17 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Plone

Agendaless: Pyramid for Plone Developers: Training at Plone Symposium MW 2014

We are pleased to be offering a two day training session at the 2014 Plone Symposium Midwest this year. The two-day course will cover Pyramid development topics, aimed at Plone developers.

For details, please see the training page.

17 Apr 2014 7:44pm GMT

Martijn Faassen: Morepath Python 3 support

Thanks to an awesome contribution by Alec Munro, Morepath, your friendly neighborhood Python micro framework with super powers, has just gained Python 3 support!

Developing something new while juggling the complexities of Python 2 and Python 3 in my head at the same time was not something I wanted to do -- I wanted to focus on my actual goals, which was to create a great web framework.

So then I had to pick one version of Python or the other. Since my direct customer use cases involves integrating it with Python 2 code, picking Python 2 was the obvious choice.

But now that Morepath has taken shape, taking on the extra complexity of supporting Python 3 is doable. The Morepath test coverage is quite comprehensive, and I had already configured tox (so I could test it with PyPy). Adding Python 3.4 meant patiently going through all the code and adjusting it, which is what Alec did. Thank you Alec, this is great!

Morepath's dependencies (such as WebOb) already had Python 3 support, so credit goes to their maintainers too (thanks Chris McDonough in particular!). This includes the Reg library, which I polyglotted to support Python 3 myself a few months ago.

All this doesn't take away from my opinion that we need to do more to support the large Python 2 application codebases. They are much harder to transition to Python 3 than well-tested libraries and frameworks, for which the path was cleared in the last 5 years or so.

[update: this is still in git; the Morepath 0.1 release is Python 2 only. But it will be included in the upcoming Morepath 0.2 release]

17 Apr 2014 12:32pm GMT

Quintagroup: collective.contact.core

collective.contact.core is a Thomas Desvenain's Plone add-on that helps to manage organizations and staff in Plone. This product provides directory that can contain contact information for different content types: organizations/sub-organizations, persons,and positions.

Easy in use:

  1. Add directory to your website and insert all the additional information required. You'll need to specify types of positions and organizations that will be used (e.g. Faculty/Staff/Students for universities). Don't worry about filling out the form, since it can be edited at any time later.

    collective.contact.core edit.png

  2. Create organization(s) in the directory. Depending on the hierarchy, add other organizations (they may correspond to units, divisions, departments, etc.). An organization can contain position (e.g Dean, secretary, SEO) that will be connected with person (a physical person). Choose Organization/Position from the Add new drop-down menu or click on Create contact to divaricate your directory.

    collective.contact.core navigation.png

A person content type can hold one or more positions or be member of one or more organizations. All contact types have optional fields with variety of contact information, including phone, cell phone, fax, email, address, zip code, etc. Such data management is very suitable for universities.


collective.contact.core can be useful for all kinds of organizations, despite their size, number of employees or subdivisions. Created directory is easy to manipulate and can be branched or edited at any time.

collective.contact.core adds new content types, but preserves Plone functionality, especially concerning users' rights. Every 'organization' content type is similar to folder, thus you can specify in the Sharing tab what rights users have . Moreover, default Plone search is very efficient when you want to search for a specific person or position on all the website.

Use Thomas Desvenain's collective.contact.core to arrange your organization and contact information.

More information:

17 Apr 2014 12:11pm GMT

David "Pigeonflight" Bain: Install Plone in under 5 minutes on Codio.com

I was introduced to Codio.com by +Rok Garbas. It turns out to be a very nice platform for developing Plone projects. So far what I like is that every Codio box pretty much ships with all the Plone dependencies while at the same time having a full suite of Node based tools (important for modern Javascript development), this is a great time saver on new projects. These are still early days so I

17 Apr 2014 3:21am GMT

14 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Plone

Plone.org: Plone Website Accounts Safe from Heartbleed

The plone.org website is safe from the Heartbleed bug and, as such, plone.org passwords have not been disclosed.

14 Apr 2014 9:01pm GMT

Martijn Faassen: The Call of Python 2.8


Guido recently felt he needed to re-empathize that there will be no Python 2.8. The Python developers have been very clear for years that there will never be a Python 2.8.


At the Python language summit there were calls for a Python 2.8. Guido reports:

We (I) still don't want to do a 2.8 release, and I don't want to accelerate 3.5, but I do think we should make things better for people who have to straddle Python 2 and 3 in a single codebase, by developing more tools, and by security and possibly installer updates to 2.7 (PEP 466).

