You are here: Home / Blog / posts / Pixelworkers of CAES DO / Plone is a battlefield

Plone is a battlefield

by pgang — published Feb 22, 2011 01:15 AM, last modified Jan 28, 2014 02:54 PM
Recap from the West Coast Plone Cioppino Sprint, a.k.a lessons learned over a counter of mutilated crab carcasses.

bodega sprint

If Plone is a battlefield, then I daresay we came out victorious last weekend, rallied under a glorious Plone-blue banner and standing triumphant over a pile of hella closed tickets & brutalized crustaceans. Not sure if that analogy works quite right, but unified and kick-ass are still appropriate descriptors for the results of the sprint!

Just shy of a dozen Plone-developing folk planted in a beautiful house overlooking Bodega Bay — fully-stocked with alcohol (damn Ross Patterson's endless supply Manhattans were delicious), gourmet food (thank you, head chef Steve McMahon), and a hot tub — produce amazing results. The goals of the sprint focused on achievable wins for the whole Plone community, on items like Plone Software Center and To be honest, the week prior and the entire car ride up, Tyler & I were asking ourselves Why are we going? and What the hell are two designers going to work on for three days? We thought, Well, maybe needs a bump up from the couch upholstery-like theme it was currently rocking... So off we went.

Turns out (lucky for us?), there are tickets a'plenty for Plone-workers of all kinds! Here's an overview of the main issues I remember us working on:

  • login form

    (First off, let me just say, never in my life did I expect to be editing something on — and yet! I guess that's just what people do at Plone sprints! Ridiculous.) 

    This problem was a quick CSS fix. The input fields on the login form ran directly next to the text labels, but with Tyler's favorite display: inline-block attribute and a width of something or other, it was all good. The trickiest part here was figuring out how to actually commit the change. This is still a mystery to me, so we handed it off to SteveM to commit it for us. :)

  • printing issues

    Two dilemmas here! First one started in a ticket — someone noticed that the print format of included the right column and footer unnecessarily, and suggested some CSS to leave those out. Tyler & I agreed that it caused at least an entire extra (often blank) page to print, so we used their CSS.

    However, on discussing this further, removing the footer and/or sitemap at the bottom of the page is debatable — is it necessary? Who makes those decisions? Do we just make the change in the interest of the greater good and hope that flies with the Plone deities out there..?

    Anyway, the second thing we found was that Firefox wasn't printing more than one page of anything at all. Preposterous! After a bunch of detective work, we figured out which stylesheet was the culprit, and thanks to Tyler's über research abilities, discovered it was a known float issue in Firefox and entirely fixable. I can't remember the exact CSS, I think we just had to put float: none on something, but it prints properly now. Huzzah!

  • Support

    The biggest thing we worked on was implementing a new template for the Support section, in preparation for the shift to StackOverflow for documentation. Limi had a mock-up ready and a general idea of how things should work, then Tyler & I were given free reign to mess around in's ZMI. 

    Having never skinned anything in Plone 4 before, we took a bit to figure out what was different with the new columnized framework, the grid-row grid-cell biznass. To be honest, we never quite figured out how to get the doc_view to place the content in the right area, so we hacked it with CSS. May God have mercy on our souls. 

    Other work included making new icons and adding the new StackOverflow logo, and otherwise just styling the page. Here's the final product! (Well, it looks off right now there, someone's been working on it still I think, but here's what it looked like when we left Bodega Bay...)


    In retrospect, given that zenwryly successfully imported the content into the Support section of, that menu is going to need to change to accommodate it now, no?

  • Sprints

    Lastly, the Sprints page was in need of some clean-up. We turned the page into a Collection, moved all the stray Sprint event items into one folder, and set the collection to display the most recent three events (sprints). Simple enough!

Moral of the story?

on top of Goat Rock

The real wins here, though, were not that we helped out with a little CSS action or that I learned of the amazing combination that is rosemary crackers, fig jam, & brie (thank you, zenwryly!). No no, I think what we really came away with can be summed up with the following bulleted list:

  • Solidarity: Buildout makes everyone cry, not just us.
  • Location: Tyler and I are infinitely more productive working from a couch and from the hours of 3pm to 2am. (Hint: Adam, please requisition us a couch for our cubicle, posthaste! Also, relocate Mrak Hall to Bodega Bay, kthx!) :)
  • Open source ftw: Anyone really can help out in an open source community! And sometimes you do need that diversity of contributors.
  • Community: It's been said before and it still holds true, the Plone community rocks. And is fueled by alcohol.
  • And because five seems more complete than four: Killing crabs is awesome. Octobush. Hot tub heated documentation&theming debates at 3am. Hell yes, #cioppinosprint, let's do this again soon.

 PS: Did I mention Goat Rock is amazing & eleddy is a kick-ass top rope / rappelling instructor? ERNEST? Yep!