Enterprise Software

Review: Plone content management system

Plone is potential CMS solution for any company (regardless of size) looking for an incredibly flexible, easy to install system.

The Content Management System (CMS) tool is one of the most important tools for any business that has employees that collaborate on documents or simply needs to manage the workflow in a collaborative environment. The biggest problem when selecting a CMS is that there are so many to choose from. Where do you begin? What kind of installation process are you willing to go through? What features do you need? What are the deal breakers? What is your budget? The questions can go on and on.

One of the CMS tools available, Plone, manages to rise above many others in some of these categories. It's open source, so the budget issue is out the window. It's easy to install, and it's got wicked-plenty features.

Requirements

Who's it for?

Plone is for any company (regardless of size) looking for an incredibly flexible, easy to install Content Management System. And with Plone you're looking at a CMS that eagerly integrates with many other tools (such as Active Directory, LDAP, Salesforce, SQL, Oracle, and much more). And because Plone is one of the top 2% open source projects, there is a huge community behind it. So not only is support available, so are modules, improvements, and solution providers.

What problem does it solve?

Plone helps your company execute workflow like any other CMS would. The biggest difference with Plone is the installation is much simpler than most tools with similar features. With a single executable script, you can have your CMS up and running in less than 30 minutes. Of course post install configuration is a different story. Because Plone offers so much, in the way of features, the setup can be a bit daunting.

Standout features

  • Integration with many third-party technologies
  • Simple installation
  • Highly secure (run Plone behind SSL if needed)
  • Highly customizable and theme-able
  • Over 300 solution providers for support
  • Translated into over 40 languages
  • Exceeds W3C standards

What's wrong?

As I have mentioned already, the configuration of Plone, upon installation, can be a challenge. You are not looking at the standard CMS configuration where the administrator will be hand-held through everything. With Plone there are options to configure. So after the system is installed you will need to give yourself plenty of time to work through the configuration options.

This can also be a bit confusing to some because Plone is installed on top of Zope - and Plone does not hide this fact. Included in the post-install configuration will be email server and security level. These two options are a must, so having an email server available to you is crucial.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you are looking for a feature-rich, scalable Content Management System that is simple to install, and you don't mind spending the extra time with configuration, Plone is an outstanding option. With a software cost of zero added to the amazing flexibility of the system, you can't go wrong choosing this CMS. Of course, if you want a system that is up and running (including post-install configuration) in less than an hour, you might have to look somewhere else.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Plone? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

3 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

the Zope link entered an unending loop. the website couldn't serve the content, yet it didn't throw an error. doesn't look good for Zope or Plone.

knowlengr
knowlengr

I'm an advocate for Plone in many contexts, especially where content is truly dynamic, content effectiveness is being measured, and there is a systematic workflow for moving from draft to publication. It's especially good at constructing complex navigation schemes that are highly flexible. That said, it's had mixed results with customers. There's a minimal skins and plug-ins aftermarket, and it's not as easy to reskin as Wordpress. The idea of an underlying object oriented database is at once attractive and worrisome to some.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you have systems in your organization for facilitating collaboration among employees? What applications are involved? Have you considered an open source solution like Plone?

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