I decided to end my “year in technology” today by taking my first hands-on look at Plone 3.0, schedule for release in March 2007.
Plone 3.0, as its name implies, is shaping up to be a major release for Plone, with a whole pile of big, sexy new features that you’ll notice the second you fire it up. And of course, there’s a whole bunch more going on under the hood. Plone co-founder Alexander Limi gave a great overview of Plone 3.0 at the Plone Conference in October. (You can watch his talk online.) But hearing Alex talk about it was no substitute for the visceral thrill of actually installing Plone 3.0 for the first time and seeing the fruits of the community’s past six months of work.
Apparently, I was only a moderately-good nonprofit technology pundit in 2006. Jason’s keeping score.
On the plus side, at least I made falsifiable predictions, unlike many of my peers.
Jon Stahl, ONE/Northwest
|â€œThe Web 2.0 bubble will burstâ€
|Ruling: Since “Web 2.0″ has been famously impossible to define, this is a tough one to score. On the one hand, cognoscenti are pretty sick of hearing about it, and that’s bubble-bursty. On the other hand, despite some deflation, the hype of web 2.0 tools and tactics got air from the election cycle (thank you, George Allen) and never truly imploded. It’s not a bad prediction for ’07 … nothing like hitting the cover of Time to ossify a trend in its tracks.
|â€œThis will be the year of of open-source content management systems.â€
|Ruling: They’re penetrating far and wide.
My friends over at NPower Seattle are looking for database and network consultants, both staff and contract. It’s a great opportunity to do meaningful work with one of the most effective nonprofit technology outfits out there.
It’s late. I’ve been staring at the Plone Roadmap and the Collective for a while, just trying to get a picture in my head of where things are at, and where they are going. (It’s a lot of mostly good news.)
One of those things that’s just been rattling around for a while is the idea of a “Plone for NGOs” bundle that would package up Plone, set some sensible default settings, and throw in a selected handful of “best of breed” add-on Products that answer common nonprofit use-cases. A bunch of us nonprofit-sector Plone-a-holics have chatted about this, but I’ve not seen anything set into electrons. So here’s a first cut.
Disclaimer: really large nonprofits are likely to have “enterprise-scale” content management needs. No simple “NGO Plone bundle” is really going to address their needs. This proposal is about addressing the needs of small to medium-sized nonprofits.
I’m also writing this assuming that we already have the features that are planned for Plone 3.0 in mid-2007.
Finally, it seems like a lot of these products could be bundled, but disabled by default.
Without further ado, here’s my rough list of products I might think about including a “Plone For Nonprofits” bundle:
Quills – blogging
Press Room – for press releases, media clips. (Full disclosure: my colleagues at ONE/Northwest built this baby.)
Ploneboard – discussion forums
PloneFormGen – for general purpose form building – may make Signup Sheet somewhat redundant?
SignupSheet – great for simple free event signups
PloneSurvey – a nice general-purpose surveying tool.
eCampaigning – when it matures a bit more
SimpleCartItem – very simple e-commerce tool, dumps over to PayPal
CompositePack – for complex page layouts
PloneGoogleSitemaps – make Plone sites even more crawlable
AnalyticsForPlone – everyone should be using Google Analytics
PloneTabs – make it easier to manage portal tabs
ATFlashMovie – probably not that useful for everyone, but really handle for thems that needs it.
RichTopic – Smart Folders with HTML intros. Makes them much more useful for building pages that list stuff.
PloneBookmarklets – encourage posting to social bookmarking services
PloneGlossary – define all those jargon words
CMFSin – or some other simple way to create simple RSS aggregations.
qRSS2Syndication – RSS 2.0 feeds (Plone only ships with RSS 1.0, which is useless for podcasting or other RSS enclosures)
ATAudio or Plone4Artists.Audio – basic podcasting
Some simple workspace tool suitable for a small “board” intranet – suggestions welcome.
Photo Gallery or Slideshow – product TBD. I kinda like Lightbox right now. But I’m open to suggestions.
Ok, end of brain dump. What’s good, what’s bad, what’s missing?
The Salesforce Train Keeps Rolling has a nice observation about why Salesforce is so darn interesting. (Emphasis mine.)
Salesforce has developed a full function business software utility, and with it an economy or ecosystem of builders, buyers, and sellers that spans the planet. Good for them, but now the hard part starts.Up to now, the market and Salesforce have been focused on replacing the tired infrastructure that supported building and buying software licenses. With that out of the way, much more attention will need to be focused on leveraging software to do better business.
The next big challenge that I see involves business process management. Software had been a limiting factor for many business processes, in part because the process and practices were inextricably tied together. In the future, process and practice will be separate and a door will open for a different kind of IT or business consulting.
It is now time for software companies to change focus to take advantage of the new opportunities.