A really nice app switching utility.
nice demo of how to do enviro flyovers in Google Earth
With Plone 3 on the horizon, our thoughts here at ONE/Northwest are once again turning towards taxonomizing content in a Plone site. I looked back at Jonah Bossewich’s post “Death and Taxonomies,” in which he discusses Drupal’s taxonomy module, and found that much of it still rings true. To briefly resummarize, Plone needs a system that allows site managers (not just programmers!) to:
- Quickly build and manage simple flat or hierarchical vocabularies through the Plone UI.
- Associate those vocabularies with existing content types.
- Tag content objects with terms from the vocabulary
- Use the vocabulary hierarchy as part of the site navigation
Jonah shows how Drupal implements these ideas, with screenshots. We’re talking about something more powerful than Plone’s “Keywords” but less formal than the full-on ontology management provided by PloneOntology. It’s a sweet spot that provides a lot of power, yet can be managed by non-programmer site administrators. As Joel Burton might say, that’s “humane.”
I won’t repeat Jonah’s explication of Drupal, but will build on it with some thoughts about how Plone could implement simple taxonomy management in a smart, modern way.
Andrew Burkhalter and I batted this around, and we decided that the elements of an “ideal” Plone Taxonomy solution would be:
- Vocabularies and vocabulary terms as Archetypes items, which lets us leverage all of the goodness of Archetypes to let users create and manage vocabularies. This also makes it easy to include the taxonomies in the navigation, since they’re already Archetypes objects. (ATVocabularyManager and PortalTaxonomy both do this.)
- A way to associate vocabularies with existing content types. This should be done in the Plone UI, and should not require subclassing base content types. We believe that using Zope 3 adapters will allow this. We strongly believe that vocabulary management is a site administrator job, not a Plone programmer job.
- Vocabulary items must have unique IDs for cataloging purposes, but also must be addressable via friendly names in SmartFolders. There will probably need to be some methods build to support this.
- Some nice custom views for the various vocabulary objects, which allow you to display a bit of HTML followed by a listing of the items tagged with the vocabulary word. RichTopic is a nice model here. This is pretty straightforward.
(If you’re interested in this topic, you may also want to see my recent musings about Plone Keywords, which is somewhat related.)
danah boyd says: facebook is “hegemonic” and myspace is “subaltern”.
Shae Allen offers a sharp, funny riff on the thrill of difficult web design clients.
Dear Mr. Architect:
Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.
automatically extracts keywords from content
Most the people talking to you (especially nonprofits) think of the web/internet as a tactical support for the rest of the operations. They want the â€œwebâ€ guy to support our restoration initiative, the web team to support fundraising, the web team to support field, the web to support membership. Web is a tactic the departments should use. The reality is that dominating the web conversation is now a strategic pillar that can drive success in influencing the politics, fundraising, field and other key elements of the operation. A good strategist and senior management operative will need to look at the over all mission, understand the constraints of other managers, understand the path of the campaign and organizational culture. The good strategist will compete in a larger organizational context for funding and the freedom from other departments to begin to implement a plan to dominate web discussion.
We’re finishing up a big intranet project here at ONE/Northwest, and that led to an interesting conversation between me, Dave Averill and Gideon Rosenblatt about tagging and keywording content in a website. Here are a few notes from it.
1) “Tags” – keywords that are stored per-item and per-user, ala del.icio.us. Plone doesn’t provide out of the box support for tagging. That’s probably OK, because tagging doesn’t really work well unless you have a LOT of users.
2) “Keywords” – keywords that are stored per-item, but not per-user. Plone provides this out of the box.
How Things Work Now, And What’s Wrong Plone’s current Keywords user interface is really clunky. So clunky as to be nearly useless, in fact. (Sorry.)
The main problem is that as the list of keywords in the site grows (which it does, very quickly, because keywords are not per-user, they’re global across the site), it quickly becomes very difficult to find and choose the keywords in the scrolling window.
Worse, you can’t easily see at a glance which keywords have already been selected.
How to fix it Fortunately, I think this should be fairly easy to fix.
I would do the following things
- Move the Keywords widget from the “Properties” tab to the “Edit” tab. (Plone 3.0 fixes this quite a bit, by making the schemata refresh without page reloads, so this may ultimately be a moot point.)
- Show the list of keywords assigned to a content object above the keyword widget. (Bonus points for making them clickable to a search!)
- Change the widget to an Autocomplete widget. (Note: I need to check whether the Autocomplete widget will let you add new items to the vocabulary.) Del.icio.us uses an autocomplete widget like this for tag entry, and it’s really efficient.
