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Plone 5: The Stroopwafel sprint and the Cathedral Sprint

The future depends on what you do today (Mahatma Gandhi)

Feb 27, 2014

Plone 5: The Stroopwafel sprint and the Cathedral Sprint

A travel from Amsterdam to Cologne: here's my report of 10 days sprinting with the Plone community. An amazing experience of work and life. The goal? Plone 5

Here I am, sitting in my apartment in Ferrara, after a travel that I will remember for all my life.
These last 10 days have been an amazing experience of work and life with the Plone community. Thanks to RedTurtle, I just had the chance to attend both the documentation sprint in Amsterdam and the Cathedral Sprint in Cologne. I have to say that these two sprints have been very much productive.

Stroopwafel Sprint - Amsterdam - February 7th-9th

Stroopwafel SprintI left my hometown on Thursday 6th, destination Amsterdam, for the Stroopwafel sprint organized by Sven Strack and Paul Roeland.

The organizers and me too, were very surprised by the unexpected partecipation to the sprint, since normally the documentation is not the "cool sprint" everybody wants to attend.
Instead the participants were numerous, I think more than 10 people from many different countries. We started on Friday 7th with a whole day of brain storming about what the current status of the Plone's documentation is, what we wanted to achieve during the sprint and what was our final goal for the deadline of Plone 5 release (and beyond). With the help of Sisi Nutt we tried to get through the current documentation with different prospectives, trying to follow the flow of a newbie that will try to get into Plone.

Then, we started filling post-its, and with them we started filling the wall. We ended up with 3 walls full of post-its with ideas and notes. We found the gaps in the flow of informations, we found the fields that needs to be cleared better, we found the sources where some more documentation can be found. The goal was clear, we need one single location for all the documentation and it has to be:

  • clear and easy to read
  • useful
  • translated
  • up to date and therefore versioned
  • easily maintainable
  • cool (why not?!).

We also tried to spot the targets (end users, designers, developers, integrators and so on) and to organize the documentation to be effective for all of them.
The original idea for the sprint was just to organize the ideas and the tasks and then we would have started the "real work" in Munich at the second documentation sprint, but we ended up also doing some technical preparation.

The result is that we decided to separate the documentation itself that will be written in ReST from the buildout that will build it. This approach will let us have branches on github for each Plone's version (and subversion) and keep a single buildout for all of them. We started to work on the buildout that will manage all this:

Together with Asko Soukka, we also added the auto-generation of the screenshots. This will not only permit to have the screenshots with many different Plone themes, but also they will be automatically translated. Amazing!

In order to get all this, Sven and me, joined the AI-team and we'll continue to work on the technical part during these days. Next stop: the documentation sprint in Munich. There, with the help of some students from the university, we'll do some real work.

Cathedral Sprint - Cologne - February 10th-16th

On Sunday 9th, many sprinters in Amsterdam left for Cologne where we joined, along with my colleagues Alessandro Pisa and Andrew Mleczko, the Cathedral Sprint. The same night we also met many other plonistas that were already sprinting in their hotel rooms (even though the sprint would have start the day, that's the enthusiasm behind the Plone community!).

On Monday 10th the sprint began. The excellent organizer of the sprint, Timo Stollenwerk, set up everything during the kickoff meeting for being productive and effective. We decided to have these tracks:

Theme Team

Leader: Ramon Navarro Borsch

I decided to join the theme team since I have now some experience in that field. We improved very much the theme, for example now the edit bar is a vertical, black, elegant bar, which includes also the personal menu and the portlet management. The new theme will be also responsive out of the box.

We also focused on improving the user experience, for example in the next Plone's release all the viewlets in the footer will be replaced by portlets which will let the user customize them more easily.

Paul Roeland also worked together with both the theme team and the QA team to assure that the next Plone UI will be perfectly accessible and will follow the latest wcag guidelines.

Javascript Team

Leader: Rok Garbas

The javascript team, where Alessandro and Andrew joined, also managed to do many tasks. They for example moved the new theme from Twitter bootstrap version 3 to version 3.1, they improved and fixed the javascript tests for the new widgets and also wrote new widgets (i.e. there will be an upload widget which will let the use upload multiple files at once). The next Plone release will also feature TinyMCE 4 which is a great improvement in usability and accessibility.

Cleanup Team and QA Team

Leaders: David Glick and Timo Stollenwerk

These teams mainly focused on fixing tests failures and write new tests. At the end of the week, thanks to them, we had a green build in the Plone5 tests. Yeaaah!

Content types Team

Leaders: Philip Bauer

This team, where Philip Bauer and Johannes Raggam worked, improved and almost completed the migrations from archetypes to dexterity content types, which will be provided in the next release.

Leader: Víctor Fernández de Alba

This team worked on improving the look and feel of the next revision of the site. They focused mainly on the author page, that will feature many statistics of the developer like the number of commits from github, the number of answers on stackoverflow, the number of tweets and so on. This will expose the reliability and credibility of the developers.

The end

At the end of the week we almost managed to achieve the initial goal: having a Plone 5 alpha release. But we were not that far, since in these days the main PLIPS have been merged with all the tests passing. The alpha release is right after the corner, stay tuned!

At the end, I would really like to thanks the organizer of the sprint, Timo Stollenwerk, which has done an amazing work in bringing there more than 30 plonistas from all around the world. I also want to thanks the center GFU which kindly provided the location, the catering and the food.

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