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A Look at Plone 3 Intranets

Posted by Steve McMahon at Sep 11, 2010 08:00 PM |

A review of “Plone 3 Intranets” by Víctor Fernández de Alba.

A Look at Plone 3 Intranets

Plone 3 Intranets

Víctor Fernández de Alba's Plone 3 Intranets isn't just about Plone 3, and it isn't just about intranets. Nearly all of the material in the book is equally applicable to Plone 4. And, in addition to intranets, this book is really about any content-management situation where there is delegated authority over content management.

Plone’s great strength is in the collaborative production of web content, whether for public or internal consumption. It gives managers the tools they need to delegate authority for production, editing and reviewing of content, and it gives authors, editors and managers a great user interface for doing their work in a way that allows them to concentrate on content.

Plone 3 Intranets is all about that great strength. Its target audience is site administrators who want to learn how to administer users and groups, assign roles in content creation and management, use workflow rules to shepherd content, and to control the availability of content. The subject does not require a knowledge of Plone development, and the book does not require a knowledge of Python, HTML or CSS. Instead, it’s about administering, and planning the administration of a site using Plone itself. It also occasionally delves into the interface of the Zope application server, which underlies Plone, when that would help the reader understand important details about security or workflow.

This is no “Dummies” book. The target audience is smart enough to understand a concept like granular security and ready to map security concepts onto the needs of their own organization.

Plone 3 Intranets is very well written. It contains some of the clearest explanations of users and group administration, sharing and workflow of any of the current Plone books. The quality of the prose is definitely a cut above Packt's common product.

There is getting to be a wealth of books covering Plone 3 and 4, and it’s worth figuring out where a new one fits in the list. Plone 3 Intranets and Erik Rose’s Plone 3 for Education are both basically concerned with same environment: one with lots of content, content creators, and a need to organize and administer that content. Erik’s book is for the developer programatically adapting Plone to the specifics of a given enterprise. Victor’s book is for the planner and administrator.

The reader of this review should know: Packt gave me a free e-book version of this book. Also, I’m the co-author of one Packt book (Practical Plone), for which I received initial royalties, and have been a technical reviewer for several others, for which I received free copies of the reviewed book and another Packt title. The Plone Foundation, for which I am an un-recompensed officer, receives continuing royalties from Packt for Practical Plone.