At his keynote at PyCon, he said it again:


A very good thing happened to recognize the reality that Python 2.7 is still massively popular: the end of life date for Python 2.7 was changed by Guido to 2020 (it was 2015). In the same change he felt he should repeat there will be no Python 2.8:

+There will be no Python 2.8.

The call for Python 2.8 is strong. Even Guido feels it!

People talk about a Python 2.8, and are for it, or, like Guido, against it, but rarely talk about what it should be. So let's actually have that conversation.

Why talk about something that will never be? Because we can't call for something, nor reject something if we don't know what it is.

What is Python 2.8 for?

Python 2.8 could be different things. It could be a Python 2.x release that reduces some pain points and adds features for Python 2 developers independent from what's going on in Python 3. It makes sense, really: we haven't had a new Python 2 feature release since 2010 now. Those of us with existing large Python 2 codebases haven't benefited from the work the language developers have done in those years. Even polyglot libraries that support Python 2 and 3 both can't use the new features, so are also stuck with a 2010 Python. Before Python 2.7, the release cycle of Python has seen a new compatible release every 2 years or less. The reality of Python for many of its users is that there has been no feature update of the language for years now.

But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about Python 2.8 as an incremental upgrade path to Python 3. If we are going to add features to Python 2, let's take them from Python 3. I want to talk about bringing Python 2.x closer to Python 3. Python 2 might never quite reach Python 3 parity, but it could still help a lot if it can get closer incrementally.

Why an incremental upgrade?

In the discussion about Python 3 there is a lot of discussion about the need to port Python libraries to Python 3. This is indeed important if you want the ability to start new projects on Python 3. But many of us in the trenches are working on large Python 2 code bases. This isn't just maintenance. A large code base is alive, so we're building new features in Python 2.

Such a large Python codebase is:

  • Important to some organization. Important enough for people to actually pay developers money to work on Python code.
  • Cannot be easily ported in a giant step to Python 3, even if all external open source libraries are ported.
  • Porting would not see any functional gain, so the organization won't see it as a worthwhile investment.
  • Porting would entail bugs and breakages, which is what the organization would want to avoid.

You can argue that I'm overstating the risks of porting. But we need to face it: many codebases written in Python 2 have low automatic test coverage. We don't like to talk about it because we think everybody else is better at automated testing than we are, but it's the reality in the field.

We could say, fine, they can stay on Python 2 forever then! Well, at least until 2020. I think this would be unwise, as these organizations are paying a lot of developers money to work on Python code. This has an effect on the community as a whole. It contributes to the gravity of Python 2.

Those organizations, and thus the wider Python community, would be helped if there was an incremental way to upgrade their code bases to Python 3, with easy steps to follow. I think we can do much more to support such incremental upgrades than Python 2.7 offers right now.

Python 2.8 for polyglot developers

Besides helping Python 2 code bases go further step by step, Python 2.8 can also help those of us who are maintaining polyglot libraries, which work in both Python 2 and Python 3.

If a Python 2.8 backported Python 3 features, it means that polyglot authors can start using those features if they drop Python 2.7 support right there in their polyglot libraries, without giving up Python 2 compatibility. Python 2.8 would actually help encourage those on Python 2.7 codebases to move towards Python 3, so they can use the library upgrades.

Of course dropping Python 2.x support entirely for a polyglot library will also make that possible. But I think it'll be feasible to drop Python 2.7 support in favor of Python 2.8 much faster than it is possible to drop Python 2 support entirely.

But what do we want?

I've seen Python 3 developers say: but we've done all we could with Python 2.7 already! What do you want from a Python 2.8?

And that's a great question. It's gone unanswered for far too long. We should get a lot more concrete.

What follows are just ideas. I want to get them out there, so other people can start thinking about them. I don't intend to implement any of it myself; just blogging about it is already breaking my stress-reducing policy of not worrying about Python 3.

Anyway, I might have it all wrong. But at least I'm trying.

Breaking code

Here's a paradox: I think that in order to make an incremental upgrade possible for Python 2.x we should actually break existing Python 2.x code in Python 2.8! Some libraries will need minor adjustments to work in Python 2.8.

I want to do what the from __future__ pattern was introduced for in the first place: introduce a new incompatible feature in a release but making it optional, and then later making the incompatible feature the default.

