Plone is an application built on top of a collection of supporting frameworks. That's my big picture statement, I'm intentionally leaving out details, hopefully, this explanation is enough to help a newbie find their footing with Plone.
I encourage persons to approach Plone in the following way:
- Understand the big picture but focus the parts that address your immediate need.
- Inform yourself about the other parts so you know where to look once you need to do more (most information is available at http://developer.plone.org.
Understand the big picture
If Plone is a collection of frameworks it makes sense to get a map of the various frameworks and what they do. The map below presents the most important parts (note: Dexterity and Grok are not core but I have them here because they are widely used, there are parts that I've left out as well).
|An incomplete map of some of the major technologies that power Plone|
For all newbies - Before you go any furtherIt is generally useful to learn Buildout properly and to understand the mechanics of day to day Plone administration. Spend your first couple days getting a good grasp of Buildout, installing add-ons and themes. Then make sure you understanding how Plone works from the user and site administrator's perspective. Try to build a basic site that makes use of the following:
- News Items
- Calendars and events
- Portlets (roughly translates to sidebars)
Want to customize the LookIf you're only interested in changing the look of a Plone site then you'll want to learn Diazo.
Getting started with DevelopmentIf you want to create your own add-ons then Dexterity, Grok and GenericSetup will be very useful.
Some time later, once you're ready for a deeper dive you can begin to understand the Zope Component Architecture (ZCA) and the Pluggable Authentication System (PAS) which allows you to customize how site authentication is done.