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Plone Mephisto Sprint 2016 Report

Plone Mosaic 2.0 RC has now been released for Plone 5. Similarly to previous releases, you can deploy a demo site of it at Heroku with a single click. Please, join the bug hunt and help with reporting and fixing issues which matter you the most. Please note that Mosaic 2.0 is a major release because it no longer supports for Plone 4.3 (yet, most of the bug fixes could be cherry-picked to 1.0 branch by those who care). The final release will be made once possible migration problems from 1.0 have been solved.

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Yes, there was a yet another Plone community sprint. Plone Mephisto Sprint 2016 happened at Leipzig, Germany, from 5th to 9th September, and was focused on improving TTW (through-the-web) experience of customizing Plone sites for better flexibility and hackability. The sprint was organized by Maik Derstappen and it was sponsored by Derico, e-ventis and Plone Foundation. Once the sprint was approved as a strategic sprint by the foundation, enhancing Plone Mosaic became the main target of the sprint.

The participants included Maik Derstappen (derico), Peter Holzer (agitator Weblösungen - BDA), Thomas Massmann (it-spirit), Asko Soukka (University of Jyväskylä), Thomas Lotze, Andreas Jung, Stefania Trabucchi, Jens Klein (Klein & Partner KG - BDA), Christoph Scheid (Uni Marburg), Kristin Kuche (Uni Marburg), Stephan Klinger (der Freitag), Nathan Van Gheem (Windcard Corp), Veit Schiele, Gil Forcada Codinachs (der Freitag), Ramon Navarro Bosch, Michael Töpfl (e-ventis.de) and Christoph Töpfl (e-ventis.de). During the sprint there was also remote participation by Dylan Jay and Rodrigo Ferreira de Souza (Simples Consultoria).

Let's start with some Github Activity statistics collected by Nathan Vangheem from the sprint. During the sprint, at least the following packages were touched with these great numbers:

  • plone.app.mosaic (23 PR, 154 commits, 2 outstanding PRs)
  • plone.app.blocks (4 PR, 18 commits)
  • plone.app.standardtiles (9 PR, 18 commits, 2 outstanding PRs)
  • plone.app.tiles (4 PR, 9 commits)
  • plone.tiles (2 PR, 16 commits)

Behind those numbers, there was a lot of bug fixes, new issues reported, some refactoring and simplification, few major changes to the foundations of Plone Mosaic, and the long awaited initiative for more complete configuration documentation. Thanks to all the bug fixes, Mosaic Editor and TinyMCE in it will break much less often. Also layout related permission work now as expected. To name the other major fixes and changes to Plone Mosaic, we:

  • deprecated dedicated image and attachment tiles in favor of using image and file content types and linking them with rich text tiles as without Mosaic.
  • removed complex universal pluggable grid system (tm) implementation in favor of simply using such CSS grid class names that it's possibly to build any current grid system for those class names. This finally makes Mosaic edit and view mode show the same grid by default on Plone 5.
  • removed Mosaic Editor from content add forms and introduced a simple add form with just title and description for those content types, which have Mosaic enabled and its layout view defined as their default view. This removes all experienced confusion of add forms some times behaving differently from edit forms and not being able to save images directly inside the new containerish content.
  • unified HTML tile implementations and removed dedicated example tiles for headers, lists, etc, in favor of a single rich text tile (which would still allow similar dedicated or templated tiles).
  • introduced outline mode for the editor (pressing Alt modifier key while in editor) to keep the default editor experience simple, but still allow more technical look into the layout and make it easier to split the layout into separate rows.
  • fixed a major issue where versioning of content with blobs in its tiles' configuration created empty blobs into filesystem. This has been a major issue for collective.cover users and is now fixed with new plone.app.tiles releases (1.1.0 for collective.cover).

In addition

  • we fixed a few site layouts related compatibility issues with Plone 5 and added a support for enabling site layouts support with a single line in buildout. Site layouts are not yet enabled by default.
  • we implemented a new, but transparent, tile configuration and data storage to mostly avoid using annotation objects with shared content layouts (and be more friendly for ZODB connection cache).
  • Michael and Christoph (Töpfl) worked on Rob Gietema's ReactJS based Mosaic Editor experiment, and Ramon started a new Angular 2 based Mosaic Editor experiment. Hopefully at least the other one will succeed to give us a fresh flexbox based layout editor during the next year.
  • Maik lead work on example content layout to be shipped with the final Mosaic 2.0 release.
  • Andreas started work on allowing custom views for existing content tile.
  • Dylan worked on user interface and TinyMCE support for allowing tiles inside rich text tiles.
  • Rodrigo worked on refactoring code of RSS and calendar portlets to be easily re-usable with respective tiles.

We also discussed about the path to get Mosaic into Plone core. The current plan is to get Mosaic dependencies into Plone core first (plone.tiles, plone.app.tiles, plone.app.blocks, plone.app.standardtiles), but only PLIP the user interface package (plone.app.mosaic) when it works well enough with the other add-ons shipped with Plone (e.g. multilingual). Unfortunately, no PLIPs were written yet.

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A few photos from the sprint are available at Google Photos. In addition to full day sprinting, we did get a city tour around Leipzig and enjoyed Maik's barbequing at the sprint garden. Maik did a great job in organizing the sprint, and I really hope, we made it worth the effort. And as always, the work around Plone Mosaic continues also after the sprint. It's still huge effort left, but while it's still not ready for Plone core, it can already be customized to give real return on investment, as seen in Castle CMS. Finally, Big thanks for everyone participating the sprint. It was a pleasure to work with you, and I hope to see you all again!