Forum OpenACS Q&A: dotProject - another Open Source project to borrow ideas from

I was just browsing SourceForge and found dotProject which the dotWRK people might want to look at if they haven't already. Other open source projects similar to OpenACS that I know of that we should keep an eye on include:

  • Tutos
  • PHProjekt
  • Zope and Plone
I think I have learned a couple of things from looking at these platforms:
  • Being prominently listed in repositories like Sourceforge matters a lot to whether people will ever find your project
  • Having a nice UI is key in making people want to use your product. The only project I've looked at that I've been impressed by is Plone. Why? Primarily because of the UI.
  • There is still no really compelling solution or clear leader in the field of open source web community platforms

I agree with you about Plone. I spent an afternoon a couple of weeks ago going through a basic OACS setup with a friend who wanted to set up a community site ( ). When I saw him yesterday I find he'd used Plone. Why?

1. It does exactly what he wants straight out of the box.
2. Its UI looks very good with minimal modification required. Basically a logo and footer.
3. It has a neat text markup which is a bit like a wiki on steroids.
4. He can import Word docs and it turns them into web pages (he is a Lotus Notes man).
5. He has the whole thing hosted for $60/year.

OACS for all its strengths (and they are many) can't really beat that.

  - Steve

I decided to use Plone for my company's Web site, because it did everything I need, *plus* it was amazingly simple to install and configure.  If I spent more than 4-5 hours on my company's site, including moving over the old content, I'd be amazed.  (I'm not including my old Linux Journal columns in that number, because of the complexity of the format in which they were originally stored.)

But now we need a groupware system that handles calendars, bug tracking, invoices, and the like -- and obviously, Plone doesn't meet our needs.  So we've stumbled across Tutos, and I've been rather impressed with what I've seen.  It doesn't have the elegance of OpenACS or Plone, but it works well enough, and it's under active development.

I don't believe that OpenACS will ever have Plone's ease of use.  But I can easily see it becoming a strong competitor to Tutos, and then some.


We'll never match Plone for ease of installation (though Plone in a high traffic environment will probably require one switch to PostgreSQL rather than the Zope DB backend, complexifying things a bit) however we should strive to design UI as usable as competitive packages ...
Thanks for the pointer, Peter. I think most of the dotWRK people were aware of dotProject (that's why we decided not to use that name), but I think you make some good points.

Is OpenACS on Sourceforge? Is there a way we could register there, but keep everything here?

Plone looks pretty interesting. Does it have a project-manager on it? I didn't see one.