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TalkQuintagroup is a place to engage with us on topics important to you concerning the information technology industry. Read blogs from Quintagroup employees, customers, and analysts, visit our forums and let us know what you think. The topics are broad and relevant, including Zope and Plone hosting, Zope and Plone development, Plone skins, web design and content management solutions.

World Plone Day 2010 in Lviv, Ukraine

Yesterday it was the third World Plone Day. Here is a brief overview of its celebration held by Quintagroup team.

Quintagroup organized a half-day event with 4 talks for current and potential members of Ukrainian Plone Users Group.

The first one to present his report was Serhiy Valchuk who talked about New Features of Plone 4. He mainly concentrated on functional and UI improvements that Plone 4th version brings: new items in Plone Control Panel, Image Handling options, TinyMCE visual editor overview and new features in portlets management.
Serhiy Valchuk

Then Olha Pelishok presented her Overview of Calendaring add-ons for Plone. She provided many screenshots and illustrative examples of the following products usage on Plone 3 websites: CalendarX, Plone4Artists Calendar, zopyx.multieventcalendar, and vs.event.
Olha Pelishok

After that Ihor Berehuliak started his Search Engines Optimization of Plone sites report. He spoke a lot about peculiarities of SEO for Plone sites. Ihor described main reasons that have influence on search results and how to improve Plone site SE crawling with default Plone tools and with the help of quintagroup.seoptimizer, quintagroup.plonegooglesitemaps, quintagroup.canonicalpath and Redirection Tool add-ons. A big part of presentation was devoted to work with Google Webmaster Tools and robots.txt in standard Plone site. Also, Ihor made some suggestions about what is needed to be improved in Plone in terms of SEO
Ihor Berehuliak

The last one to present his ideas was Myroslav Opyr, whose speech was particularly interesting for Quintagroup's developers team. Myroslav talked about automating of development process, testing and Plone sites administering: Continuous Integration, Bitten, Code Review, Fabric, RSS/Jabber, etc.
Myroslav Opyr

Photos from World Plone Day 2010 in Lviv are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/quintagroup/sets/72157623955266658

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New release of Plone SEO

New 3.0 version of quintagroup.seoptimizer released. Multiple improvements, cleanup and fixed performance issues.

We’ve just released a new version of Quintagroup Search Engine Optimization Tool - quintagroup.seoptimizer 3.0 for Plone 3. This release comes with multiple improvements: it was re-factored and simplified for users.

We decided rewrite seo configlet using standard Plone configlet approach. SEO configlet was divided into 2 parts: base and advanced (see images below). So, all settings that used to be listed on one page before are now split for clearer and easier use.

Plone SEO base Plone SEO advanced

Also, several features available in previous Plone SEO releases were dropped in 3.0 version:

  • Global keywords functionality is no longer available - no more settings to control keywords behaviour.

  • Additional keywords field used to for content types to receive additional keywords from the ones manually-specified was also dropped in this release.

Apart from cleaned-up code, rebuilt translation, and updated tests, quintagroup.seoptimizer 3.0 has significant performance issues fixes. Also, all metatags lists moved into htmlhead viewletmanager. More information about new Plone SEO release available in Plone SEO 3.0 Change Log.

Also, consider visiting Plone SEO Documentation area for detailed information about quintagroup.seoptimizer configuration.

If you are using quintagroup.seoptimizer for yours projects please update it. We would be glad to get your feedback about our work and particularly about Quintagroup Search Engine Optimization Tool. Leave a testimonial for us to know that you use and like our product. If you have any suggestions about future product development - don't hesitate to share your ideas.

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Plone Captchas package

New release for Quintagroup Plone Captchas package: improvements and changes

The Captchas products story started back in 2006 with qPloneCaptchas Plone product which supported Plone versions 2.0.x, 2.1.x and 2.5.x. Later it was refactored into quintagroup.plonecaptchas package which supported 3.0.x-3.3.x Plone versions.

Starting from the Plone Captchas 3.0 release quintagroup.plonecaptchas goes though another refactoring: captcha support for the standard Plone forms is staying in quintagroup.plonecaptchas while captchas core rendering and validation functionality are factored into quintagroup.captcha.core package.

quintagroup.plonecaptchas

This package adds captcha to Plone's standard forms: Send this, Contact Us, Add Comment and Reply. If you are using our quintagroup.plonecaptchas you can update it to the new 3.0 version by rerunning your buildout and reinstalling quintagroup.plonecaptchas product.

