Web content management and portal applications such as PHP-Nuke and Plone are great for building quick, dynamic Web sites or collaboration hubs, but theres a drawback to the sites these applications generate: They tend to look alike.
Although the most popular options make provisions for customization and skinning, performing these operations is not a trivial undertaking.
I recently came across an open-source application called CPSSkins, a visual theme editor for the Zope open-source application server. CPSSkins supports the Zope-based CPS and Plone content management/portal products.
I tested CPSSkins with Plone, and I was impressed with the rich WYSIWYG-style interface that CPSSkins provided. I was even more impressed to find that the interface worked equally well on both Windows and Linux.
I could modify the look and layout of the elements on my test Plone page, such as the content boxes on the left and right sides of the page, and could drag them around on the page as well.
I could also add new elements, such as a calendar, a folder list applet or a box in which to embed an image or Flash animation.
For more info, check out the slide deck from a talk that CPSSkins author Jean-Marc Orliaguet gave at last years EuroPython Conference. This deck, along with many other interesting-looking decks from the event, is available at www.python.org/moin/EuroPython2004Slides.
CPSSkins is licensed under the GNU GPL and is available for free download at www.medic. chalmers.se/~jmo/CPS, along with a handy 39-page manual.