With what must be the fifth or sixth round of apologies to both Erik Rose and PACKT publishing for the delay (very sorry guys), here is my review! Better late than never.
I get bored with the same ol’ blog entry titles:
“A review of so and so’s book, by such and such…”
Not that there is anything wrong with these titles, they serve their purpose. It’s not you… it’s me. Can we still be friends?
Anyway, I will cut to the chase with this one: if you care about Plone and you have not done so already, you should buy `Plone 3 for Education`_right now.
That is not to say every Plone book is for you. You have to decide for yourself if you want this beautiful creation (see above) of Erik’s to shine on your mantle piece for years to come. Even if you are a giant Plone supporter, and even if you make your living off of Plone, you may still not want to purchase this book. That’s just the way that it goes. But, I will to try to convince you anyway! Here is my chapter-by-chapter review:
The preface sets the tone of the book, and I like the tone Erik sets. Erik has used Plone for many years at Penn State and you will find his experiences valuable. He’s made mistakes so you don’t have to!
Chapter 1 covers creating courses (of course!) Erik makes the argument that Plone can hold it’s own against expensive course management software, and I believe him. Of particular interest are Erik’s recommendations to:
Chapter 2 introduces calendaring in Plone, and Erik suggests using Plone4artists calendar to make your course content easily browsable. Of particular interest are Erik’s recommendations to:
Chapter 3 showcases the Faculty/Staff Directory (FSD) add-on for Plone which allows you to create an online personnel directory. Of particular interest is Erik’s explanation of how to categorize and correlate people within FSD.
Chapter 4 covers customizing Faculty/Staff Directory. Of particular interest is Erik’s coverage of AT Schema Extender(which is a great way to customize Plone these days).
Chapter 5 covers blogs and forums. Of particular interest is Erik’s coverage of Scrawl, and the need to exercise extreme caution when installing add-ons (always good advice).
Chapter 7 covers forms. Of particular interest is Erik’s comparison of PloneFormGen to Archetypes content objects, and his explanation of when to use one over the other.
Chapter 9 covers deployment. Of particular interest is Erik’s coverage of a typical production software stack that includes ZEO, Zope2, Apache and of course Plone. Also covered is CacheFu, which has been superseded by plone.app.caching in Plone 4.
Chapter 10 covers maintenance. Of particular interest is Erik’s coverage of collective.recipe.backup to automate the creation of repozo scripts. I would add to that, you can use z3c.recipe.usercrontabto automate the creation and removal of cron jobs to execute those scripts.
All in all, I enjoyed reading this book. And, I appreciate whenever a member of the community shares his/her experiences. So thank you, Erik!
That’s it! I hope you will consider purchasing a copy of Plone 3 for Education right now.
And if you enjoyed reading this review, please consider `helping me help Plone in February 2011.`_
Alex Clark (January 2011)