May 27, 2011

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New Plone Theming Has Arrived

Due to the new Diazo theming features now available, I am very excited about the recent release of Plone 4.1rc2

Edit2:Enfold/Ploud.net looking for theme developers, see Alan Runyan’s comment below.

Edit: Laurence Rowe made new Diazo and plone.app.theming releases so the zip filenow works! Thanks Laurence.

Due to the new Diazo theming features now available, I am very excited about the recent release of Plone 4.1rc2 and plone.app.theming 1.0b2. So much so, I created a couple themes (in just a few hours) to demonstrate my rapture [1]:

Granted, these aren’t entirely “finished” (e.g. lots of CSS improvements are needed) but it is truly impressive how much you can do with so little effort (thanks to the hard work of the Diazo team, Plone team, and of course the theme designers themselves).

The best part has got to be the zip file packaging features in plone.app.theming (provided by plone.resource). While I did have a bit of trouble getting my zip file to work, I suspect I’ll get that issue resolved this week (I don’t think I was able to import any zipped themes, even the ones from p.a.theming tests).

Suprise! I like it

What I am most surprised about is how much I like this approach:

  • Developers can easily distribute themes in Python packages, and pay a much smaller “theming tax” with new style Diazo theming.
  • They can also optionally choose to distribute Diazo themes as zip files for easy public consumption (although I can’t think of any good, automated way to publish just the zip files.)
  • If I am not mistaken the contents of a zipped theme can be loaded quite elegantly, without changing their contents, via a Python package.

So, let us now commence the spamming of PyPI and the Plone.org downloads section with “fun” easy-to-install (read: no buildout) Plone themes! [2]

Disclaimer

These are my experiences with relatively new Plone technologies. If I’ve made a mistake or if your experiences are different, please let me know in the comments.

[1] Please forgive gratuitous belated rapture humor.

[2] Before you get upset over any suggested spamming, I only mean to suggest that the ability to distribute a theme as a zip file lowers the bar to Plone adoption tremendously. Personally (and tentatively, since I’m not even sure if everything is meant to work the way I currently expect it to), I plan to include a zipped archive of any theme I distribute as a Python package because it is so easy to do so (or hopefully will be very soon). But how the community chooses to capitalize on this new-found ability remains to be seen.

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