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Blog entries related to Content Management with Plone, written by Olha Pelishok. Blogs include overview of documentation and books about Plone, impressions about new Plone features, basic content management tasks done with Plone's visual editors.

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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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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Quintagroup's new office

Quintagroup team is moving to a brand new office.

It is time to separate! Part of our team - our dear developers team - moves from our good old office into a brand new one! The repairs completed, new furniture is in, everything clean and light - so we move in! We used to be all together at 3 adjacent rooms for more than 3 years. Now that the company grows, and there are more and more of us, our old office became toocramped and too noisy...

So, our brand-new office room. It is located in the same building as the old one, but one stage higher. We're separated now but still close enough. :) Space, glorious space! Big and light room with 10 working places and a cozy kitchen-restroom.

You might have see our new office room, as we celebrated World Plone Day 2009 there. But then, 1 month from now it lacked furniture and green plants; now it is all packed. Everything on its place and everybody at their working desks.

So, thanks to everyone who worked hard so that now we can arrive everyday to this pleasant place!

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Plone 3.0 release - my impressions

Sharing impressions about long-awaited Plone 3.0 release.

I've recently had a possibility to work with new long-awaited release of Plone - 3.0. It was a great experience I should confess, so many new features, such nice and necessary things that previous releases lacked, just amazing amount of new functionalities. Having read some documentations about Plone 3.0 features, I've tried everything by myself. So, what impressed me the most in this much more productive Plone release...

  • Every text field is clickable, thus - editable, i.e. it became much easier and less time-consuming to make changes. It's pretty nice that I can now click on any part of a document to do a quick update, correct a spelling error or do changes to any field in events items. There is no need now to reload the whole page to make corrections — simply edit it directly by clicking on it.
  • Versioning support - one click on History green tab takes me to the full history of a document edits, as simply as that. Edit notes can be put down after every page edit so that to remind yourself what particularly have been done. Even if no notes were left, there is a nice tool Comparing to other revision that clearly displays all the changes done, in different colors for better orientation. It is possible to revert to an earlier version of the document if needed, just by clicking on the corresponding version. All the old versions are kept together, called "working copies", and can be reached any time. Isn't it amazing? No more numerous undoes!
  • Plone 3.0 comes with a a new portlet architecture, more capable and higher performance portlets engine. There is no need to shift to Zope interface any longer to set any portlets you need. Everything is done simply and easily in Plone interface. This is especially convenient when setting portlets for a particular folder, different from what are there in the parent one. On the left and right side of every page there is a link to Manage portlets page.
  • WYSIWYG editor working here is new version of Kupu - 1.4, that has lots of new features implemented.
  • Plone 3.0 checks links and references, preventing potential link breakage. In case you want to remove any item from the site, Plone checks whether this item has been linked to from somewhere else. If this turns to be a working item, a warning appears, telling that this item is used somewhere, and that items you are attempting to delete may cause links in the site to break. There is even a listing of the documents that will get a broken link. I think that is a great idea to have this feature developed and implemented, getting rid of the risk of having broken links!
  • Sharing permissions have been also changed - now it is easy to control who has access to the content, who can add, edit, view, or review it.

That's probably all I've noticed so far.. I guess working with Plone 3.0 will be a pleasure!

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Plone Book updates - Kupu 1.4 version released

Updates in Plone Book for Content Managers because of new Kupu release.

Plone Book for Content Managers has recently been updated due to the fact that new stable version of Kupu WYSIWYG editor was released - Kupu 1.4. This new Kupu release is compatible with Plone 3.0.

Kupu 1.4 has the drawer interface substantially changed, with this new drawer interface it became easier to select folders. Clicking on the title of a folder will navigate into the folder rather than selecting it. Kupu now uses radio buttons (or checkboxes for a multi selection drawer) to indicate the selection.

So, what changes have been done?

  • In Insert Tables with Kupu chapter information about paragraph styles was added, namely paragraph styles within tables are now available. Kupu allows setting paragraph styles within table cells. Different paragraph style can be set for every separate table cell. This new feature of Kupu is nicely described here.
  • There is a new anchor drawer which lets you create tables of contents for the current document, or simply link within the document. This renewed drawer is displayed and explained in How to Create FAQ Page with Kupu. What is more, management of anchors is now advanced: Kupu 1.4 allows creating and deleting anchors without directly creating links.
  • Internal and external link drawers also support linking to anchors within the remote documents. Thus, Insert Internal Link chapter has been updated, as well as Insert External Link, that was enlarged with an example about embedding external objects to the page, i.e. some support was added for inserting Flash content.
  • Image captioning now has a customizable template. Kupu insert image properties explains how to configure default image size.
  • Kupu now has a 'Save' button available straight near the rest buttons. More information about this can be found here.
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New Chapter in Plone Book

Plone Book for Content Managers expanding, containing more and more useful information for content managers.