- Make keywords part of the default content view templates (again, with clickable links to other items with the keyword). It’s easier to remove them (especially in Plone 3.0 with the viewlet manager) than to add them, and having them there by default will signal that we value keywording.Â UPDATE: Shane Graber below points out some instructions he wrote for doing just this, in Plone 2.0-2.5.Â Â Zope 3 fans might prefer this as a viewlet, but that’s a pretty trivial implementaton detail.
- We should build a screen that allows one to very quickly assign keywords to many objects in a single operation. I think I’d want to execute a search (or build a smart folder), then see a list of all found objects, their descriptions, the keywords they currently have, and an autocomplete widget for each object. Rip through the screen, assign keywords to a bunch of objects, then hit save once. That would be really fast and efficient.
- Finally, we should make sure that permission to assign keywords to content is separated from permission to edit the object itself. (I’m not sure if this is already the case, please leave a comment if you know!) This would make it possible to create a “tagger” role which could be used to let site members keyword content items.
OK, that’s it. All of this stuff seems like it would be pretty easy to do without any major changes to the underlying plumbing.
What do you think? Would this be more sensible, more “humane” behavior for Plone? Is there more low-hanging fruit that I’m missing?
Update: It also might be interesting to look at auto-generating keywords by using Yahoo’s Term Extraction API.
Jeff at Lullabot is dreaming big dreams about the potential for Drupal in the social change sector. A great mix of optimism and realism. Worth paying attention to, even if you are, say, a Plone developer.
Cell-phone enable, real-time on-the-fly ridesharing. Finally!
great tips from Nancy Schwartz
CMS Watch’s Tony Byrne recently published his annual “kudos and shortcomings” report on 40 major web content management systems. It’s a summary of a much more in-depth pay-to-read report.
Byrne evaluted CMS in 30 different categories — user-generated content, usability, overall value, etc. In each category, he identified one leader, several “honorable mentions” and several laggards.
Scott Paley of Abstract Edge took the time to add up Bryne’s evaluations into a simple scorecard, and found that Plone handily topped the list, beating out both commercial and open-source competitors as CMS Watch’s most lauded CMS.
What do I make of all this numerosity? A couple of things come to mind:
- First, it’s obvious that there’s no such thing as “the best CMS”, only tools that are well-suited to particular situations. That said, it’s nice to have folks like Tony providing high-level summaries that cover the broad landscape.
- The Plone community can be justly proud of Plone’s strong scores across the board. I think it signifies the overall high quality of Plone, and its relevance to a wide range of uses. I can’t wait to see how Plone 3 stacks up next year!
- Plone is the only open-source solution near the top of the scorecard. The next 14 top-scoring systems are commercial products. Other open-source products didn’t do so well. Midgard, and TYPO3 were in the middle of the pack. Drupal, Joomla! and Alfresco were down near the bottom (alongside heavyweight commercial offerings from Microsoft, IBM and Vignette!).
- I’d like to know more about the criteria Byrne used for evaluating, but I suppose I’d need to buy the full report to find out.
Jeff Brooks offers some sound advice on organizational logos:
You can agonize all day and night about getting a logo just right, but you’ll be barking up the wrong tree. Your logo will never bring a lot of meaning to the table. The best logo gets out of the way and lets reality do the work.
Instead, work on making your organization the best one around — the one that everyone talks about, that people seek out to get involved with. Do that, and unless you really screwed up, your logo will be great. Because it stands for something great, not because it made you great.
And take some comfort: No matter how awful your logo accidentally ends up being, I’m pretty sure it won’t be as bad as this one, which not only looks terrible and communicates nothing, but is reputed to trigger epileptic seizures, and was created at a cost of $796,000.
As someone who works for an environmental organization with a logo that one supporter once compared to a falling tree, I agree wholeheartedly with Jeff.
This Web module contains learning materials that touch upon such questions as: * What is organizing? * How do people organize? * What skills are required of organizers? * How can these skills be shared with others?
My colleague Steve Andersen just got back from Salesforce’s Nonprofit Roadmap Summit, upon which he reported back favorably.
But, ever the modest one, Steve neglected to mention that there was a nice little video of him reporting out from a brainstorming session on the future of Salesforce’s nonprofit CRM platform.
I’m fortunate to get to see Steve in action every day. But for those of you who don’t, this will have to do.
To dramatize the hard, quiet work demanded of transit riders, Seattle artist Christian French created a persona, TransitMan, a superhero who takes public transportation as his superpower. Then he actually donned a superhero costume and spent a lot of time commuting and traveling and documenting the travails of a man in tights dedicated to reducing personal automobile use.
Hat tip to Alex.
FunkLoad is a functional and load web tester, written in Python.
probably the right way to do flash embedding in the end