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Fast. Pretty. Easy. Plone 4 is here!

Posted by Jon Stahl at Sep 16, 2010 |

We're celebrating the release of Plone 4, a big, shiny, speedy new version of the open-source content management system we've used to build over 150 websites in the past five years.

There's nothing more exciting than a major open-source software release to make our hearts here at Groundwire get all a-flutter.  (Well, there is coffee, and Jon Stewart, but these are more quotidian pleasures.)

This September, though, we're celebrating the release of Plone 4, a big, shiny, speedy new version of the open-source content management system we've used to build over 150 websites in the past five years.

Plone puts out a new version only once every couple of years, so a whole new numbered release is a big deal -- not just for web developers, but for content editors and everyday website visitors alike. Groundwire Web Developer David Glick was a big contributor to Plone 4. David served on the "Plone 4 Framework Team," the all-volunteer group of core Plone contributors who reviewed and approved all of the proposed new features and changes. In addition, David did a ton of quiet, behind-the-scenes work to tune up Plone's internal plumbing and to coordinate the work of the amazing Plone community.

In the following short video, Plone superstar Sean Kelly offers an irreverent explanation of how Plone 4's "elegant minimalism" makes managing your website simpler and easier.

Here's the breakdown on what's got us all excited about Plone 4:

Bam! A spiffy new HTML editor

Let's face it: if you're using Plone, you spend most of your time editing pages in the built-in graphical HTML editor. For you, the most noticeable change in Plone 4 will be the brand-new, easier-to-use graphical HTML editor. It's got a bunch of improvements that makes writing your web content way nicer.

  • Inserting images is easier and faster.
  • Plone 4 does a better job of cleaning up the junk that Microsoft Office spews out when you cut-and-paste content from Word.
  • It's easier to work with tables to do more complex document formatting.
  • Linking to other sites (or within your site) is faster and easier.

Vroom! 50% faster

The Plone 4 team spent a ton of effort making Plone go faster, and they've got a lot to show for their efforts. Not only is Plone 4 about 50% faster than Plone 3 overall, it's now 3x faster out of the box than Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla!. This raw speed really comes in handy for content editors and when your site is serving up infrequently-accessed pages.

Plone 3 vs Plone 4 Performance

Bling! A new look, popups and more

Plone 4 delivers the first-ever ground-up refresh of the default Plone theme since Plone 1.0 in 2001. That's an eternity in open-source years, and a testament to the quality and staying power of the original Plone design.  Plone's new default theme, called "Sunburst" is less a radical departure than a deepening of the "elegant minimalism" of Plone's entire approach.  But as you saw in the video above, it looks and feels great.

Plone 4 Sunburst screenshot

Sunburst has lots more whitespace to let your eye rest, uses color smarter to draw attention to important UI controls, and hides less-used items where they don't clutter or compete for your attention. Even when it's heavily customized with your branding, Sunburst still makes the content editing experience faster and easier than ever before.

Sunburst also takes advantage of the latest JavaScript techniques to bring you sharp, fast, easy-to-use popup menus for common tasks such as logging in, deleting content, and adding users.

Plus, add-on product authors (like us!) now count on jQuery tools being there, letting them build even more polished and effective user interfaces for their add-on code. For example, we’re taking advantage of it in Megaphone to make a really slick wizard for composing online advocacy letters and petitions!

Getting Plone 4

If you're interested in taking Plone 4 for a test drive, head on over to, where you'll find a fully-functional Plone 4 demonstration site.

If you're interested in having Groundwire build you a site powered by Plone 4, or upgrading an existing Plone site to Plone 4, get in touch with us and let's chat!


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