[Zope] Looking for Zope vs. Others at-a-glance comparison

Jason Cunliffe jasonic@nomadicsltd.com
Sun, 10 Sep 2000 16:09:37 -0400

Hi Nils

thanks for your reply
> > What's missing?
> For example, everything with Java (e.g. Apple WebObjects) or
> Perl (e.g. Mason).

[doh] Java..Right [see what using zope does to one ?  ;-)

> There is a good overview of Content Management Systems at
>     http://www.camworld.com/cms/

Excellent. Thanks very much for this.
and supplying a magic_phrase  = 'Content Management System'

> > For each of above I'd like to fill in the following:
> >
> > {'name':"<name>", 'features':{<feature dict>},'pro':[<pros>],
> > 'con':[<cons>] }
> That's a bit difficult to do because we don't know what you
> want to do with a CMS/web application platform. Manila, for
> instance, is a nice end-user weblog application but not a
> replacement for a real web app server.

Yes of course not.
But imagine one meets up with a small group of  experienced people who have
all been working around Content Management Systems, are in Zope and are
tracking the developments both potential and RealWorld(tm). The you ask them
ok to get started can please resume for me zope and alternative systems
according you whatever priorities/experiences you wish. That conversation is
_not_ going to read like a research document. It is going be opinionated,
informed, direct and typically subjectively prioritized.. and damn helpful

I agree about Manila.
pros = ['good idea', 'great community', 'cool interesting RealWorld sites',
'designer-savvy', 'very user friendly' ]
cons = ['mac/win only', 'does not scale well to become 'real' web app
server', etc..]

What is very impressive is that it has focused on some real end user need
and answered that in large part. Zope could learn a lot from Manila.
[Zopefish etc]. Mostly Zope imho is just plain damn ugly out of the  box...
like some ghost from the 70s  - zero graphics sense.. it s a bitch to make a
decventlooking page in zope when it shouldn't be, not one nice looking zope
site I have visited yet vs. all those nice looking nice reading Weblogs.
Why?? Well Zope is very cool and powerful adn full of potential but try to
use it and even seasoned programmers become unraveled in obfuscated syntax,
etc etc.

I love what Zope represents, what it _can_ do, but I do not like what I see
people actually doing with it. This continues to bother me and I keep my eye
on where the alternatives are going for much the same reasons. Jeff Shelton
has been putting up great service with his ZopeNewbies page. Not an accident
that he is running it on Manila - because Manila makes it easy to set this
stuff up and keep it going. Zope does not.

In part the difference are that Manila attracts a more aesthetically
[visually] aware crowd than Zope. Zope is geeky and damn proud of it. Zope
rocks but there are no rocking zope sites that I can tell. Please correct me
if I am wrong.
[yes I am Awaiting some real news about CBS etc]
But look at the 'Case Studies' page..

It is not even titled  'Sites using Zope'
instead "The following are a list of case studies in which Zope provided the
Reading between the lines it does not inspire great confidence. Nor does
there appear to

Is the problem with the tool the technology or the users??
It is not an either or question - its a synergy issue.. But Zope does
nothing to encourage one alas nor do the examples out there, [yet].

Imagine if the home page at www.zope.org was built using Manila?
I'll bet it would be more dynamic more readable, more fun, more useful that
it is now. Even having a damn calendar to browse through developments, news
adn changes would be good. Not to mention the decidedly dead and strange
style and links. What a shame. But it does not stop me loving what is cool
about zope or trying to use it.

But as soon as more Manila-like Zope comes along I am likely going to jump
ship, because Zope is expensive to run. I am not talking about the free
price, I am talking about the counter-intuitive chaotically undocumented
nature of Zope.
And that costs developer time wickedly..Yes I know it is changing and
improving and I am holding on and hanging in there, hoping a) it improves
and b) I improve..

> > If was more adept in DTML was I could put up a comparative poll page
> > I suspect most here would respond like you Nils.
> I'm only an innocent Computer Science student who still thinks
> that in Real Life (tm) outside university you research competing
> solutions before selecting a product :-)

Of course you are right in this respect. We did that and
For-what-we-wanted-to-do, Zope met the most important criteria. But our
Project proposal was written and given the initial green light over 1 year
ago. It was an experiment to use zope then , and the experiment is still

In brief I continue to be very impressed by portable import/export features
of Zope.
But we have elected to use External Methods to bypass lack-of-confidence and
some of the headaches we experienced doing things with DTML. We like the
resultant stretegy as it play sto both our own strengths and Zope's
strengths we think.

So may question is was not:
- "What comparisons should I have made 12-18 months ago?",
but rather:
- "What is presently the state of play in Zope vs. Other Alternatives ?"

Moving targets beget moving questions
And in the RealWorld(tm) I believe all targets move all the time, as do
users, needs, and the alternatives..

> Anyone else seeing the parallel to software mentioned in Douglas
> Adams' "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency"?

Sorry I don't know the reference, please enlighten me

- Jason