Why does Plone theming hurt so good

It’s Wednesday morning and I haven’t even had my coffee yet and the second thought in my mind is my Plone filled day ahead (the first thought being is there anymore Frosted Flakes left and did the kids eat it all).

There are days, like today, where I wonder to myself why, after nearly 9 years, I’m still building Plone sites. Plone is still hard, but it is getting easier, or so I’m told. Am I a masochist maybe? Is the strength and pull of the Plone community so strong that even though my common sense says run, run far away and never look back, I still sit here day after day creating Plone themes? Maybe it IS Stockholm syndrome after all. I’ve been at the mercy of Plone’s multiple changes and increasingly more difficult theming story for a long time. Granted, I stay on top of “what is coming next” and know much of this ‘pain’ will go away with Plone 4. Or will it?

After all I am a designer, not a programmer. And yet I spend 99% of my time in code. Don’t even get me started on viewlet modification! Plone has so many awesome features, my clients love Plone because I love Plone. My clients see through my eyes, voice and actions that Plone is the right tool for their project. It is, really. Why does it hurt so much to make it pretty! Why do I love that it hurts so much? What am I going to do with myself when Plone has reached the point where theming is easy!? I can’t bear the thought.

I have tried to leave, to pull myself away from this project that has such a hold on me. It’s not easy. Plone is just so charming when you do what it tells you to do. Cross Plone and you’ll see, it can throw a nasty little traceback at you without giving it a second thought. Oh Plone what shall I do, I know I should leave you but I can’t. Plone you make me crazy, but you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

/* heading to the kitchen for coffee and mumbling something about interfaces and zcml */

C2E Training:Creating Plone 3 skins and custom views

Recognizing the need for training in customizing the look & feel of Plone, C Squared (C2E) will start hosting quarterly training sessions focused on the “art of theming”.  Our first 3 day session is scheduled for  March 18 – March 20, 2009 and will focus on creating a Plone 3 theme product.

Trainees will be able to convert a photoshop file to an installable Plone 3 theme product. Training will include comprehensive css training (with more focus on Plone specific css), making sense of viewlets and portlets, adding your own css and javascript files, understanding generic setup profiles (making your changes in the zmi and exporting) and best practices for theming Plone sites.

Knowledge of Python is not necessary but basic knowledge of *nix or windows command line and comfort with working on the filesystem is suggested.

Please register for the course here

C2E Training offers a variety of Plone specific training sessions including sessions for content managers, integrators and designers. If you are in need of training for your organization please feel free to contact us at (408)866-1300

26,926 blog posts in the blogosphere within the last day for Google Chrom

26,926 blog posts in the blogosphere within the last day for Google Chrome.

I have fallen prey to the phenomena that is “Google Chrome” blogging day. Although I’m usually so much more strong willed, today I’ve lost all of my ability to not jump off that proverbial bridge. I downloaded Chrome, and am playing with it along with everyone else.

First impressions:

Damn it’s clean and at first blush it seems really, really fast

Although only 1/2 the functionality of Firebug at the moment the “inspect this element” tool is slick, slick, slick! (right click on the browser page and select “inspect this element”)

I added gmail as an “Create an Application Shortcut” and it’s sexy and accessible from my desktop. Not that that matters as much to me as it does to my 65 yo mother who likes shortcuts on her desktop to her “ahem” Yahoo! mail.  I’m absorbing as much as I can in the blogosphere about this new tool (you find out more from your peers than you do from documentation, I’ll tell you that much!)

An interesting post from Mozilla CEO John Lily


Want to know why? Read Google’s Comic Book


(warning: the comic book is excellent but 36 + pages so get a cup of coffee and maybe call a geek to explain it, I just happen to live with a geek so I know more about browsers than I ever thought I wanted to know, go me)

I ran a few tests and I’m still poking at the “Chrome” but it’s looking like it’s going to be an awesome browser. I love FF3 and am writing this post in FF3 with Yoono and all my little rss feeds, twittering in my Yoono panel and admiring my colorful tabs so whether I’ll switch browsers anytime soon remains to be seen.

As a xhtml/css/template designer I spend way too much time in the browser worrying about this pixel and that pixel and swearing that non-standard browsers should be totally and completely scrapped I’m glad to see that Google is listening and improving our experience.

Google is so right when they say that our experience with the browser has changed. So many of us spend our day streaming video (watching the news online instead of on the television like we used to). Talking to our kids who have left the nest through chat of some sort (gtalk anyone?). Ordering groceries and holding online conferences and/or training sessions (I did that more this past year than I ever have in the past).  The requirements of the average user has changed.

As far as the accusations that Google is trying to monopolize the web. Who cares? If they do something better than anyone else, don’t they deserve it? They’ve worked hard to get here so why take that away?

Google has done their homework, let them revel in the ice cream sundae they earned and let’s get back to helping them build us the best browser ever (even if it turns out to be Firefox 4 – using all the cool technologies Google has developed and is willing to share). Monopolization implies the unwillingness to “share”, how can Google monopolize the web when they’ve Open  Sourced the code generated after months and months of  blood, sweat and gears (yes it’s a pun ;-P)

Kudos Google, keep up the good work.

As for me, I’ll continue to use FF3 for web developer type work and Chrome for browsing and checking email! (at least for now)

(btw the amount of blog posts has probably increased since I started this particular post!)

Beyond Analytics and other interesting links

I’ve been a bit obsessed with YouTube lately and in my traversals have run across some interesting Web Tools to which I might not otherwise have been exposed.

Using Google Analytics for your website tracking but looking for even more information about visitors?

Click Tale


For the Windows users out there wanting to check out both browsers (IE and FF) at the same time check out:

warning: It looks like they haven’t include FF3 yet and yes Firebug is a good solution but this tool allows you to change CSS and look at both browsers in a split (or tabbed) window. Instead of moving from FF3 (or 2) and then IE7 and open Firebug in FF and the IE Developer toolbar in IE)

If you are a visual learner like I am then some of the CSS tutorials at YouTube can really help speed along your absorption of knowledge.

One of my favorite “teachers” is http://www.youtube.com/user/FDVISIONS . His accent is a little thick but the teaching speed is just right.

On the right side of his videos you’ll find links to related videos so start exploring if you haven’t already. It’s amazing how much you learn in a 3 minute video!

Hope you are having a terrific labor day weekend!

today’s adventure in IEhell

Did you know that IE7 will take a Son-of-Suckerfish drop-down menu, beat it up then call it’s mama?

Alright, overly dramatic but I spent better part of today trying to figure out why IE7 is the only one that refused to close my sub menus on the Plone drop-down menu I was working on. At one point all my sub menus were exposed for the world to see and I couldn’t make them go away!

That said I ran across a couple neat links I thought I’d share:

Granted this is a 2 year old post but it worked for my particular issue. Be sure to read through the comments and double check Safari, rumor has it that the fix may not work as well on older Safari browsers.

A Fix for Suckerfish Dropdowns in IE

A nice list of options for dealing with the IE7 sticky sub menus

Sticky Sons of Suckerfish

Funny thing is, IE7 is giving me more grief than IE6 today! Now off to try and figure out why IE7 thinks I requested:

font-size: ginormous;