At the end of last week I spend 3 days in Saarbrücken to attend the 9th DZUG Conference. DZUG stands for „Deutschsprachige Zope User Group“ which means „german speaking zope user group“. I signed up in the last minute as I wasn’t sure I will have time to go but in the end I did. And I don’t regret it.
The german speaking group is the biggest zope user group in the world which does events together. Of course if you sum up all the members of the groups in the US you might get more people but they don’t have an event where they all meet at once.
The motto of this event was „10 years Zope“. Yes, that’s how old our application server of choice is already. And we have experienced much in those 10 years. It all started with being one of the first (if not the first) project which was open sourced by a company back in 1998 we got quite some hype thanks to such cool features as an object database and especially through-the-web programming of web applications. But as Gartner knows, the hype does not stay. So today other frameworks have the hype.
But it’s really interesting to see (and Martijn Faassen, chairman of the Zope Foundation likes to point that out) that all the newer frameworks really go through the same problems and opportunities Zope did. Like creating a community around them separate from the community of the language they are based on. Thus creating two worlds which have not too much in common together and tend to solve problems their special way. Then the coming together of those communities again (in the Zope world this was mostly due to the rewrite of Zope as Zope3 which is much more pythonic and component based. Many of those components are reusable outside the Zope context).
It’s also interesting to see that Zope always seems to be somewhat ahead but still not that known.
- We have an object database for 10 years (now they seem to become modern, see solutions like CouchDB and others. We OTOH now also see the problems of having such a thing)
- We started from scratch and recreated the whole framework in terms of components 6-7 years ago. Now you hear lots of talk from other people that components might be a good thing.
- We have Unicode since years (you only notice that when other projects announce that they finally have Unicode support recently).
- We have a Zope Foundation managing code ownership and similar things. This also exists for quite some time although maybe not too active for some period.
And these are just some things.
We also have some problems or rather opportunities though. The most important probably is marketing. Being a cool framework for creating web applications does not necessarily mean that we are good at promoting ourselves by doing websites about us. The Zope Homepage hasn’t changed in years although some attempts have been made to modernize things. And we also have lots of subprojects like the ZODB which might deserve their own homepage but only has some basic wiki page.
All this needs to be changed and people are aware of that. I personally am trying now to create a ZODB homepage and I hope everybody out there will help to make Zope more known to the world. It makes sense because why reinvent everything if there already is a great web framework out there.
What you can do? It’s simple, here are some ideas:
- Write documentation (I would suggest using Sphinx), this includes howtos and tutorials and the high level picture. We have a great book about Zope3 thanks to Philipp but that does not really help the newbie who searches the web for how to use Zope3.
- Help the Zope foundation to create a cool Zope website (content and structure is what’s needed I guess)
- Sign up for creating a webpage for some project.
- Join the Grok project to make Zope3 more approachable.
- Promote Zope on local events such as Barcamps.
It’s really not hard and there should be something for everybody.
Well, now this blog post seems not to be a recap anymore but something else but I guess that’s ok as well.
As for the conference, I think it was good to have 3 days instead of 2 and a very relaxed talk scheme (1 hour slots where the talks have been 30 minutes. This gives plenty time to also meet and talk to people which was good). Unfortunately I miss the sprint which is happening this weekend but it seemed that not too many people were staying anyway. It was also great to meet the more international guests like Tres Seavers, Benji York and Mr. Zope Foundation Chairman, Martijn Faassen. He also gave a great keynote once again which I hopefully can put online someday (after my vacaction though).
Ok, I think I put enough things into this blog post without a real structure so let’s end this and go to bed :-)