Plone Book for Content Managers is continuously enlarging. We are trying to keep you close to what new appears for enlightening content manager's work.

This time the thing is about Kupu paragraph styles. In case you need to change the size of letters or their color in Kupu WYSIWYG editor and you know that preferable way to do it is with the help of new paragraph styles. But how to do it correctly, so that generated HTML code does not have its specific bad tags.

The answer to this question you may find in How to add a new style to Kupu Paragraph Styles - a newly added chapter of Plone book. This article is devoted to adding new styles to Kupu, that can definitely give much better look to your content.

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Plone translated into Ukrainian

Plone is now available in Ukrainian thanks to Ukrainian Plone Users Group efforts!

About 2 months ago Ukrainian Plone Users Group (aimed to unite people, interested in Plone Ukrainian community life) decided to take the initiative to complete the translation of Plone into Ukrainian.

There is a Ukrainian translation included into Plone 3.0, but this is rather poor translation with much less than 50% of the translated data. So, we began to translate every line one by one, sometimes correcting the existing variants, sometimes skipping lines to get back to them later.

We tried to do our best in making Plone interface Ukrainian from cover to cover. Even though we are not still 100% sure about translation of some phrases, we believe our translation serves the important tool to those, who use Ukrainian on their sites.

Moreover, we spent much time on translating Kupu Visual Editor interface into Ukrainian as well. Leaving Kupu interface non-translated seemed too big gab, since Kupu is used by most Plone-users.

Now Ukrainian translation of Plone is committed to plone.org SVN and we hope to see it included in the coming Plone releases.

Another thing worth mentioning here is the beginning of Ukrainian Plone community project - Plone Ukraine. This is the first site, on which we actively use our translation. This website is a result of our long work in the sphere of localization of Plone CMS for Ukrainian market. Plone Ukraine - is a place for members of Plone community to share their thoughts, achievements and popularize Plone CMS within Ukraine. We also hope to collect all the news of Plone activity in Ukraine here. We will try to make our site as useful to its users as possible! All the content that appears on site is written exclusively in Ukrainian. We believe that with the help of this web site more Ukrainian companies will get interested in Plone powerful solutions.

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Plone Book for Content Managers - now applies to Plone 3

With the active spread of Plone 3.0 release - Plone book was updated to include information about work in Plone 3.

Plone 3.0 is now actively used by content managers, that is why we tried to update Plone book to their needs. As earlier it dealt with Plone 2.5 and 2.1 issues, now more information was added concerning work in Plone 3.0.

Plone book now has a clear explanations to what Plone versions they apply. It is specified in each article description, e.g. 'This article applies to: Plone 3.0.x, Plone 2.5.x, Plone 2.1.x' or 'This article applies to Kupu 1.4.x'. I hope this will be helpful for those, who consult the book when managing content in Plone.

  • The first chapter Plone Site Description has some new screenshots added to compare Plone 2.x and Plone 3.0.x Personal and Task bars.
  • Plone 2.5.x Smart Folder (Topic) is now called Collection in Plone 3.
  • Navigation Settings were divided and now Navigation portlet can be configured in 'Manage Portlets' -> 'Navigation Portlet', in earlier versions it was possible to do it done in 'Site Setup' -> 'Navigation Settings'.
  • Plone portlets has new way of management, without need to do it through ZMI.
  • Plone footer can be edited in ZMI, but at different location: it moved from plone_skins -> plone_templates to portal_view_customization.
  • Article about Multilingual Plone Site creation - Language setting can now be found at different location as well: if in Plone 2.x everything was at Site Setup -> Language Settings, now they can be reached at ZMI -> portal_languages.
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Enlargement of Plone Book

New chapters in the Plone Book for Content Managers.

Plone Book for Content Managers is becoming larger and larger with more and more useful information for Content Managers working with Plone-based sites.

Kupu chapter has recently been enlarged by an article concerning Kupu Toolbar Customization, in addition to this two articles about how to insert different content types into Plone site were published: Insert External Link and Insert Tables with Kupu.

If you are still unsure what is happening with HTML code read HTML filter, so to familiarize yourself with filters available for HTML code validation.
Another new article is How to Edit Footer. And the ways of organizing a navigation tree and navigation tabs on Plone site are described in Navigation on a Plone-site.

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Plone Book Expansion

More chapters in the Plone Book for Content Managers.

Plone Book for Content Managers is expanding! One more chapter has lately been added to this book. New article titled Insert Internal Link with Kupu Visual Editor throws some light on creation of internal links within Plone site. Clear illustrations and screenshots make the process more understandable for content managers.

With the help of Kupu Resource Types internal links to different content types may be created: these may be a simple linkable object, collection of them and even a link to the exact part of the document (if it contains anchors) can be created.

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