The future of plone - Jean-Paul Ladage (Dutch plone user day 2008)ΒΆ

Tags: zestsoftware, plone, plonegebruikersdag2008

Jean-Paul (Zest software) talked about the future of plone's user interface, inspired by Alexander Limi's weblog.

Plone is powerful, so that means a lot of functionality and especially loads of options on every page. Lots of dropdowns and tabs. No problem for the technical programmers working on plone software, but the actual users...? Lots of dropdowns and tabs also means you have to render them, resulting in "heavy" pages with lots of calculation.

Jean-Paul

Just an "edit" and "add new" button would normally be enough. That way you can show for instance the "display" option only when editing. This cleans up the user interface when browsing the site and reduces confusion. All the advanced options are hidden by default, resulting in a clean uiser interface.

Inline editing: it looks nice, but it is confusing. People click somewhere and accidentally get an edit screen. In practice, this turned out to be a bad idea. Inline editing in the current form will disappear in the next version.

Plone has a lot of contenttypes. This is confusing for users. They're editing a page and want to add an image inside it. They don't want to think about adding a separate "image" content item inside a "document" content item. With some changes on the back end and inside the kupu editor, we can turn many content types into parts that can be inserted in a page. One such part is an image, another a listing (what's now collection/topic/smart folder), another a form. Clearer and more flexible.

Workflow is now handled with a dropdown. A workflow change (like publishing) is normally done after editing a document. So why not add the option to change the workflow to the bottom of the edit screen? That's another dropdown gone.

Plone is a great product, but needs continuous development. Jean-Paul is very enthousiastic about these upcoming changes and the new user interface ideas. Plone can become much more user friendly. At the sprint after the plone conference in Washington work will start on this.

In response to a question: Jean-Paul expects quite a lot of these ideas to end up in plone 4.0.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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