"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Friday, December 31, 2010

PloneMetrics Person of the Year

It's that time of year again when I peruse the events of the past year and unilaterally designate some lucky person "Plone Metrics Person of the Year."  This award comes with only the promise that if the winner and I are in the same town at the same time, I'll buy them a beer. 

Past winners have been:

2009 Nate Aune
2008 Joel Burton
2007 Alexander Limi

The competition has been particular stiff, with outstanding contributions from a wide number of Plonistas worldwide.  It's been a eventful year for Plone and that makes 2010's throwdown especially difficult.  Noteworthy contributions during 2010 that deserve a shout-out include, but are not limited to:
  • The 2010 Plone Conference people at Netsight, who did a great job with this year's event. Matt Hamilton's (general and host-specific) and Astra Fowden's summaries are worth their weight in gold. 
  • The release managers for Plone 4 (Eric Steele) and 5 (Hanno Schlichting) are also high on my list.  Of course, their job wouldn't be possible without the core developers and all the Plone contributors.  Hats off to them all. 
  • As always, the Foundation Board gets a great big nod of appreciation here.  Gier Baekholt (2009-10) and Calvin Hendryx-Parker (2010-11) deserve special mention for shepherding the Plone community.
  • There is also some local Albuquerque talent among this year's nominees:  Michael Bernstein (Code for America fellow) and Emily Lewis (Webuquerque sparkplug).
  • The Plone IRC Superstar Contest winner and runners up always deserve special praise.  The final determination has still not been announced as we go to press, but this is a reminder that the IRC community is a key part of the Plone ecosystem.   
  • In a similar vein, here's a thanks to all those blogging and microblogging about Plone.  I'm particularly pleased to see diversity highlighted with a successful year of PloneChix
  • Finally, Roberto Allende gets a big tip o' the hat as the champion of World Plone Day.  This year AndrĂ© Nogueira takes over the reins as we look forward to WPD 27 April.  
All that said, with this being a metrics-centric blog, I thought I'd run a few numbers and see what falls out.

As I mentioned Matt and Netsight are serious contenders.  Here's chart of World Plone Conference attendance since 2006.

Bristol turned out to be right in the middle of the range and probably would have done better had the world economy been brighter.  I regret missing the conference (yup, tight budget), but the high quality videos of the presentations has been a terrific resource that has softened the blow.  They have placed the bar high for future conferences. 

Another notable nominee for today's award is Eric Steele.  Here's the graphic that shows the impact of the Plone 4 release.  

Not only was there a huge spike in Plone.org visitors associated with the release, but a sustained increase of 15-20% that continues to this day.  (Green dashes show pre-release trend; red dotted line represents post-release trend.)

Based on that gi-normous spike, 130% above a typical Wednesday, plus the continued bump-up in Plone visitors, the Plone Metrics Person of the Year Award for 2010 goes to Eric.  By extension, this year's award goes out to all those who contributed to Plone 4 with code, testing, feedback, documentation, product upgrades, and all the myriad of details that make up a successful release. Well done, everyone!

In closing, let me paraphrase the immortal words of Bobby Flay: "So to all you awesome [Plonistas] out there, keep doing what you're doing, but ask yourself this... are you ready for a throwdown?"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Plone Mobile

I've been putting together a presentation on various web metrics for the gang at my day-job.  In particular, people are asking about Google Analytics.  As part of that, I've been poking around in a few less frequented parts of the system and some of that has carried over to inquiries about Plone.org users.  Tonight I'm going to focus on the growing mobile community of visitors. 

Above is the graph of visitors using mobile devices since GA started tracking them in November 2009.  The most notable feature is the incredible peak that marks the release of Plone 4.0.  The aftershocks lasted two weeks. 

The other significant feature is the upward trend.  There is a perceptible upward slope to the number of mobile users.  In fact, if we remove the Plone 4.0 spike, the regression analysis still gives us a slope of 0.13 (a new mobile visitor every seven days).  The regression coefficient (R^2) is only 0.65, so there's lots of noise in the data, mostly from weekday-weekend fluctuations.

To really see the trend, compare the last month with the same period a year ago.  Clearly mobile use is on the upswing.

