The CMF Collective is a collection of freely available open -source products created by developers for use with the Zope CMF and, thus, Plone. These items range from packages of skins to installation utilities, to full-fledged shopping carts, photo albums, and messaging applications ”and that's really naming just a few. You can access the CMF Collective at http:// sourceforge .net/projects/ collective. A list of elements in the CMF Collective is maintained as part of the Plone documentation at http://plone.org/documentation/howto/ProjectsInCollective.
Not all CMF- related open-source software is found in the CMF Collective. Zwiki, a product that is discussed later in this chapter, is found at its developer's website. This is not uncommon: Thousands of developers worldwide have products just as useful as those in the CMF Collective but want to house them internally instead of within the CMF Collective framework.
Each element in the collective comes packaged with its own instructions, such as an INSTALL.txt or README.txt file, which you should read before attempting to install and integrate anything within your Plone site. In some cases, elements that you download are dependent on having other elements already installed. This makes it even more important to read the installation instructions in each downloaded package.
Items available in the collective have been tested for functionality and meet or exceed the standards for software releases to the public. In other words, you won't get a bunch of strange files that lack instructions when you download an item from the CMF Collective. Installation of most elements is as simple as extracting elements of a package into a particular directory structure and utilizing the Plone setup menu to complete the process. Throughout this chapter, the installation procedures for the elements are described in further detail.
You can also install Plone add-ons through the Zope Management Interface. This is covered in Appendix B, "Introduction to Zope and the ZMI."
The remainder of this chapter is devoted to obtaining and installing numerous elements from the CMF Collective that will enhance your Plone instance. The more elements you provide to your users, such as the capability to participate in message boards , send instant messages, or keep and share photo albums, the more popular your community will become. You also might enable your users to read and write personal blogs with a blogging tool, or install Zwiki for an entirely new web experience.