[ZDP] Deprez' writing

Shaw, Howard ShawH@STHS.org
Thu, 6 May 1999 13:03:23 -0500

Another section

First impression

I must say, a quick glance at Zope will not turn you into a 'Zopist'.
Installing Zope on your computer and looking at it... isn't the best way
to start with it. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) isn't nearly as
fancy as the other commercial products. It is based on HTML 3.2 and
written with DTML. Digital Creations was well aware that the fancy
interfaces, often written in C code, and nearly always tied to a
particular graphics API, are a large part of what often ties the large
commercial products to a single platform. In seeking to avoid this
platform dependence, Digital Creations chose to create a completely web
based interface. This interface primarily consists, like most websites,
of frames and forms. Although the Zope web interface may not be as good
as some of its competitors, it confers a great benefit. And the more I
think on it, the more I realize that this limitation is also one of the
biggest advantages of Zope. Because it is entirely written in HTML 3.2
and DTML, it is completely manageable through the web, from nearly any
web browser, on any platform. (Palm Pilot Zope Authoring anyone?) The
fact that the Zope server does not need a proprietary platform-dependent
client application means that you are freed from the need to pay license
fees for each web developer. Of course for certain purposes a good RAD
(Rapid Application Development) tool would be useful, indeed, almost
essential. Zope has made a good start in this direction by moving very
quickly in the direction of full WebDAV support, which will allow almost
any RAD web tool to be used with Zope! (After, of course, the RAD tools
make the move to WebDAV.) Even now, with ZServer's (the Medusa-based
server currently being bundled with Zope) FTP support, developers are
using Emacs and XEmacs as web based authoring environments in concert
with Zope. So rather than developing a custom, proprietary, platform
dependent client interface, Digital Creations created a wholly platform
independent distributed development environment, and combined that with
the potential for any given web authoring software to become a client
interface for Zope. Talk about leveraging open standards! 

I want to apologize for this, Tom, since this removes much of the focus
of your writing, on your personal first impressions, etc. But I see this
as the potential beginning, as you or someone on the list mentioned, of
a real book, and I hope you will take my suggestions in that light.

Howard Clinton Shaw III
St. Thomas High School