My final note is on the distribution of mobile users.  From the city-level global map of mobile visitors to Plone.org, it's pretty obvious that mobile users are world-wide.  Of course, it comes as no surprise that mobile use tracks Plone.org general use, heavy in North America and Europe.  But there are significant hotspots in South America, the Middle East, south and east Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

IdealWare CMS Report

Once again IdealWare has come out with their 2010 annual review of Plone, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. As last year, they are one of the few software comparisons of any type to have a completely transparent methodology. Not only is the body of the report well balanced and thought out, the detailed system-by-system accounting of the subtopics that make up their category scores makes for very worthwhile reading. Tip o' the hat again.

Also like last year, I'm taking the liberty of translating IdealWare's scoring of  None, Fair, Solid, Excellent into 0, 1, 2, 3.  The result is the following table.

WordPress Joomla 1.6 Drupal Plone
Ease of Hosting and Installation 3 3 3 1
Ease of Setup: Simple Site 3 2 2 1
Ease of Setup: Complex Site 3 3 2 2
Ease of Use: Content Editors 3 2 2 3
Ease of Use: Site Administrator 3 2 2 2
Graphical Flexibility 3 3 3 3
Accessibility and Search Engine Optimization 2 3 1 3
Structural Flexiblity 2 2 3 3
User Roles and Workflow 1 3 2 3
Community/Web 2.0 Functionality 3 2 3 2
Extending and Integrating 3 3 3 3
Security 1 2 2 3
Support/Community Strength 3 3 3 3
2010 33 33 31 32
2009* 29 27 30 29
* In 2009 only 12 categories (instead of 13) were used.

Once again there is only a small spread in the scores, about 6%, well below the 10% of 2009.  All CMS's here are improving quickly.  Reviewers still hold Plone's non-LAMP hosting model against it, giving it a Fair for hosting and installation.  I beg to differ with them about setting up a simple site.  Once the software is installed, Plone's out-of-the-box feature set solves a wide range of CMS use-cases with a minimum of fuss. 

What I stated last year still stands:

"Its always nice to see good scores and the fact that Idealware chose Plone along with only 3 other serious open source systems is high praise in and of itself. Idealware should be complimented for having a transparent methodology, a relatively neutral approach, and giving good press to four worthwhile systems.

"Still, I can't stress enough that your specific, unique requirements must drive your choice for a CMS. Don't let someone else's numbers blind you to what you and your community of users need to accomplish."
I urge those shopping for a CMS to weigh the scores according to your needs and requirements.  If ease of use for content contributors, SEO excellence, and security are key features, Plone clearly comes out ahead.  Go ahead and cut-and-paste my table into a spreadsheet, change the values, play with different weights, and then be sure to take a test drive** before you make a deep and lasting commitment.  Changing CMS in mid-stream is not a simple task--take the long view and get it right the first time. 
** Try a Plone demo site of your own at Six Feet Up or request a free Plone site at Objectis. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CMS Comparison, expanded for Plone

Ashleigh Davis put together a nice table for comparing Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress.  It seems only fair that I take that format one step further and produce an equivalent listing for Plone.

Homepage plone.org
About Plone lets non-technical people create and maintain information for a public website or an intranet using only a web browser. Plone is easy to understand and use — allowing users to be productive in just half an hour — yet offers a wealth of community-developed add-ons and extensibility to keep meeting your needs for years to come.
Example Sites Online publication:

Charitable giving:

Installation http://plone.org/documentation/manual/installing-plone http://plone.org/support/forums/setup
Ease of use Plone requires technical expertise for advanced customization; however, it is very full featured out-of-the-box. Content contributors, editors, and readers will find Plone easy to understand and use.
Features Blending the creativity and speed of open source with a technologically advanced Python back-end, Plone offers superior security without sacrificing power or extensibility.
Caching Plug-Ins ZEO server (also works and plays well with CacheFu and Squid)
Best Use Cases For web content management, portals, content integration, collaboration, social software, and enterprise content management, especially where security is a premium.
I'd appreciate comments on how to improve this summary, especially on caching plug-ins, an area where I am weak.