After lots of trialling with lots of people the tool that shows the most promise has the worst name… Cyn.in. Coming a close joint second were SocialText, Confluence and LifeRay.
Why did Cyn.in pip the others at the post? There are lots of reasons…
It’s open source (and built on Plone). The importance of this can’t be stressed enough for me. It buys the project the ability to benefit from other extensions and development work. I’ve already seen an XMPP (instant messaging) plugin that we’ll be able to slot in. It also means, ironically, that we don’t have to make a decision about which tool to use just yet, we can continue trialling Cyn.in for as long as we like, even getting to grips with what it is like to bend and extend. And lastly, open source is a good fit ethically.
It’s not based on a per-person pricing model. Because I am planning to create a collaborative environment where it is easy to invite collaborators in, I’m expecting that people will set up projects that maybe only run a few months – and maybe some people in those projects might be invited in to “cast an eye” over sketchy, unfinished work.
Its user interface, which is based on jQuery is by far the most instantly usable and likeable. This can’t be stressed enough – people actually like it. And for me, seeing how well the wiki interface behaves is delightful being able to link from one page to another without any special codes or URLs is refreshing.
I am now getting to grips with Plone. I may be gone sometime. I’m trying to work out how hard it would be to mine some data from social media sites and research repositories and create a sort of discovery engine for people at the University of York (see below). I’ve done the mining and the visualisation bit, now I just need to figure out how to save objects in the ZODB and how to create Products in Plone.
If anyone knows of any good resources/books for learning Plone, please pass them on… So far, the two books I’ve tried have left me a bit cold with code that doesn’t work very, very early on in the “Getting Started” chapters (sigh!). Wish me luck…