The Future is Required

Python 2.7 lets you do from __future__ import something to get the interpreter behave a bit more like Python 3. In Python 2.8, those should be the default behavior.

In order to encourage this and make it really obvious, we may want to consider requiring these in Python 2.8. That means that the interpreter raises an error unless it has such a from __future__ import there.

If we go for that, it means you have to have this on the top of all your Python modules in Python 2.8:

  • from __future__ import division
  • from __future__ import absolute_import
  • from __future__ import print_function

absolute_import appears to be uncontroversial, but I've seen people complain about both division and print_function. If people reject Python 3 for those reasons, I want to make clear I'm not in the same camp. I believe that is confusing at most a minor inconvenience with a dealbreaker. I think discussion about these is pretty pointless, and I'm not going to engage in it.

I've left out unicode_literals. This is because I've seen both Nick Coghlan and Armin Ronacher argue against them. I have a different proposal. More below.

What do we gain by this measure? It's ugly! Yes, but we've made the upgrade path a lot more obvious. If an organisation wants to upgrade to Python 2.8, they have to review their imports and divisions and change their print statements to function calls. That should be doable enough, even in large code bases, and is an upgrade path a developer can do incrementally, maybe even without having to convince their bosses first. Compare that to an upgrade to Python 3.

from __future3__ import new_classes

We can't do everything with the old future imports. We want to allow more incremental upgrading. So let's introduce a new future import.

New-style classes, that is classes that derive from object, were introduced in Python 2 many years ago, but old-style classes are still supported. Python 3 only has new-style classes. Python 2.8 can help here by making new style classes the default. If you import from __future3__ import new_classes at the top of your module, any class definition in that module that looks like this:

class Foo:

is interpreted as a new-style class.

This might break the contract of the module, as people may subclass from this class and expect an old-style class, and in some (rare) cases this can break code. But at least those problems can be dealt with incrementally. And the upgrade path is really obvious.


Why did I write __future3__ and not __future__? Because otherwise we can't write polyglot code that is compatible in Python 2 and Python 3.

Python 3.4 doesn't support from __future__ import new_classes. We don't want to wait for a Python 3.5 or Python 3.6 to support this, even there is even any interest in supporting this among the Python language developers at all. Because after all, there won't be a Python 2.8.

That problem doesn't exist for __future3__. We can easily fake a __python3__ module in Python 3 without being dependent on the language developers. So polyglot code can safely use this.

from __future3__ import explicit_literals

Back to the magic moment of Nick Coghlan and Armin Ronacher agreeing.

Let's have a from __future3__ import explicit_literals.

This forces the author to be entirely explicit with string literals in the module that imports it. "foo" and 'foo' are now errors; the module won't import. Instead the module has to be explicit and use b'foo' and u'foo' everywhere.

What does that get us? It forces a developer to think about string literals everywhere, and that helps the codebase become incrementally more compatible with Python 3.

from __future3__ import str

This import line does two things:

  • you get a str function that creates a Python 3 str. This string has unicode text in it and cannot be combined with Python 2 style bytes and Python 3 style bytes without error (which I'll discuss later).
  • if from __future__ import explicit_literals is in effect, a bare literal now creates a Python 3 str. Or maybe explicit_literals is a prerequisite and from __future3__ import str should error if it isn't there.

I took this idea from the Python future module, which makes Python 3 style str and bytes (and much more) available in Python 2.7. I've modified the idea as I have the imaginary power to change the interpreter in Python 2.8. Of course anything I got wrong is my own fault, not the fault of Ed Schofield, the author of the future module.

from __past__ import bytes

To ensure you still have access to Python 2 bytes (really str) just in case you still need it, we need an additional import:

from __past__ import bytes as oldbytes

oldbytes` can be called with Python 2 str, Python 2 bytes and Python 3 bytes. It rejects a Python 3 str. I'll talk about why it can be needed in a bit.

Yes, __past__ is another new namespace we can safely support in Python 3. It would get more involved in Python 3: it contains a forward port of the Python 2 bytes object. Python 3 bytes have less features than Python 2 bytes, and this has been a pain point for some developers who need to work with bytes a lot. Having a more capable bytes object in Python 3 would not hurt existing Python 3 code, as combining it with a Python 3 string would still result in an error. It's just an alternative implementation of bytes with more methods on it.

from __future3__ import bytes

This is the equivalent import for getting the Python 3 bytes object.