Captcha on Plone's Registration Form

By the default settings quintagroup.plonecaptchas adds captcha to all standard Plone forms but for Registration form. If you need to protect Plone's join form on your website you can do it via Zope Management Interface. Please have a look at the illustrated step-by-step how-to at quintagroup.plonecaptchas documentation area.

quintagroup.captcha.core

quintagroup.captcha.core - is a core package of simple captcha implementation that includes core rendering and validation functionality. This package allows to configure captcha images displayed on your site. Please see the documentation about how to use this product and change captcha look.

Coming soon...

In the nearest future we're planning to release 3 more captcha-support products for Plone. These will be captcha integration for z3cform and formlib forms for Plone. Besides, we're working on transforming our qPloneCaptchasField product to the package. Subscribe to Quintagroup's RSS Feed to be among the first to know about our new products.

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Plone Community on Facebook

Short overview of Plone community presence on Facebook.

Social media are becoming more and more popular for businesses to share their ideas and communicate with the existing and reach prospective customers. Content management systems like Plone are not the exception. They are trying to be presented in most social media and consider this as an important marketing campaigning tool

Such social network as Facebook can serve a good tool for engaging with more people. Plone presence on a world's favourite social media helps making conversations between existing and prospective Plone members much easier and closer.

We at Quintagroup have recently created 2 pages representing Quintagroup and Plone Themes we develop for Plone sites. The reason for creating such pages is to get people more engaged and motivated in taking part in conversations about Plone. You are welcomed to become our fan today and help us spread Plone.

There are a lot of other pages and groups on Facebook, devoted to uniting fans of Plone and people around it. You can join any group that is of interest for you. I've tried to roughly divide Plone groups on Facebook into the following categories:

Plone Users Groups
Members of different Plone users groups create their own Facebook groups to unite and get more communication between the members. These are such groups as Plone Italian User Group, Plone Indonesia User GroupBoston Plone Users Group, New York Plone Users Group, Plone Ukrainian Users Group, Grupo de Usuarios de Plone en México etc.
Plone Events
There are usually special groups created for occasions such as Plone Conferences, Symposiums or World Plone Days: Plone Conference 2009 Budapest, European Plone Symposium 2009, European Plone Symposium 2010, Plone Symposium East, Plone Symposium South America, and World Plone Day.
Plone Providers
Plone providers also try to find their place on Facebook by creating pages/public profiles for sharing ideas, business and products with Facebook users. See pages of such popular Plone providers as: Groundwire (former ONE/Northwest), Redomino, Abstract, Pilot Systems, Six Feet Up, Zea Partners and Quintagroup.
Other
You can also find groups according to your special interest in Plone. There is a group for Plone 3.0 user group and for Plone Developers. Insterested in Plone Tune-up events? Join Plone Tune-Up Rallies group and you are there. Even girls in Plone have their own PloneChix group.

As you can see there is a place for everyone! So, don't step aside but join us and help us enlarge the Plone community today.

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Happy New Year!

Warm wishes to you and your families for the coming New Year!

All of us at Quintagroup would like to wish you and your loved ones a New Year sparkling with happiness, success and joy!

christmas-card.jpg

We wish you a wonderful holiday time, and a positive and successful 2010 year. Let the New Year open up for you more opportunities, lead you onto the path of continued success, happiness & prosperity.

Happy 2010 to you!

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Screencast: SunRain Theme Installation on Buildout

New screencast about Quintagroup SunRain free Plone Theme installation on a buildout-based Zope instances for Plone 3.

 

Helpful links

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Screencast: Estate Lite Theme Installation

Screencast from Quintagroup about Estate Lite free Plone theme installation on a buildout-based Zope instances for Plone 3.

This video tutorial comes as addition to previously recorded screencast on Estate Lite Plone Theme Installation on a traditional (non-buildout-based) Zope instance for Plone 3.The following tutorial covers Estate Lite theme installation on a buildout-based instance.

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Screencasting in Linux

Sharing ideas and experience about capturing screencasts in Linux.

