Document Managment

Hi, Ive just installed a basic version of Plone. I'm just trying to get some guidance into how its used as a DOCUMENT management system. I keep reading it does this but I cant find any setup details on the site or see anything obvious in the site Ive just created.

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Plone is a WebCMS and not a document management system.

Yet all over Google it is being touted as being used as a document management system as well as fundamentally being a WebCMS. This is how I came across it in the first place. Unless I'm missing something here.

It all depends on what your definition of a DMS is. Plone can handle some document management tasks quite well, such as storing a large number of PDF's, making them findable and searchable.

It is not a good fit, in my experience, if your documents are actively being developed. If your content consists of spreadsheets or other office documents that people change daily, and that you want to check-in and check-out every time, there are specialist DMS's that do a better job.

For my use cases, which are 'intranet with some DM thrown in', Plone is a very good fit. If your use case is 100% document management, I would pick a specialist software in that field.

If it lies in the middle, well, your choice basically...
Alfresco (for instance) pretty much sucks as an intranet, but does the DM side very well. Plone is the reverse, it does the intranet side extremely well, handles relatively static PDF and Word content also well, but checking in XLSX fifty times a day per user is just a major hassle if that's your main objective.

So figure out where along the intranet to DMS spectrum you lie, and then pick a software that best serves those needs.

And (perhaps stating the glaringly obvious here), be aware that setting up a DMS so that it's workable is a far from trivial task, regardless of the software used...


Hi Paul,

I'm curious what we can add to make checking in and out 50 times a day less a PITA? Some better webdav/explorer integration or is just that our writes are too slow?

Some better webdav/explorer integration or is just that our
writes are too slow?

Dropbox (or btsync or ...) integration?

The WebDAV integration of Plone/Zope with MacOSX or Windows is a mess. It is fragile and unreliable and can not be used for production. This is basically a Zope issue since more than a decade. I consider the functionality broken und unfixable. I worked a lot with Alfresco and eXist-db integration over WebDAV of the last year....very stable and usable out of the box with Mac and Windows...

In addition: Plone lacks basic functionality for reorganizing content repositories in a decent way. Talking of drag & drop of content, handling massive amounts of documents etc. - wildcard.foldercontents brought some relief here but this is all far beyond from what people expect from an efficient user interface. I am not a friend of Alfresco but it is doing the document management much easier than Plone....but as said: Plone is a WebCMS and not a DMS.


I integrated eXist-db with Plone which would give a much better user experience with external systems. Users could manage their content over WebDAV in eXist-db and re-use the same content in Plone. However this is not a complete transparent integration with respect to access management etc. But Reflecto followed a similar approach and it might be suitable for some usecases. I am not promoting eXist-db here since it is a XML database that we are using for a XML project. There are some parts in Plone/Zope that are broken since more than a decade and WebDAV integration is one of these parts.


Webdav is pretty much broken; I'll trust Andreas in that there's probably a zope part to that as well, but at least also the built-in Windows client is braindead in general against any webdav repository. So not all blame lies with zope there...

The linux ones are better, but sometimes wonky in their own little ways. Beginning to think the whole protocol is doomed anyway.

You could get a semi-stable version working if you standardize on one proprietary client on one specific version of one specific OS; but exactly that is not possible in a heterogenous and spread-around NGO...

So we had to make do with browser-based uploading, moving, resorting, ordering etcetera. Which wildcard.foldercontents has made much more tolerable, but still. It's nowhere near the ease of use of the standard file browsers on the various OS's. And it basically means a two-step dance for every edit you make: Save to local storage, work on it, save, upload. Repeat ad nauseum.
You could just observe all users reverting to "let's put it all on a USB stick" behaviour, and I could not blame them.

(Dropbox would be out of the question for us for privacy/security reasons, Owncloud or something similar could be acceptible)

There is another major problem here that comes from the Zope world. If you move documents from A to B then all contents including the subtree must be unindexed and reindexed which might take a lot of time for a large amount of documents. In addition such long running operations increase the risk of conflict errors.

So using Plone as a DMS at a large scale is not really a viable solution without lots of tweaking and consessions.

Of course everything is doable with Plone but sometimes a tool is the wrong tool for a particular problem.


I guess the answer then is no :slight_smile:

We have actually been looking at using

I just came across Plone in my search as a possible alternative.