Combining Python 3 str/bytes with Python 2 unicode/str

So what happens when we somehow combine a Python 3 str/bytes with a Python 2 str/bytes/unicode? Let's think about it.

The future module by Ed Schofield forbids py3bytes + py2unicode, but supports other combinations and upcasts them to their Python 3 version. So, for instance, py3str + py2unicode -> py3str. This is a consequence of the way it tries to make Python 2 string literals work a bit like they're Python 3 unicode literals. There is a big drawback to this approach; a Python 3 bytes is not fully compatible with APIs that expect a Python 2 str, and a library that tried to use this approach would suffer API breakage. See this issue for more information on that.

I think since we have the magical power to change the interpreter, we can do better. We can make real Python 3 string literals exist in Python 2 using __future3__.

I think we need these rules:

  • py3str + py2unicode -> py3str
  • py3str + py2str: UnicodeError
  • py3bytes + py2unicode: TypeError
  • py3bytes + py2str: TypeError

So while we upcast existing Python 2 unicode strings to Python 3 str we refuse any other combination.

Why not let people combine Python 2 str/bytes with Python 3 bytes? Because the Python 3 bytes object is not compatible with the Python 2 bytes object, and we should refuse to guess and immediately bail out when someone tries to mix the two. We require an explicit Python 2 str call to convert a Python 3 bytes to a str.

This is assuming that the Python 3 str is compatible with Python 2 unicode. I think we should aim for making a Python 3 string behave like a subclass of a Python 2 unicode.

What have we gained?

We can now start using Python 3 str and Python 3 bytes in our Python 2 codebases, incrementally upgrading, module by module.

Libraries could upgrade their internals to use Python 3 str and bytes entirely, and start using Python 3 str objects in any public API that returns Python 2 unicode strings now. If you're wrong and the users of your API actually do expect str-as-bytes instead of unicode strings, you can go deal with these issues one by one, in an incremental fashion.

For compatibility you can't return Python 3 bytes where Python 2 str-as-bytes is used, so judicious use of __past__.str would be needed at the boundaries in these cases.

After Python 2.8

People who have ported their code to Python 2.8 and have turned on all the __future3__ imports incrementally will be in a better place to port their code to Python 3. But to offer a more incremental step, we can have a Python 2.9 that requires the __future3__ imports introduced by Python 2.8. And by then we might have thought of some other ways to smoothen the upgrade path.


  • There will be no Python 2.8. There will be no Python 2.8! Really, there will be no Python 2.8.
  • Large code bases in Python need incremental upgrades.
  • The upgrade from Python 2 to Python 3 is not incremental enough.
  • A Python 2.8 could help smoothen the way.
  • A Python 2.8 could help polyglot libraries.
  • A Python 2.8 could let us drop support for Python 2.7 with an obvious upgrade path in place that brings everybody closer to Python 3.
  • The old __future__ imports are mandatory in Python 2.8 (except unicode_literals).
  • We introduce a new __future3__ in Python 2.8. __future3__ because we can support it in Python 3 today.
  • We introduce from __future3__ import new_classes, mandating new style objects for plain class statements.
  • We introduce from __future3__ import explicit_literals, str, bytes to support a migration to use Python 3 style str and bytes.
  • We introduce from __past__ import bytes to be able to access the old-style bytes object.
  • A forward port of the Python 2 bytes object to Python 3 would be useful. It would error if combined with a Python 3 str, just like the Python 3 bytes does.
  • A future Python 2.9 could introduce more incremental upgrade steps. But there will be no Python 2.9.
  • I'm not going to do the work, but at least now we have something to talk about.

14 Apr 2014 11:52am GMT

13 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Plone

JC Brand: New spelling and grammar checker for TinyMCE

The spellchecker "After the deadline" is now available as an add-on for TinyMCE in Plone. It's multilingual, open-source, platform agnostic and even does grammar checking.

I've actually already added this add-on two months ago but didn't get around to mentioning it. After the deadline is an open-source spelling and grammar checker that can be integrated with web based WYSIWYG editors, such as our beloved TinyMCE.

This new spelling checker provides some advantages over the existing (and still default) IESpell. Firstly, IESpell only works on Microsoft Windows. Secondly, IESpell is only free for non-commercial purposes. After the deadline however is open-source (GPL license, see here) and platform agnostic. Oh, and it's multilingual as well! To top it off... the killer feature, for us at least, is that it has a grammar checker. Pretty impressive IMHO.

