The Latest in Plone

The Latest in Plone by pendragon David Whelan I finally had a free weekend where I could make the move from Plone 1.0.5 to Plone 2. I’d been watching and waiting for the final release before making the switch. I knew, from having watched the development, that some of the things I’d hoped to do – like syndication – would finally be fixed in the latest release.

It wasn’t painless but it has – touch wood – so far been worth it. The upgrade instructions, as simple as they were, covered all the bases. I backed up my entire Zope folder (Windows 2K) and then did a complete, new install of Plone. Then I brought the data.fs files over from the old Zope and dropped them in their new location. This threw me off a bit because the folder structure is somewhat different and I had to figure out where I was going!

Installation on Windows

The service continues to be somewhat tricky, as it installs properly but you really need to refrain from using the Windows console for managing the service. Instead, use the Plone interface to start/stop the service. Otherwise, Windows will report that it is running, but Plone will report it isn’t.

The connection to Apache was intact after the conversion. I didn’t have to do any conversions. The one change I made to my httpd.conf was to point the proxy/rewrite to the new site (using the virtual host monster), a matter of a minute or so’s work.

Starting up Plone

I started up the new Plone and created a new Plone site. It had my old site (because of the data.fs file?) but many of the items were broken. I’d customized a number of slots and views, as well as the header, and some of it couldn’t be carried forward. But all the content was easy to drag and drop into the new site. One caveat: I’d created some custom portal types and had not recreated them in the new site; this “broke” all of the documents based on those types. I deleted all the files, created the type in the new site, and then re-copied them. That eliminated that problem.

Changing and Updating Documents and Content

The next hurdle was getting documents to appear properly. My topics were sorted on “title” and that ended up in an error:

“The index chosen for sort_on is not capable of being used as a sort index”

and I couldn’t break into any of the topics. Fortunately, I didn’t have many so I recreated each one, deleting the old one when I’d recreated the new one. But I still can’t sort on the Title of the document (one of many remaining to do items!).

My link view document wasn’t working properly either, returning a “checkpermissions” error. I couldn’t identify the place where the error was called – I was using the link_view document from the old Plone – so I just copied it off to the side (oldlink_view) and customized the link_view document in the new site, adding back in my custom code to get it working again.

The portlet/slot conversion process was very easy. I copied the portlet_news over twice to create another for my “blog” (I copied the News Item to create a DBlog Item) and for my links, so that those two portlets now work the way they used to.

To Do List

I’m now nearly back where I wanted to be and the investment in time has largely been focused on getting my content and probably wrong-headed customizations to work in the new site. My remaining to-do items are:

  1. Getting the topic sort to work
  2. Getting the right column of portlets to ALWAYS appear (this was a page template issue that I’d JUST solved in the last version), no matter what page I’m viewing; right now, the right column appears and disappears without any apparent reason
  3. Understanding what my past CSS customizations are now represented as in the new CSS style environment; I’ve figured out many of them, and am going to be good this time and use the plone_custom.css file, but there’s still a lot to winkle out
  4. Re-customize the top nav to throw the tabs where I want them, etc.

All in all, this couldn’t have gone any better than it has.

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David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.