Comparing Plone to WebGui – Part 1

As a long time “user” and “integrator” of Plone I wanted to evaluate the difference between two Open Source cms communities as I have the opportunity to work with Plone and WebGui on two projects simultaneously.

Initial differences (I could be mistaken on some of these points, so please correct me if something has changed):

  • Plone is written in Python, WebGUI is based on Perl
  • Plone uses the Zope Application Server, WebGUI uses WRE (WebGUI Runtime Environment)
  • Plone has both a browser interface (Zope Management Interface) and filesystem access, WebGUI has a browser based interface for customization and development.
  • Plone has multiple third-party products for things like blogs, forums, ecommerce that are developed by multiple authors (examples, GetPaid, EasyShop Quills, CoreBlog, Scrawl), WebGUI has one blog, one ecommerce offering, one forum offering, all included in the core, all worked on by the core development team (I’m planning an entire blog post about this particular topic). Add-ons for WebGUI are feature enhancements and themes.
  • It’s easier to install Plone for testing and development (thanks to the unified installer), WebGUI has a VMWare image but I wasn’t able to get it installed, my very technical boyfriend had to set up an instance for me.
  • Plone is supported by the Plone Foundation, WebGUI is supported by Plain Black, Inc.

According to ohloh.net Plone has a much more active community but the WebGUI project is in the top 10% of javascript projects for their commenting practices .

Initial similarities:

Plone and WebGUI cannot be hosted on $8.00 a month environments (WebGUI requires root access to stop and start mod_perl, apache, mySQL, etc, although you can restart them through the WRE browser interface too after you get everything setup)
Plone and WebGUI can be installed on any OS
Plone and WebGUI both have a high learning curve (we purchased 4 WebGUI books just to get started, which we are still waiting for, hoping we get them next week)
Plone and WebGUI are being used in University and Government projects
Plone and WebGUI have been around for a long time (both went official in 2001)

Plone as a community is much larger than WebGUI. WebGUI appears to be a core group of developers, very tightly knit and controlled. No questions like..”Who is maintaining project x?”. I haven’t decided yet which is better, we will see as I get further into actual integration. So far the WebGUI guys (and gals) have been very accepting of a couple of Plonista’s encroaching on their channel. They know I am a long-time Plone integrator and yet they are extremely helpful.

Next article – Comparing Plone to WebGUI – Part 2
Quality vs Quantity: Comparing offering multiple “third-party” products to including core products that have been tested