I am also newbie, recently installed plone yesterday
I heard that Plone can 'compete' with Sharepoint.
My expectation may be same with wjhumphreys, I wish Plone can serve as a Document Management.

I want to make a portal/intranet where users or groups can be updating or sharing to each group or another user. Be able to update News, Event... and Files which has historical updates (contributor, approved by, etc).

Currently I just finished installing.
I have made some users and groups (Site Setup > Users and Groups) that has each roles.

My first questions:

  1. how can I manage the Navigation (menu)
  2. how can I have themes; like:,, etc (

Thank you

basic navigation menu tweaks can be done in the site controlpanel (PLONEROOT/@@overview-controlpanel) (e.g. defining which content items should be displayed) and the navigation portlet settings (PLONEROOT/@@manage-portlets) (e.g. navigation depth).

installing themes can be done through the web in the theming controlpanel via zip uploads. or by installing a theme egg (python package) via buildout. my experience is, that there are only a few good themes available. that is, maybe, because plone is often heavily customized for client projects and themes are often created exclusively for the project's requirements.

however, have a look at

I've been reading these posts and I see that people state the limitations of Plone as a DMS. Not sure I agree.

  1. as for a DMS, depends on the size of the organization and the number of documents. If an organization is using Plone as their CMS, seems worth using as a DMS.

  2. as for webDAV, I don't agree (from my 'user' knothole) that webDAV is broken for Plone/Zope.. I've used Zope EE as the webDAV "connector" for Plone and I think it works quite well. I did a lot of user testing, sent suggestions to developers, and think I understand EE quite well. Would you mind explaining how you think EE doesn't do what you need for WebDAV. (Note: I have many suggestions for improvement and I think Plone would be greatly benefited if we worked on this DMS side of Plone.
    Looking forward to your reply and further discussion.


I might be starting soon as a new position in tech writing. They have no management system and will fall along more the lines:
It is not a good fit, in my experience, if your documents are actively being developed. If your content consists of spreadsheets or other office documents that people change daily, and that you want to check-in and check-out every time, there are specialist DMS's that do a better job.

Can you point me in a direction that can handle these requirements (as well as working well on mobile devices).

Is that aspect of Zope2 WebDAV something fundamental or just lack of interest from the community in fixing things?

Part of it may be apples and oranges comparing with Alfresco, which is trying its best to handle DAV for upload/download, but leaves (perhaps by choice) things like PROPPATCH/PROPSET unimplemented favoring other APIs (CMIS, maybe JSR-170).

If this is a problem of disinterest and inattention? If so, where can we start to work toward changing that?


Edit: I see that this is an old discussion, so sorry if I just kicked a dead horse. I'm still interested in seeing something work much better with Plone's DAV story.

Yep, old discussion. And also a mix of two separate topics:

  • WebDAV and its support within Zope2 and thus Plone
  • A low-maintenance DMS

As for @rlovelace's question: if they have no management system in place now, seriously consider not having a DMS. Take a look at nextcloud instead. Trust me on this one, Alfresco is a right pain in the lower backside region to set up, and even more to maintain. Not something you want to do with limited IT staff. For a no-budget organisation, nextcloud has a good offering if 'all' you want to do is share Office documents without selling your soul to the cloud.

If you do need more DMS features, there are more Plone options these days as well. XML Director would potentially be one alternative, whereas Quaive ('the artist formerly known as PloneIntranet') could very well be another if you want good workflow and well-defined security. But, again, that depends on the size of the organisation, the availability of in-house IT staff or the budget to host it outside. No single answer can be right without knowing more about your context.

And then I leave y'all to the webDAV discussion :wink:

Sort of a tangential thought: both of these solutions on top of Plone could use North American integration/reselling/solution partners.


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Sure. Anybody interested in getting Quaive marketing and sales support to work with prospects: mail me.

Thanks for responding so quickly to an old thread! I will try out nextcloud soon. It sounds like what they are after. They tried GoogleDocs but didn't like it on mobile. This seems similar. My qualm is: this is a new software. Maybe it goes out of date either with hardware or software or does not get maintained. Do you think the documents could be easily transferred to another software if needed. Should I look at commercial versions too. Although free seems best. Are these questions that can be answered, lol. It's software:)