The actual thing doing the spellchecking, is a Java server app, which you should download and install on your own server. There is a public default option for testing and demonstration purposes, but it comes with no guarantees.

After the deadline is included with all Products.TinyMCE releases since 1.2.1, but it's not the default spell checker. To enable it is at least straightforward.

Enabling AtD in TinyMCE for Plone:

  • Go to the Plone control panel and click on "TinyMCE Visual Editor"
  • Click on 'Toolbar' (middle left)
  • Make sure that 'spellchecker' is checked.
  • Click on 'Libraries' (top right)
  • Under Spellchecker plugin to use, choose After the deadline
  • Under AtD Service URL, choose your ATD server's URL. (The default is their - public service)
  • It's however recommended that you install your own AtD spellchecker service
  • See here for more details.
  • You should now have After the deadline enabled and have a spellcheck button in your TinyMCE editor.

If you'd like a demonstration of ATD, click here.

Oh, and if you find any spelling/grammar mistakes in this blogpost, it's because I'm still using Products.TinyMCE 1.1.6 ;)

13 Apr 2014 5:10pm GMT

Jazkarta Blog: Plone 5 and the 2014 Emerald Sprint

2014 Emerald Sprint Attendees

Back row l to r: Alec Mitchell, Spanky Kapanka, Eric Steele, Ian Anderson, Ross Patterson, Luke Bannon, Cris Ewing, Andy Leeb, Cal Doval, Chris Calloway. Front row l to r: Elizabeth Leddy, David Glick, Steve McMahon, Fulvio Casali, Franco Pellegrini, Sally Kleinfeldt, Trish Ang. Photo by Trish Ang.

I recently returned from the Emerald Sprint, and I have to say that Plone 5 is starting to look pretty good. For developers, there is a solid core buildout that even I was able to run without a hitch. So if there's a PLIP (Plone Improvement Proposal) or a feature that interests you, and you've been thinking about contributing - do it! The community awaits you with open arms. And what a great community! You don't need to be a Python developer - Plone 5 is a Javascript-friendly development environment. We would love to have more Javascript developers and designers join our ranks. You won't be sorry.

OOTB Plone 5 with the new editing toolbar on the left. Still a work in progress, you will be able to choose top or side placement, and icons, text, or both.

OOTB Plone 5 with the new editing toolbar on the left. Still a work in progress, you will be able to choose top or side placement, and icons, text, or both.

But UI improvements and new features are the real cause of excitement. The first thing Plonistas will notice is the new theme - people new to Plone won't find it remarkable, just clean and modern, but we Plone folks have been looking forward to replacing Sunburst for a long time. In fact we've been looking forward to Plone 5 for a long time. After the community gained consensus about what Plone 5 will be, things got a bit bogged down. The Javascript rewrite was extensive. The new content type framework (Dexterity) had to gain maturity as a Plone 4 add-on. There was - and still is - much discussion over how to improve and streamline content editing and page layouts; ideas are being implemented as add-on products such as collective.cover.

Over the last few months the community has really picked up the pace on Plone 5. Supported by the Plone Foundation and numerous sponsors, there have been a series of productive sprints. The Emerald Sprint's focus was on user management, registration, and login. A robust system of user permissions, groups, and roles is one of Plone's most notable (and oldest) features and the concepts and underpinnings are still solid. However the UI is overdue for an overhaul and the old implementation layers have gotten pretty crufty.

Cris Ewing shows a mockup of the new registration process

Cris Ewing shows a mockup of the new registration process

The sprinters, led by David Glick, took a UI-first aproach which was fantastic. Before cracking open the laptops and diving into the code, we developed mockups of the new registration and login process and user management screens. It really helped that 2 of the 17 sprinters were UI/UX designers. Always try to get designers to come to your sprints!

The sprint gathered together a fantastic set of Plone gurus who were able to have in depth discussions of some of the thornier technical problems associated with users. For example, should user objects work like content objects? This discussion resulted in a concrete list of pros and cons and a better understanding of how to ameliorate potential problems if and when we decide to move to "contentish" users.

And of course software got developed. Teams worked on the Users and Groups control panel, member profile design and implementation, registration, log in, and forgotten password dialogs, and more. Read the summary report on plone.org for more details.

