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DZUG-Tagung #6: Bernhard Bühlmann – PloneGov (Plone in the government)

Bernhard Bühlmann,

Bernhard Bühlmann talks about his experiences of using Plone for projects for the government

Plone is not universally loved (in Switzerland)

  • IT departments are not open to Open Source, Plone is seen as a thread
  • established companies have a good working lobby
  • „nobody ever has been fired for using Oracle/SAP/Microsoft“
  • Big projects are put out to tender as WTO project (World Trade Organizing, international tender)
  • in Switzerland many people still think that „Open Source == Linux on the desktop“
  • Community not big enough, not many agencies are doing it in Switzerland

But: Advantages through Open Source (campaigning by 4teamwork)

  • Guerilla Marketing / Networking / Lobbying
  • Free available prototypes/applications
  • good service package
  • Open Source is not main selling point, instead it’s the complete package which counts
  • Advantages through Ressource Pooling: Many organisations can join up to create one application together

Why Ressource Pooling?

  • no WTO tender necessary as the individual budgets are small enough

advantages for using Plone as base architecture for eGovernment

  • They always are searching for alternatives to see if there’s something which is better but so far did not
    find any which fits all the requirements
  • Open Source (GPL)
  • there is the Plone Foundation
  • framework for web applications of various sorts

ten use cases for eGovernment

  • create a library structure
  • manage dossiers
  • register papers
  • create events
  • share with some actor
  • give out a task and monitor it
  • create a document
  • organize a meeting
  • plan work
  • manage time

How they work

  • agile software development, thus no big requirements papers in the beginning in order to make projects a success.
  • eXtreme Programming
  • Sprints (will get better and better after initial problems)
  • customers define how the solution should work
  • concentrate on the essentials
  • don’t reinvent when not necessary (so they are easily updated)

important extensions

  • concept of cooperations (via references)
  • filter concept (smart folders extensively used)
  • CMFSetup
  • introduced concept of a Desktop (sort of a home folder, like what is planned for Plone 3)
  • PDF-Support (letter, forms, lists) as there’s no paperless office yet
  • email archiving (BernMail)

Advantages of Plone (reagarding their clients)

  • Live Search
  • object oriented DB
  • security and role concept (big plus)
  • modular approach
  • user friendly
  • accessibility
  • stability, roadmap and community (important for eGovernment)

Disadvantages of Plone

  • no good versioning yet (they are using now CMFEditions and iterate)
  • external editors has weaknesses (checkout would be good, they maybe want to look into Enfold Desktop)
  • storage of big files problematic (might look into Railroad etc.)
  • scaleablity (like >400 clients in the intranet accessing simultaneously)
  • no connection to MS Exchange
  • very complex for newbies
  • no the best marketing (compared to Ruby on Rails and Alfresco)

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