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The Zope Application Server Revisited
January 7, 2000
One of the most noteworthy things about the open-source world is that no good idea is ever wasted; if it doesn't succeed the first time around, it's generally recycled through a few iterations until a wider audience is reached.
Such is the case with Python and Zope. Python has a devoted user base; while this base may not be as large as the user base associated with Java or Perl or Tcl, it's still significant enough to warrant serious consideration in discussions of scripting and programming languages. That's because at its core there are a lot of good ideas within Python about how data should be handled in an object-oriented fashion.
These good ideas are given more exposure and a fuller development in Zope, an open-source application server developed by Digital Creations. Zope is positioned in several different ways by its developers. First, Zope is direct competition to application servers like Cold Fusion and SilverStream, which take user-friendly queries from Web browsers via Java applications, submit them to relational database, format the returned data, and then send the information back to the Web browser. (This, of course, is a gross simplification of what an application server does, but it gives you a general idea, nevertheless.) Secondly, Zope is positioned as an open-source development system against the likes of mod_perl and PHP. Finally, Zope is a content-management system and portal manager, competing against Glyphica, Portera and Vignette.
In this review, we're evaluating Zope as an application server. This isn't to say that the other two areas aren't worthy of consideration, but the application-server market is exceptionally competitive right now, and is one in which Linux solutions are still in short supply despite the presence of Cold Fusion, Bluestone Sapphire/Web and IBM WebSphere.