself on any other platform (Django or otherwise). How much effort will
it take you to maintain it? Now sum it up, compare to investment in Plone
and then decide. 

I like Plone - no matter all the whining and complaints of some people about
underlying complexity - the matter of fact is that it's friendly to
end-user, consistent across the board and has great flexibility (well
that's the source of it's complexity actually). But above doesn't mean you
will like it so it's your decision in the end.

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