Skip to main content

How to Pretend Zope Doesn't Exist

I'm doing my best to ignore that I just read Well-kept secrets of Zope, which lists all sorts of things I'm interested in seeing developed and how Zope did it. Zope is our Simpson's to South Park's Python community. All of this ORM wild fire and debates about unicode support and web frameworks seem really petty when someone reminds us that Zope, which most of us never really look at, has been doing some of these things for over a ten years. That's practically a decade in software time!

Will I settle back into a comfortable hole in the ground, cover my years, and chant "There's no such thing as Zope" or am I going to bite some pride and surround myself with Zope? The first talk for a CharPy meeting is going to be on Zope, and I'm going to ask a lot of questions about why it gets ignored and how someone really familiar with Python can get into Zope so late into the game. Now, I am not planning to drop everything else. I still think CouchDB has some interesting ideas that I'm pretty sure aren't part of ZODB. I'm also a huge Twisted fan, where it applies. We've had some segmenting problems in Python with Zope and non-Zope, Twisted and non-Twisted and, more recently, Django and non-Django. We seem to be gaining a habit of frameworks that gain a really large following and are really known to those who don't use them, who continually ignore the developments. If Zope and Twisted played together better, both in code and community, would Django ever have even surfaced to fill the gap? Would Rails have been irrelevant?

We need to build some bridges, so who wants to shake hands?

Technorati Tags: ,


Florian said…
My first python only job was maintaining a zope application for which original maintainers already hat fled the field. I tried to wrestle the thing to a zombie living where it wouldn't missbehave at the soonest opportunity, and failed miserably.

After 6 months of struggling I was at the end of my rope. I kept my job. While wrestling zope a day I started rewriting what we needed by night with the help of turbogears. Then during 2 weeks of x-mas holidays I worked like possessed, and by the first weeks of january I could present a viable exit strategy for me and the company, which would end up with me having a job and the company having an application.

I blame my predecessors (classic), but I also blame zope to no small degree, because I believe that zope lured these people, then encouraged them to be that messy and horrid, and finally made it possible for them to hang on to their jobs much longer then ought to be.

I derive a simple teaching from this story:
1) before the 3rd to 7th personal complete rewrite, any solution you write to a problem domain sucks beyond relief.
2) There is no framework substitute for being an architect for nontrivial applications. Inversly, using a framework to get near the problem domain solution feels good, but dooms your code.

So what now?

Zope bridge Twisted bridge Django and the Age of MegaGigaFrameworks? and that's going to help with either of 1) or 2)? Who're you kidding?

/me *yawns*
Anonymous said…
Florian is right, though I blame Zope's predecessor (another classic, but true). Zope 2 has this awful way of luring people into a development scheme that's just wrong and completely backwards. Fortunately, Zope 3 (which is what the Well-kept Secrets article is about) isn't at all that way. Unfortunately, it has the same name as Zope 2. Today we know that was a mistake, but can't easily change it now.

We're certainly up for some bridge-building, Calvin. Using Twisted was just one step. We now fully support WSGI, and at EuroPython I demonstrated integrating Zope with PasteDeploy, something that everybody else seems to be using nowadays.

It's good and somewhat healthy to be looking over the fence once in a while, or even be inspired by others, just like we were with Grok ( which takes the "convention over configuration" approach to Zope. That's why I think it's good for the overall community to have other frameworks with other approaches: they provides breeding grounds for new ideas. I think the diversity of Python web frameworks is a strength, not a weakness.
Florian said…
Philip, I spend quite a time contemplating what constitutes these "lures" in software.

It's a complex phenomenon, but a few things stick out. The probability of a lure rises with the complexity a piece of software. The lure probability also rises with how easy it makes it for people who know neither the problem domain nor the solution space to coax it into behaving a bit like the desired solution.

Zope3 goodness'n all, it _is_ still zope, a big mother of framework promising you to solve the most vexing of everyday web programming problems with a passing glance.

You'll forgive me if that still smells overwhelmingly like a lure to me?
Anonymous said…
Wow you are a brain surgeon. They have been doing it for 10 years? That's practically a decade. Can't put nothing past you!!!!

Popular posts from this blog

CARDIAC: The Cardboard Computer

I am just so excited about this. CARDIAC. The Cardboard Computer. How cool is that? This piece of history is amazing and better than that: it is extremely accessible. This fantastic design was built in 1969 by David Hagelbarger at Bell Labs to explain what computers were to those who would otherwise have no exposure to them. Miraculously, the CARDIAC (CARDboard Interactive Aid to Computation) was able to actually function as a slow and rudimentary computer.  One of the most fascinating aspects of this gem is that at the time of its publication the scope it was able to demonstrate was actually useful in explaining what a computer was. Could you imagine trying to explain computers today with anything close to the CARDIAC? It had 100 memory locations and only ten instructions. The memory held signed 3-digit numbers (-999 through 999) and instructions could be encoded such that the first digit was the instruction and the second two digits were the address of memory to operate on

The Range of Content on Planet Python

I've gotten a number of requests lately to contribute only Python related material to the Planet Python feeds and to be honest these requests have both surprised and insulted me, but they've continued. I am pretty sure they've come from a very small number of people, but they have become consistent. This is probably because of my current habit of writing about NaNoWriMo every day and those who aren't interested not looking forward to having the rest of the month reading about my novel. Planet Python will be getting a feed of only relevant posts in the future, but I'm going to be honest: I am kind of upset about it. I don't care if anyone thinks it is unreasonable of me to be upset about it, because the truth is Planet Python means something to me. It was probably the first thing I did that I considered "being part of the community" when I submitted my meager RSS feed to be added some seven years ago. My blog and my name on the list of authors at Plan

Pythonic Defined

Introduction Losing is Good Strings Dictionaries Conclusion Introduction Veterans and novices alike of Python will hear the term "pythonic" thrown around, and even a number of the veterans don't know what it means. There are times I do not know what it means, but that doesn't mean I can define a pretty good idea of what "pythonic" really means. Now, it has been defined at times as being whatever the BDFL decides, but we'll pull that out of the picture. I want to talk about what the word means for us today, and how it applied to what we do in the real world. Languages have their strengths and their idioms (ways of doing things), and when you exploit those you embrace the heart of that language. You can often tell when a programmer writing in one language is actually more comfortable with another, because the code they right is telltale of the other language. Java developers are notorious for writing Java in every language they get their hands on. Ho