In a nutshell, where are you seeing Plone used the most right now? (Not geographically, though I guess that would be interesting too.) What kind of companies are using it, and for what? What tool is Plone kicking to the curb? Where do you think the growth potential is for it to grow in popularity? (Is it competing with Drupal and Joomla?)There were lots of great replies over in LinkedIn, but the same questions are probably asked by many others who don't get over there. So here's my spin on an answer that pulls in some of my favorite metrics.
Also, given the rash of hacks that have been in the news of late, how secure is Plone?
Thanks in advance to any who are willing to help educate me.
Where is Plone used? Since the questioner seperately asks about geography and types of companies, I assume we're talking about functional domain. The Real Story Group provides a useful subway map of content management systems. Plone (located in the lower left corner) lies at the intersection of three major lines: web content management, portals and content integration, and collaboration and social software. This is a unique location for an open-source CMS.
Click on the image for a larger version.
Geographically? As a proxy I'm using the locations of Plone.org site visitors as visualized with Google Analytics. Plone is used world-wide, although it's most commonly found in Europe (47%) and North America (27%). Asia struggles in with 13%, South and Central America with 8%, Oceania with 3%, and Africa with 1.6%. Plone has one of the strongest i18N capabilities of any major CMS.
What kind of companies are using it? From Plone.org we can track down a large sample of self-reported sites that use Plone that are conveniently categorized by type of company (61 of them, no less). Non-profits, government, and education top the list, but 44% are grouped into "Other," each with less than a 3% share of the pie. As was pointed out in the LinkedIn replies, you can visit Sites that use Plone for the full list and lots of beautiful exemplars.
What tool is Plone kicking to the curb? In my opinion, CMS in general have made handcrafted HTML websites nearly obsolete except for special purposes. My team occasionally uses Dreamweaver for prototyping static pages to customers, then we implement the look-and-feel dynamically in Plone. In a Web 2.0 world, customers demand interactive webpages, collaborative websites, and user-generated content. Mashups are becoming the order of the day and the ability to combine web resources seamlessly is critical. Frankly, saying that you use a CMS is probably not much of a market discriminator these days--it's expected as part of today's web toolkit.
Growth potential? (Is Plone competing with Drupal and Joomla?) Plone is always being compared with Drupal and Joomla because it's an open-source CMS. But Plone has never focused on the free or low-cost mass market. Instead Plone has built up an ecosystem of professional consultants and businesses that provide the enduring value. The testimonials in the LinkedIn replies speak for themselves.
With it's fine-grain security model, powerful workflow engine, high usability, and large feature set, Plone remains one of the top CMS today. CMS Matrix shows Plone to be one of the top six most frequently compared CMS in their exhaustive listing of over 1000 systems.
Google Trends is sometimes cited in this context, but if that were reflecting true growth potential, we'd all be using WordPress. Also, not all Google searches captured by Trends represent good news. Item E below mentions a large DDoS attack against WordPress, hardly an indicator that would guarantee positive growth.
How secure is Plone? Plone continues to be the most secure of all the major CMS. The National Vulnerability Database shows Plone with only 9 issues in the past 3 years. Drupal had 232 in the same time interval, Joomla had 404, and WordPress had 127.
I hope you've enjoyed this romp through a number of statistics about Plone.