Today I finished my new video tutorial about making screencast in Linux. This screencast is the result of my recent work on making video screencast in Linux. I have been trying many applications for recording screencasts, recommended by different users. My intention was to make such video material that will be classified as HD video on YouTube. Besides, I tried to achieve the same quality of video and audio that I learned to get on Windows.

So, I can say that screencasting in Linux can be as easy as screencasting in any other operating system. The most difficult issue is to select the most suitable software among many and many available applications. In any case, I prefer using free open-source applications, so my search for suitable software was limited to free applications.

After dozens of videos recorded I learned one of the important lessons and here it is: Tip 1: Record audio and video streams separately. What this gives me is the control over 2 streams which I can edit, clean, and finetune. Besides, in this case synchronization issues do not emerge, and I have no problems with making audio and video synchronized.

The principle of my recording screencasts was the following: I recorded video and audio streams separately, then I edited and cleaned them. After that I combined them into a single video which I later uploaded into YouTube.

Step 1. Capture Video Stream

For video capturing I used qt-RecordMyDesktop that is a fine desktop session recorder for Linux. Even though RecordMyDesktop allows recording both video and audio streams, I preferred capturing video stream only (to disable audio recording make sure 'Sound Quality' box is not checked).

recordmydesktop

With 'Select Window' button I selected the necessary window to make the recordings within. With hitting the 'Record' button I launched screen capturing. The important note worth mentioning here is the size of the window to record. If you want to upload your screencasts to YouTube and want them to be recognized as High Definition (HD) videos, make sure to keep the recommended aspect ratio, and video resolution that should be 16:9. So, Tip 2: While recording video stream keep to the recommended window size proportion - 16:9. In my case I recorded within Firefox web browser window that was 1270 px width, so the height of the window was 714 px (1270 to 714 is the same proportion as 16 to 9).

As a result of the recording I got out.ogv file, which I had to convert to a suitable format for subsequent work. What I used for this purpose was a mencoder, I run the following command in the terminal to convert my .ogv file to .avi:

mencoder out.ogv -o out.avi -ovc lavc

where out.ogv - is the input file, recorded with RecordMyDesktop, out.avi - output file needed for future word, -ovc lavc - is the the codec used for conversion.

Step 2. Record Audio Stream

To record the audio path I used Audacity sound editor. I usually open the video file in the background and while it is played I record audio stream for it. This gives me an understanding about how long the audio should be and this is how I can make my audio and video streams synchronized.

audacity

Audacity is a good application for making audio stream clean and distinct. It allows to get rid of the background noise that is usually recorded but it makes the audio sound a bit 'dirty'. Tip 3: Always try to minimize background noise while recording, if it still bothers you - use a good sound editor like Audacity to get rid of it. Here are the instruction how to do this:

  • Select a piece of the audio with no voice, only the background noise.
  • Go to Effect -> Noise Removal -> Click on Get Noise Profile
  • Select the whole audio stream and again go to Effect -> Noise Removal and press OK.

Now listen to what you've got now. Sounds better, doesn't it? What is left to do is to export this audio track in the .wav format.

Step 3. Combine a video with an audio track

The final step of the screencast making is to combine video and audio steams into a single video file. For this I used Avidemux application. Simply open necessary video .avi file, add the audio stream at Audio -> Main Track, and insert the External WAV (the one recorded with Audacity).

avidemux

Now that our video is complete - save this video at File -> Save -> Save Video. That is it! The screencast is ready for the upload to YouTube!

Here is the video tutorial about making screencasts in Linux using applications mentioned above:

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Screencast: Plone Captcha Field

This video tutorial is about Plone Captcha Field add-on for Plone that allows to prevent automatic forms submit. Watch the following screencast to learn about how to install and configure this product, and how to add captcha field to the forms, created with PloneFormGen.

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Screencast: Plone Captchas

This video tutorial is about Plone Captchas (quintagroup.plonecaptchas) Plone add-on from Quintagroup. It covers such topics as Plone Captchas product installation on buildout-based instance; captchas view configuration, and demonstrates some Plone Captchas use cases.

Plone Captchas is simple captchas implementation for Plone, designed for validation of human input in insecure forms. It plugs to all Plone forms: default commenting mechanism, sent_to & join forms, forms created with PloneFormGen.

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