Rikupekka Oksanen

Plone Conference 2019 report

Plone Conference 2019 was held in Ferrara, Italy. This year the focus was more on the future and frontend - mainly Volto.

October 31st, 2019

Plone Conference 2019

Plone Conference 2019 was held in Ferrara, Italy. This year the focus was more on the future and frontend - mainly Volto.

The city basked in a late summer sun and warmth, and the venues was held in an old cinema at the city centre. About 150 professionals from all over the world where gathered to learn, disucuss, develop and overall enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the conference. The days continued from 9-18, full of presentations, lightning talks and panels.

If you want to read really, really precise notes about many presentations, please visit: https://maurits.vanrees.org/weblog

I'll add slides and videos later.

Day One

First day contained some of really interesting talks, including mine :)

The conference started, as always, with a keynote from

Eric Steele - The State of Plone


Eric looked at the past and future of Plone, which is bright, thanks to hard work with new frontend stuff and Python 3 compatibility. He highlighted some of Plone's key strengths:

  • Customizable workflows
  • Hierarchical content management
  • Fine-grained permissions and great security
  • Customized content types


Dimitri Favre, #noprojects

Dimitri discussed about the overall problems projects in software world: "I believe there are better ways than projects to evolve a company digital portfolio. Because while a project is temporary, software is continuous."


"Nobody likes projects, so why use projects."

He suggested solutions for change:

    1.    experiments over projects
    2.    stable teams over temporary endeavor
    3.    outcomes over excecution
    4.    products over software

When doing something, ask what its worth, not how much it costs. Value guides work better than costs.

Product > Project.

Couple of good book recommendations, Alan Kelly, Eric Ries.


Jörg Zell, New Work

Jörg and his team (Lukas, Marcel) discussed about modern working practices.


New Work = strategic answer to constant change.

  • Use gamification everywhere
    • Reward for new goals in the future (not past goals)
  • Happiness: result getting the work well done
  • Say yes or no, not "I'll try"
  • Codekata: practice, communicate, focus
  • Boy scout rule: leave the code in a better shape than you found it
  • Keep it simple

Their company, Interaktiv does different kinds of web development on Plone: https://www.interaktiv.de/



Rikupekka Oksanen, Agile Transformation at University of Jyväskylä

I had a talk about how we change development and planning at our university.


My talk in short:

  • Lots of digitalization needs at JYU
  • Starting point: not a clear vision, roadmap, planning. Difference in agile maturity in teams
  • Big change started at 08/2018 -> Scaled Agile Framework to use
  • Change supported by upper management
  • Good results: more transparency, customer and developer satisfaction.
  • Adapt SAFe, don't use it as a rulebook
  • Continuously improve your way of working



Asko Soukka - How Plone Excels in GatsbyJS Content Mesh

Asko's talk was focused on using GatsbyJS as a lightning fast frontend for Plone-content.



Asko's slides:



Plone Future Panel

Discussion about Plone 7 and further, unhinged.

Some highlights and ideas:

  • Use machine learning to improve content
  • Keep it still as a user friendly CMS
  • Glowworm-editing idea
  • Better introduction docs
  • Addon installers
  • Use Plone where it shines: large, customized services
  • Plone theming - Volto
  • "I run a Wordpress site for my mother, but I use Plone for where it works."
  • "Use Plone as backend, Gatsby as a frontend (for public sites)"



For more details, please refer to Maurits van Rees's blogpost:


Day Two

More interesting stuff straight from the beginning, mainly Volto

Timo Stollenwerk - Plone 6 and beyond


Timo started his talk with a vision from Alex Limi, 2008, about simplicity, and how stories and ideas last ong. Key point was to make everything as simple as possible for the content editors, and to strip down everything that's not providing value for the current editing experience.

Timo continued with a demo of Volto 4, which looks really nice, with Pastanaga UI. 

Victor Fernandez de Alba - Volto


What users want? We asked

  • nice, performant UI
  • rich, native-like themes
  • interactive
  • outstanding authoring experience
  • high level customization 

Plone 2020 is:
Hierarchy, content types, workflow, permissions (UI/UX)

Volto developing: easy


Day Three

Third day started with an interesting Keynote about machine learning.



Timo Stollenwerk presented a Volto use case for a university:


Volto UX, nice. Really clean and stripped down

Plone features, plenty out of the box
- custom content types
- multilingual
- accessibility

more requirements
- loading times
The design agency said "It's easy to make it fast: just do what Netflix does" :D
App is not a website - eg. Netflix app contains 60MB of data. You can't put that on a website.


Asko Soukka presented a call to action for using websockets and Gatsby:



The day ended in an epic party at the Ferrara Castle. We also celebrated the 18th birthday of Plone :)


What is Plone in 2020? These things were highlighted:

  • Still has and is:
    • Easy content editing
    • Powerful workflows
    • Customized content types
    • Permission management
    • Security
  • Python 3 compatibility
  • Future:
    • Plone 6 as it is
    • Plone as a backend for Volto, Gatsby etc
    • Easier onboarding


Sprints and future Plone events

Some people had to leave before the weekend, but others stayed to sprint on interesting topics. So two more days of programming and cool people.

Overall, Red Turtle and friends arranged an epic conference at Ferrara. Huge thanks to everyone!


Next year's Plone Conference will be held in Namur, Belgium. Hope to see you there!

Before that, you may attend to one of  announced Plone sprints: