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Saturday, November 13, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Learning to Plone isn't hard, but software has a few quirks


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You can try out Plone by joining a site such as CloudCityCoffee.com (www.cloudcitycoffee.com) or signing up at Objectis.org (www.objectis.org).

Once you've registered and been approved, you can build your own Web site by clicking on the "Home" tab or "My Folder."

From there, you can edit your home page or add an element to your site by clicking on a drop-down menu titled "Add new item."

Items include text boxes, links, files, images, news items, calendar-based events, blogs, photo albums and so on.

How hard is Plone? In most cases, you can open a new box and type in entries the way you would a word processor.

You don't have to know HTML — Web-programming language — to use it. If you can blog, you can figure out Plone.

The challenges come in its user interface. Content isn't automatically saved or published. You have to remember to click on icons to perform those and other functions.

And Plone lacks pop-ups and other "what do you want to do next?"-type prompts.

Figuring out the interface takes some mousing around and experimentation.

It helps to think of Plone as a Chinese box of elements and functions, fitting inside one another.
 
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"Undo" functions exist if you get lost or muddle up a page (you can also back out via your browser). And because a growing community of programmers supports Plone, its interface is getting easier to use.

Gadoz.com (www.gadoz.com) offers links to Plone learning resources, including books and tutorials.

For organizations and businesses, Gadoz also offers on-site training.

— Paul Andrews

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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