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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NASA Plone and Plone Day

April has run its course and May is going to be a busy one for me. I'll be in Italy hoping to convince my contacts there that Plone will be the right choice for their new Knowledge Management System. Expect short reports once I'm over there and a summary when I get back.

Meanwhile, I see that NASA's new science outreach site is Plone powered. Beautifully done. Tip o' the hat to the developers and designers.

Also, Plone Day, Nov. 7, is starting to gain traction. Head over to the Plone Evangelism list on Nabble.com and follow Roberto Allende's thread.

Final note, there seems to be a cooling off of "CMS Review Wars" these days. Seems like in 2007 there was a CMS Throwdown or Head-to-head Comparison every few weeks. Lately, CMS reviews are a bit stale. If I get some free time this weekend, I'll see if I can statistically show a trend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CMS Blogs Stats

I was watching Darci Hanning's "Top Ten Ways to Get Involved with the Plone Community" and was pleased that first out of the box was "Blog about Plone." So I thought I'd look at some stats on CMS and blogs.

Technorati has Plone posts averaging a little under 20 per day for the last month with a total of 6866 posts in 134 blogs. By way of comparison, Drupal is listed with 12,853 posts in 2269 blogs. Joomla has 10,742 posts in 1389 blogs. SharePoint: 11,305 in 1451. Alfresco: 447 in 58. Openedit: 11 in 1. DotNet Nuke: 8 in 5.

What is one to make of this? Of course, first, its all just numbers. There could just as easily by 6800 outstanding posts for Plone and 12,000 dirges for Drupal or the other way around. But clearly the buzz is, whether good or bad, is more about Drupal than anyone else.

However, there appears to be more than just the usual continuum in these numbers. We've got four CMS that each are in the many thousands of blogs and three that are only in double digits or less.

Even so, there's yet another way to look at things: posts per blog. Take a look at this summary table sorted in descending order by posts/blog.

CMS Posts Blogs
Plone 6866 134
Openedit 11 1
SharePoint 11305 1451
Joomla 10742 1389
Alfesco 447 58
Drupal 12853 2269
DotNet Nuke 8 5

Wow! Plone blows everything on the chart away, even the newcomer and statistical outlier Openedit barely makes it above 10 posts/blog. Darci is on to something here--Plone bloggers may not be as numerous as SharePoint's or Drupal's, but they are either very active or have been at it for a long time. (Case in point, Plone Metrics has had 70 posts since last October.)

BTW, with all this poking about in blogs, I did turn up some interesting reading. Limi's latest on simplifying Plone and the editing experience is a good place to start. Don't miss Christian Schlotz's posting on Data Portability.

I also stumbled upon an NGO on "Ask Metafilter" asking for a comparison of Plone and Drupal. Of the 15 comments, most were adamantly anti-Plone, but seemed to be ill-informed, based on incomplete or obsolete knowledge. I'll have to register at Metafilter ($5, bummer) and then post an up-to-date Plone advocacy comment over there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

North American Plone Symposium 2008

The New Orleans 2008 Symposium announcement has now grown to more than just dates on a calendar. Venue, keynotes, and headliners have been added to the online material at http://plone.org/events/regional/nola08. Registration is now open and the early bird discount applies until May 7. Gotta pull a proposed travel budget together and talk with my manager when he gets back from D.C. on Monday.

Also to add to your to-do list, go to Nate Aune's recent posting about NTEN's CMS Satisfaction Survey. Take the survey and make your voice be heard (and receive a copy of the survey results). As an aside, I note that NTEN is running Drupal.

Looks like a late season frost is coming tonight, so I'd better cut this short and go cover the tender plants and the outside bonsai.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Web-based File Sharing, Wikis, and CMS

I had an interesting conversation this afternoon with a colleague. Along with many topics concerning IT infrastructure opportunities in the world of nuclear nonproliferation, we discussed SharePoint and wikis. SharePoint, even with the release of a recent upgrade, seems to be limited to just a web-based file sharing tool. In the last six months an extranet with SharePoint instances has become available, but its not able to be as flexible and extensible as our Plone portals.

Meanwhile, Plone as a full-blown CMS is sometimes has too heavy a footprint. A neighboring department is using T-Wiki and Media Wiki for tracking some of their lessons learned and in-country activities. They have nice integration with some Flash GIS pieces, too.

I think my colleague, who supports three Plone portals in his work, will set up a wiki for tracking company-wide activities in northeast Asia. The idea is that the left hand often doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Nothing more embarrassing than having staff from a sister department show up in, say, Taipei the same week as you do and no one knew the other was in town.

Today I'm working on a minor extension to PloneSurvey, setting it up to allow results to display suggested interpretations if certain questions are answered a particular way. This will allow us to deploy surveys as assessment tools that provide useful feedback on the results page. If anyone out there has any assessment-related use cases that might fit into a minor PloneSurvey enhancement, kindly toss them my way.

And finally, a tip of the hat to all the hard workers who are working on Plone for Educators. The College of Santa Fe, where I teach evening classes, is a WebCT shop. I have found WebCT to be slow, ponderous, not particularly intuitive, and its useability is low. Wish I could get the sys admin to set up a Plone instance. Maybe next term....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I've been busy with the start of a new semester at CSF and this term's course is being offered 100% online. After all, 5 of 7 students live over 60 miles from campus. So I've been screencasting to augment the existing audio podcasts.

I had an opportunity to revisit Sean Kelley's excellent screencast on J2EE and JBoss (at my day-job they're getting ready to switch from Oracle to JBoss). That has led me to look at Plone multimedia from a statistical point of view.

At least with plone.tv, its easy to get stats on Plone video (228), screencasts (29), and podcasts (7). Interestingly, YouTube lists only 85 videos for Plone (including a few for the band!). For other CMS its not so straightforward.

Google for "drupal video screencast podcast" and various permutations and you find many, many sites offering collections of multimedia material, but it would take a brutal amount of manual investigation to filter out the duplicates. YouTube lists 370 videos; Lullabot has a sizeable collection as well.

Looking for SharePoint multimedia material has the same difficulty. Here I found SharePointPedia with only 29 instructional screencasts, although YouTube links to 297.

The bottom line is that a central repository for multimedia tutorials, how-to's, advocacy, and community-building materials is an excellent strategy. Nate Aune's efforts on behalf of the community in establishing Plone.tv are paying significant dividends.

Meanwhile, I continue to track a couple of Plone videos via TubeMogul. Eben Moglen's keynote from Plone World 2006 had 100 viewers on March 7 and continues to average 39 views per day(!). Alas, Jon Stahl's "Online Social Networks: Can They Power Social Change?" hasn't seen more than 5 views per day in the last month. True its not a video work of art, but the audio carries an excellent message. Maybe this weekend I'll stip off the audio channel and break it up into individual podcasts. Look for them on Plone.tv if I do.