Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A little hype never hurt anybody

Just a day after I posted this, Martijn Faassen has some interesting things to say about the lack of attention from the Python developer community to the Zope 3 project:

If we want Zope 3 to be popular, what we need to do is learn the lesson of Plone, learn the lesson of Ruby on Rails, and do presentation well, and attract new people, from outside the immediate Python community, to Zope.

I couldn't agree more. In my experience, even Plone, with its clean and polished look, seems boring and plain to many would be users, but it is clearly the best positioned Zope product right now. I really have heard this claim of a boring design more than once: "Why does every Plone site look the same?", but if you stop to think of it, this is really a compliment to the Plone design team. The Plone look is attractive enough that many users just install their portal and put their logo at the top and then consider it done.

So, a lot of its popularity has to do with the attractive design, but another factor that Plone has in its favor is the user friendly setup executable that allows aspiring content managers to have a fully working (and also clean looking) site in a matter of minutes, together with their cool Windows Plone control panel which lets casual users stay away from configuration files. That's a lesson not lost on the Ruby on Rails camp either, witness their 10 minute setup video. Since learning a development tool really well (even Rails) requires a heavy time investment, you need a quick hook, a gimmick if you wish, to attract a huge prospective audience to that first try. When the hype calms down and the cloud of smoke disappears, what you have left is a user community.

As of now, Zope 3 doesn't seem to have something like this. If anything, its XML based configuration and what to some developers feels like an excessively academic stance on web development, plus the admittedly psychological factor of the memory of Zope 2's huge learning curve, make it seem somewhat daunting to learn.

Anyway, I think it would help Zope 3 a lot to have an easy way to create a first application, automatically generating the required configuration files. That and a cool web site to hype it like crazy all over the net.

I really haven't looked into Zope 3 very deeply, other than read the online book written by Stephan Richter, and the very interesting comments about it made by various Zope and Python luminaries. Still, I think that the lessons learned over nearly 10 years of BOBO/Principia/Zope development and applied to this web development platform by the Zope 3 development team, will result in a very powerful piece of software. I intend to look at Zope 3 in more detail in the next couple of months and post about that in this blog, just in case anyone reading this is interested.


At 8:36 AM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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At 3:30 PM, Anonymous androstenone said...

good info


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