Professional Plone 4 Development
Martin Aspeli's Professional Plone 4 Development is the most-anticipated Plone book since Martin's earlier Professional Plone 3 Development. For Plone developers, it pretty much goes without saying that Martin is an outstanding technical writer, and that his documentation of Plone's development environment is definitive.
What got my attention about PP4D was that the contrast between it and PP3D is very much like the contrast between Plone 4 and Plone 3.
Plone 4 does more than Plone 3, and Martin's book is bigger and has new chapters and sections to cover the new features. But Plone 4 is also sleeker and faster than 3. Its parts fit together better, and it's more approachable to new users and integrators.
Martin shows us that the same is true for Plone 4 development. Both the Plone 4 development environment and the PP4D book make more sense than their Plone 3 counterparts. The parts fit together better. Plone 3 development required that you know, and practice, both new (Zope 3 style) and old (Archetypes) development paradigms. You had to know how to use Python packages and Zope products, skins and browser views. And, I think the Plone development community (and Martin) were not really sure how these fit together and when it was best to use which.
PP4D is much more confident. Dexterity (content-type development framework) and Diazo (theming system) are much better ways to develop, and Martin is able to explain them clearly without having to burden the reader with so many layers of history. PP4D, like its predecessor, is still a book for experienced, versatile programmers, but it doesn't need to make as many apologies to its audience.
Professional Plone 4 Development is thus a better book than its predecessor in part because Plone 4.x is a better development platform. Martin's community leadership is — of course — a large part of the reason for this advance. But, the improvements are also due to the great work of the many folks on the core development and framework teams.
So, Martin should take a big bow. But Hanno Schlichting, David Glick, Laurence Rowe, Eric Steele, Denys Mishunov, Rob Gietma, Alex Limi and many others should be proudly joining that curtain call. Bravo.