Plone 5 login design

Plone 5 log in design.

13 Apr 2014 3:06am GMT

12 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Plone

keul: "General Type": a new criterion for Plone Collections

A new 1.2 version of plone.app.querystring has been released.
There are some improvement and bugfix but I'm particularly interested in one new feature: customizable parsed query. Why?

Some times ago I started developing a new product for providing some usability enhancement in type categorization using Collection but it was a dead end: it wont work without patching Plone. But the accepted pull request changed everything, so here it is: collective.typecriterion.

The product want to replace the Collection's "Types" search term (adding a new search term called "General type").

The scope of the add-on is to fix some usability issues with Collections:

Plone type collection criteriaAlso there are some missing features:

Some of the point above could be reached searching types using interfaces (through object_provides index) instead of portal_type (the attribute that commonly store primitive type name of every content, but:

The idea is to keep using portal_type but give administrators a way to group and organize them in a more friendly form.

After installation the new control panel entry "Type criterion settings" will be available.
Plone general type control panelThe target of the configuration panel is simple: is possible to group a set of types under the cloak of a new descriptive type name. In the example given in the image we take again definition of a "textual" content (a content that contains rich text data), grouping all the know types.

After the configuration you can start using the new search term.
Plone type collection criteria Usability apart there's also another advantage in this approach, that is the integration with 3rd party products.

Let say that you defined a new general type called "Multimedia" and you configure it as a set that contains Image and Video, and let say that Video went from the installation of redturtle.video product.
After a while you plan a switch from redturtle.video to wildcard.media. What you need to do is simply to change the configuration of the general type, not all the collections in the site.

Finally an interesting note: the code inside the collective.typecriterion is really small. All the magic (one time again) came from Plone.

12 Apr 2014 5:59pm GMT

11 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Plone

Starzel.de: Mastering Plone

tl;dr: We're giving our three-day "Mastering Plone" training in Munich (in english)

During the course of this three-day training we will teach how to

In the first part we'll teach the fundamentals needed to setup and manage your own website using the many build-in features of Plone.

The second part will focus on customizations that may be done through-the-web.

The third and longest part will be devoted to Plone-development. Here we focus on current best-practices like Dexterity and Diazo that make developing with Plone fun and accessible.

The training is for people who are new to Plone or used to work with older versions of Plone and want to learn the current best-practices. Basic Python and HTML/CSS skills are a requirement.

The course is an updated and expanded version of the trainings we held at the international Plone-Conferences in Arnhem and Brasilia. The documentation for these can be found at http://starzel.github.io/training

As always, we give the training as a team of two Trainers. This way you'll receive a 1on1 training as soon as something works differently than expected. Something that is not possible with a single trainer and something that adds a lot of insight when something did not work as expected.

If you're interested call us at +49 (0)89 - 189 29 533 or send a mail to bauer@starzel.de

26. - 28. May 2014

9:00 - 18:00

Schwanthalerstr. 80
80336 M√ľnchen

Philip Bauer
Patrick Gerken


EUR 1000.- per person plus 19% MwSt (VAT)

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mindonfire/4447448937

11 Apr 2014 2:50pm GMT

10 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Plone

JC Brand: Collaborative editing of HTML with TinyMCE not going to happen soon

TL:DR: Collaborative editing doesn't work well with XML/HTML. Right now, the solution seems to be to use Markdown instead.

During my talk on XMPP applications in Plone, someone asked whether I was aware of any issues with regards to collaborative editing in TinyMCE.

I don't exactly remember my reply, but it came down to "no", I wasn't aware of any problems with it. Just the next day however, at the sprints, I encountered a fundamental problem with regards to collaborative editing of Rich Text through TinyMCE.

The problem lies in the fact that the Diff-Match-Patch is meant for plain text only. It has no concept of structured content such as the a DOM-tree and can therefore create problems when one tries to patch HTML content. It seems that mainly two things can happen. Firstly, because your HTML nodes are not atomic, they can be broken by the patching algorithm inserting text inside them. Secondly, the patching can result in HTML nodes appearing in the wrong order. (See what the author of Diff-Match-Patch had to say about it on the project page and his excellent explanation on stackoverflow).

Ideally one should use a patching algorithm that is tree-based and which will maintain the integrity of the DOM-tree. When using the plain text algorithm, there are however two approaches to try and mitigate the above issues.

