Pycon Day 2: Updates: Not Famous

by Robert Nagle on 2/24/2006

in liveblogging,Python/Zope/Plone

This morning I ran into someone who was wearing my exact same windbreaker. Yes, we admitted with embarrassment, we bought them at Walmart.

At conferences like this, people are constantly looking at each other’s nametags to see if you’re famous (I’m not).
Yesterday I sat through two tutorials: one on Text Processing with Python. Dry subject, but of immense interest to programers. It has to do with massaging data and creating reports, understanding how to format strings in exactly the right way. It’s also about using regular expressions to find and change data. A little over my head, but still helpful to walk through (esp because you really need to try it yourself to make it work).

Other things: apparently HP installs Windows OS using Python scripts (that’s why ordinary consumers are seeing Python directories in their HP machines).

Joel Burton gave a talk summarizing the cool things about the Plone interface. A lot of this stuff was already familiar to me, but I was pleasantly surprised to see some features working better than I remembered when I first considered it (over a year ago). The GUI editor looks less buggy, and they have better management of sections. They have several default views of folders (thumbnail, etc) that work out of the box. Also, they have live search, a more responsive search method which is definitely better that what they had before. Basically when you type in some terms, a popunder css box shows objects similar to the query. We talked a little about importing large objects (multimedia, etc) . Theoretically zope could import this into its object database but separate products exist to handle that (letting zope/plone handle the metadata). Nate Aune has a short guide on that .

Surprisingly, plone hasn’t really come out with a decent way to manage comments; you need to create a custom workflow for comments, and the views of article + comments seem primitive indeed. We need flatter views, or at least more ways to customize how comments appear. I say this as someone who finds wordpress comment management as superior (even though I’ve turned it off).

On the other hand, plone is adapted to corporate environments where security and control matters more than ease of use.

Keynote talk from 2 plone developers:

Alexander Limi: It’s about empowering the middle class, not figuring out an esoteric syntax problem in your code. Have you seen how most people and companies work? Limi mentions the example of a billion dollar Fortune 500 company that shared valuable financial information by emailing spreadsheets and dropping things on shared network drives. That’s how most people work.
Alan Runyan talks about the experience of deploying a bigass system for Oxfam. Yes, they did cool things, but it was eye-opening nonetheless to see it was saving the company time and money. Even with employee turnover, it was relatively easy for newcomers to catch up and get started. Training costs were reduced, and over time Oxfam was able to do development work internally.

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