The Plone development community will gather at Penn State during the week of May 24-30 for the 2010 Plone Symposium East, a conference that is a little different than the usual.

The event features three days of training sessions May 24-26, the actual Plone Symposium itself May 27-28, and programming sprints where groups of programmers do a souped-up form of development May 29-30. “Besides the normal symposium thing of presentations, the sprints are a different aspect than most conferences, although they are common at programming conferences,” said Christian Vinten-Johansen, WebLion manager. “The sprints are fairly well planned out ahead of time. Projects are planned out to reach a milestone, and they usually at least get close unless it is too ambitious.”

An example of a sprint that took on a fairly ambitious goal, Vinten-Johansen said, was one on online calendars. He noted that being able to do recurring calendar events on a website is extremely difficult, calling it the “Holy Grail” of Web development. “There was a recent programming sprint that helped a lot as far as getting closer to more easily doing recurring events,” Vinten- Johansen said.

Along with the sprints, another benefit for developers of attending the Plone Symposium is the opportunity to have some face-to-face time with colleagues, networking and getting to know one another better, Vinten-Johansen said. “The face-to-face time is very special,” he said. “I know a lot of these people are very close but they have IRC and other online relationships, so the face time is great. It helps to round out the relationships. The Plone community is tight but small, different feel from say the TLT symposium where there are a broad range of backgrounds.”

The Plone Symposium also has a large amount of related training opportunities, Vinten-Johansen said. On May 24-26, seven in-depth training sessions, including several of general interest to web developers, will be offered. The general interest sessions are part of Chris Calloway’s PyCamp—an intensive introduction to Python, JavaScript, and jQuery. While the jQuery session will cover applications to Plone, the information can be generalized to other content management systems and to static pages.

Last but not least, the Plone Symposium East 2010 itself will be held May 27-28 at the Nittany Lion Inn on the Penn State University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania. The event will feature a variety of sessions, focused on Zope and Plone, that are targeted at beginners, integrators, and innovators in business and education.

With all these activities, Vinten-Johansen said that the week of the Plone Symposium East has become a major happening for the Plone community. “This has become a marquee event,” he said. “In fact, it’s the only large Plone event in the U.S. this year. We have people from the leadership in Plone coming.”

Vinten-Johansen said that people can still register for the Plone Symposium East and the related training and sprints. Information about the training sessions, including registration, is available at the Symposium web page: http://bit.ly/7wVbFi.

To register for the Plone Symposium itself, go to http://bit.ly/7wVbFi. The registration rate for the Plone Symposium East is $350, while full-time students can register for $175. Attendees can register at the door. Training sessions are still open for registration as well. Fees vary, and topics are listed on the Web page, with links for more information; register directly with the trainer.

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