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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Great Backyard Plone Count Results

First off, I want to thank all of you who participated in this year's GBPC.  We garnered 219 sites, which is up 19% from 2009.  We had contributions from Canada, Germany, Italy, U.K., and U.S.  Considering that Delicious has 2016 sites tagged with "plone-site" and Plone.net lists 1955, we've collected a sample of over 10% of the easily known Plone sites. 

Industries that were listed included education (53), non-profit (24), government (14), healthcare(11), small business (8), assoications (6), arts & entertainment (5), and environmental (5) plus 45 others.  Thirty were private intranets, so in that regard the GBPC was useful in getting a sample of sites that are normally out of sight. 

Of interest to me and Jukka Ojaniemi was the usability column this year.  52% of the sites reported had a self-reported rating of 3 ("Awesome"), 27% had a rating of 2 ("Alright"), and only 3% sucked.  About 19% lacked a usability score since they were confirmed from last year without further updating.  A little spot checking of sites with different scores show a fair amount of unevenness in the ratings--some clean, even elegant sites scored low while similar ones did very well.  Overall however, I'd say that Plone lends itself to uncluttered, easy to navigate sites. 

I'll be digging around in the data in the weeks ahead but for now the raw data is at the Google Docs spreadsheet.  From Twitter today Nate Aune suggested using Celery and Scrape.py to crawl and scrape for a web-wide search for Plone sites.  Expect a more complete Plone census as I work on that. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Great Backyard Plone Count

As promised, the Second Annual Great Backyard Plone Count has begun.  The GBPCis a shameless copy of the Great Backyard Bird Count (which will soon be active for those in North America). Just as GBBC is an effort by the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to track birds, GBPC is an effort to catalog Plone sites worldwide. Its a voluntary, self-reporting project (with all the weaknesses that go along with it) that attempts to find as many Plone sites as possible, including and especially intranet sites behind firewalls.

The Great Backyard Plone Count is an annual four-day event that engages Plone watchers of all ages in counting Plone sites to create a real-time snapshot of where the sites are across the world. This year the GBPC is February 12-15, 2009, the same dates as the GBBC (with adjustments to give our worldwide Plonistas a full 4 days in any timezone).  Anyone can participate, from beginning Plonistas to experts.  It takes as little as a few minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps Plone.  We'll be adding updated 2010 GBPC materials on this blog and on the Plone marketing site as they become available.

The tools that are now active include Google Docs or Gmail mechanisms to: 
  • Download the Plone Checklist (download an empty table--use File | Download as--fill in all your sites at once; CSV or OpenOffice Calc preferred)
  • Confirm last year's sites (send the msg "Confirm All" or list inactive sites, one URL per line--you may still add new site sightings by either method above)
Thanks in advance for your participation.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How to ID Plone Sites

The Great Backyard Plone Count kicks off at the cusp of midnight this Friday 12 February, just like its ornithological counterpart, the Great Backyard Bird Count.  The bird watchers have it easy, only dealing with North America and the fact that few birds can be seen by the dark of night.  But Plone sites "fly" 24x7 and Plone watchers are scattered worldwide.  (Darryl Dixon of New Zealand wins the prize for being the first from that timezone to submit a "siting" last year from the easternmost timezone that participated.)

The result is that as Thursday turns to Friday in say Kiritimati, the earliest timezone, it will be midnight Wed-Thurs in Honolulu, 3:00 AM Thursday in Albuquerque, and 10:00 AM Thursday in London.  (Tip o' the hat to The Fixed Time World Clock.)  So we'll open up the online submission form at 3:00 AM MST Thursday 11 February and close it down at 3:00 AM MST Tuesday 15 February.  That way every timezone gets the full window of opportunity, even if it adds 24 hours to the worldwide event.  Plone.org shows visitors from Fiji and New Zealand (Suva and Auckland are +13 UTC), as well as New Caledonia (Noumea is +11 UTC), so we want to give everyone an opportunity to participate fully.

Last week I posted a GBPC Prezi presentation but noted that it was stripped out of Planet Plone and other feeds.  If you care, take a look at http://prezi.com/jahnf2owdk9y/.  Also, while on the subject of Prezi, I created a reusable Prezi for Plone in general, embedded at the end of this post.  Maurizio Delmonte has already translated it into Italian and it looks like Naotaka Hotta is working on a Japanese version. 

Meanwhile, Nate Aune and I have been having a discussion about how one can identify Plone sites.  Of course, the obvious ways are to look for that nice "Plone Powered" colophon and the generator tag (<meta name = "Plone - http://plone.org" >).  Another effective way to ID Plone sites is to tag them in Delicious (thanks again, Sam).  Just make sure that your Plone sites are tagged with the phrase "plone-site" and they'll turn up when we search http://delicious.com/search?p=plone-site.  Right now there are 1932 sites tagged in this manner.  If you haven't tagged your site(s), do so now and next weekend's data mining will sweep them up. 

In untagged sites that are highly customized or have a static front end, we may have to rely on other features for identification.  Lukasz developed Plone data-mining scripts (http://www.llakomy.com/articles/plone-websites-in-uk) for the UK. Builtwith is using a proprietary algorithm and some sort of sampling to track trends in web technologies (they also seem to be missing some obvious high-profile Plone sites, so I'm not too confident in their statistics).  Last year when I discussed this, there was a comment from Andreas Jung via Matt Hamilton that is germane.  They suggest that "/manage_copyright" is a useful method exposed by Zope 2 sites.  I'd love to see what other techniques people can come up with.

Especially for firewalled Plone sites deep behind proxy servers, the only way we'll ever be able to count your contribution is for you as a site developer, user, or owner to self-report.  Whatever way you identify Plone sites, take a moment next weekend to tag them in Delicious (if they're public) and submit new or confirm your previous year's sitings (active links to the tools will be Tweeted and published in this blog starting the 12th).  Get out there and count some birds, too.