  • Strip all HTML tags, diff-match-patch the resulting plain text and re-insert the original tags.
  • Replace all tags with Unicode chars outside of the used range (thereby making them atomic), apply diff-match-patch and then restore all tags.

The problem with the first approach is that your markup is now immutable. So any markup changes a collaborator makes (e.g bold, italics, heading or other formatting) will be discarded. I think this is a dealbreaker and rules out this approach.

The problem with the second approach is that even though your HTML nodes are now atomic, they might still appear in the wrong order.

Because of this, I think trying to do collaborative editing via an HTML-based Wysiwyg editor is not the way to go. Instead, a Markdown editor (such as Epic Editor) seems to be the way to go. Markdown is plain text, and therefore doesn't suffer from the problems mentioned above.

I think I have created the impression at the Plone conf that production-ready collaborative editing via TinyMCE will soon be a reality, and for that I would like to apologize.

10 Apr 2014 7:40pm GMT

Jazkarta Blog: Rural sprinting

Jazkarta team with brand spanking new t-shirts!

Jazkarta team with brand spanking new t-shirts!

For the last three days, the Jazkarta team has been enjoying delicious meals lovingly prepared from local farm ingredients by Sally and her husband Doug, walks in the thawing New England woods, and even a visit to a farm to meet the baby goats who were especially attracted to Carlos for reasons unknown, and showed their affection by nimbling at his pants and shirt.

We usually work together from our home offices, and "meet" each other in the IRC channel, so when Sally invited us all to her place for a mini-sprint prior to Pycon, we jumped at the opportunity to meet up in person.

While we have the tradition of monthly "happy hours" in which we all get on Google Hangout with our beverage of choice and rap for an hour, it's not the same as hanging out in real life, eating and drinking together, sprinting together, and yes, playing with baby goats together. ;)

Tomorrow we're getting up early, piling into the rented mini-van and driving 5 hours to Montreal for PyCon! We'll be staying in a shared apartment just a few blocks away from the conference center. If you want to get away from the PyCon crowds and chill out, you're welcome to stop by our pad and say hi. Who knows - Sally might even treat you to some of her amazing home cooking!

See some photos from the sprint!

Tagged: distributed teams, farming, Plone, pycon, rural, sprinting

10 Apr 2014 3:21am GMT

09 Apr 2014

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Plone.org: Plone Foundation Welcomes 5 Members

09 Apr 2014 12:20am GMT

Wichert Akkerman: Lingua 2 released

This new release was planned for a long time. I started working on it at the Pyramid NOLA sprint last February. Since I just finished a project and am looking for new work I had some time to finally finish Lingua 2.

Lingua is a Python package that helps you find translateable texts in your code, and generate POT-file for them. Previous versions handled this as an extractor plugin for Babel. With this release Babel is no longer used and Lingua now has a more powerful extraction framework itself.

Read entire article.

09 Apr 2014 12:00am GMT

08 Apr 2014

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Martijn Faassen: Morepath 0.1 released!

I've just released Morepath 0.1! This is Morepath's first ever proper release. Hurray! If you've been waiting for a release before trying Morepath, now is the time to stop waiting!

Morepath is your friendly neighborhood Python web framework with super powers.

The docs for 0.1 are here: http://morepath.readthedocs.org/en/0.1/

It includes a quickstart, and installation docs, and much much more.

The docs are quite complete in describing Morepath's abilities and how to use them, though undoubtedly things could be improved. Let me know if you find any sections where things are unclear or missing!

The Extra Bits

There are still some docs floating around that I intend to integrate into the main documentation. One bit involves the permission and authentication docs; I previously blogged a description.

You can integrate Morepath with SQLAlchemy or the ZODB using more.transaction. I've just made a 0.1 release of that too. See this blog entry for more information on what's going on with that, and here is example code.

Talking about Morepath

There is a #morepath channel on freenode IRC.

If you have an issue or feature request, you can use the issue tracker on Github:


You can also contact me directly; contact information is at the bottom of this weblog. I'm happy to hear from you!

Onward to 0.2!

Morepath is now transitioning into a phase where its actual use will drive its further development. I expect others (you?) will come up with new and interesting ways to use the facilities and abstractions that Morepath offers. I'm looking forward to discovering new and better ways to do web development with you!

08 Apr 2014 3:24pm GMT