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Plone - a (kind of) HOWTO

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by trakwebster, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. trakwebster

    trakwebster Well-Known Member

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    First, it appears that plone is totally delicious. I'm not super skillful at this, but with help from xerophyte from linuxnetworkcare.com , I did get plone installed and running.

    The plone and related documentation suffers from a bad case of "Too Much of a Good Thing", so I'm going to post here an outline of what it is, and how to get it running under cpanel, in hopes that it will save some time for you.


    WHAT PLONE IS:
    ===========
    Plone is an application with which you can make elegant: weblogs, websites, collaborative documentation sites, wikis, and quite a bit more.

    But plone won't run by itself; it runs on top of some other things.

    See some examples of Plone in use --

    zopezen.org/

    governor.state.tx.us/

    plone.org/



    PYTHON, ZOPE, CMF, and PLONE:
    =======================

    An up-to-date version of PYTHON is needed, as of this writing a version later than the one cpanel uses. (Cpanel currently using 1.5, but we'll need 2.3 as of the date of this post.)

    Using Python to run, the ZOPE application server is next. An application server is almost like an OS layer especially for applications. If you're not familiar with this, imagine a combination of php and mysql and a webserver and a bit more, all nicely integrated so you can build finished stuff on top.

    Using the Zope application server, a set of Zope tools called the CMF are installed. This CMF means "Content Management Framework", and it adds more stuff that's handy for adding, editing, and publishing articles to the web.

    A Zope application, which uses the CMF tools, is the PLONE system, which offers a finished, user-friendly interface both public toward the web, and private (hidden pages where members can enter/upload content).


    WHAT DO YOU GET?
    =============
    Quite a bit.

    * A handsome interface right out of the install. All free, open-source.

    * Registration of members with built-in priviledge management, so some folks can enter stuff, but with no access to damage anything.

    * Members can enter content in a) plain text; b) html; c) structured text, which is a simple set of codes that will generate html such as italics, headlines, subheads, and links.

    * Search and advanced search built-in.

    * Both upper tab and folder (explorer-view) navigation built in.

    * For python addicts, inheritance and extensibility.


    HOW TO INSTALL:
    ============

    This is not highly detailed, but tells you how to go about it.

    Step Zero:
    -----------
    Before you start, examine the dependencies of these four packages, and download the parts you need. Work backwards.

    At Plone.Org, you'll find a source tarball download for Plone and CMF. This will spell out which Zope version it fits.

    At Zope.Org , you'll find a source tarball download, which specifies which python it wants.

    At Python.Org , you'll find a source tarball download to get the right version of Python.

    Step One:
    ----------
    The first problem is that cpanel wants one version of python and zope/plone wants a different one. So the solution I used (with xerophyte's help) was to INSTALL A SECOND PYTHON.

    Installing from a source tarball (not rpm), xerophyte did this part, so now if I look, I see /usr/lib/python1.5, and I also see /usr/lib/python2.2. Zope appears able to look around to find the python it wants. And the presence of this second python folder doesn't seem to affect or harm cpanel.

    Step Two:
    ----------
    Now you install your Zope from your source tarball.

    You can then go to http://www.yourdomain.com:8080 and you'll see the Zope QuickStart Page. Zope is now running as a webserver on port 8080, while apache is unharmed and working at port 80.

    You can follow the link found on the Zope QuickStart Page, or you can go to http://www.yourdomain.com:8080/manage to access the ZPI (Zope Management Interface). This handy dandy set of tools has several purposes, and one of them is to install add-on packages.

    Step Three:
    ------------
    You now install the CMF. This tarball gets unzipped and unpacked, but needs no compiling. You must move the folders (called "Products") into a certain folder in the Zope directory. (Details in the "Plone Book", noted below.)

    Step Four:
    -----------
    You now install Plone. This tarball gets unzipped and unpacked, but needs no compiling. You must move certain folders (called "Products") into a certain folder in the Zope directory. (Details in the "Plone Book", noted below.)

    Then, using the ZMI (Zope Management Interface), there's a drop-down box showing add-ons which are available. At this time you will find "Plone Site" as one of the items. You select this, and click the Add button. A panel appears where you choose sitename and a couple other items. (Details in the "Plone Book", noted below.)

    Note that you can additional Plone Sites at any time with just the Add button from now on.

    Step Five:
    ----------
    You can now view your running plone site at http://www.yourdomain.com:8080/sitename, where "sitename" is the ID you chose when you added this Plone Site.

    You can manage your Plone Site at http://www.yourdomain.com:8080/sitename/manage, or you can go to the ZMI and in the left-side folders you'll find a folder marked "sitename", and this folder when opened is identical to managing from http://www.yourdomain.com:8080/sitename/manage.

    Step Six:
    ---------
    Do any set-up, modification, member adding, and content loading that you wish.

    Note that modifying skins will be done via the ZMI, but that member adding, and content loading is now all through the website. It's as simple as operating a weblog, where you just type into a box. (Although you can upload text, or write in html, or write in their simple 'structured text' system, if you wish.)

    Step Seven:
    -------------
    You may want your site to have a domainname which is cooler than www.yourdomain.com:8080/sitename.

    There are several ways to go about this, depending upon your situation --

    * If you only have this one site on your server, and didn't want to run apache at all, you can change Zope/Plone to operate on port 8080. However, probably the Zope webserver is not as well protected as apache, so you might even in this case want to run behind apache. Also, apache can cache stuff that doesn't change often, and this means faster serving.

    * If you only have this one Plone site and you want to run behind apache, you can make an entry in httpd.conf which can cache and which can re-write requests for "www.sitename.com" into "www.yourdomain.com:8080/sitename"

    * If you have multiple Plone sites, there is a Zope Product called the "Virtual Site Monster" which will help sort things out.

    (Details in the "Zope and Apache" document, noted below.)


    ABOUT THE RPMs
    ============

    On the Plone site, in addition to the Plone/CMF source tarball, there also exist RPMs already made up for Redhat et al. I found very little information about what's in them, and didn't peek with the RPM program. However, they are described as being "Everything You Need", and they are 10 Meg long instead of 1 Meg long, so I'm guessing they contain a Python, Zope, CMF, and Plone, all in one package.

    The reason I didn't use the simple-to-use RPMs is that I feared to overwrite or otherwise mess up the python that cpanel was using.

    Perhaps someone from cpanel could be persuaded to install one of these fine RPMs some day to see what happens. If these RPMs don't bomb cpanel, they'd be much easier to use.


    END OF HOW-TO
    ============


    As you've seen, this is just an overview, and though it's quite long enough, this post doesn't contain all the detail that you will need. However, I think that only two documents would provide all needed details. They are --


    The Plone Book

    and

    Zope and Apache

    I hope some of you find this information useful, and if you do experiment with Plone and have corrections, suggestions, or additional information, please post it back here, thanks.
     
    #1 trakwebster, Dec 1, 2003
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2015
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