Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Article on ACS x Zope
In my mind what complicates Zope is the unclear line between what is core and what is added or built upon the core. Or in this context what is the framework or what is built on it. There is not a clear delineation of what source (code) or knowledge one has to understand or have in order to fix, modify or extend certain parts of Zope. This also extends into simple usage of Zope.
For example ZServer. Most people will see ZServer as a Python implementation of a Web/FTP server. To a certain extent that is accurate. Now when you go to build your website you may be tempted to say I use Apache, AOLserver, etc. so I don't need ZServer. From my understanding of the mailing lists that is not so. ZServer is also the ORB for Zope. This also is not stated as such in the install docs. So it isn't clear if you can do without ZServer. If Zope can be used without ZServer what are the pros and cons. Once again it isn't clear.
The options for Zope are bewildering. They are a blessing but also bring a higher level of understanding to be fully used by the developer.
The developers at Digital Creations are great. They are fully aware of the complexity of Zope. They are working at creating and documenting Zope APIs. They are also developing a help system for Zope. I haven't installed the latest yet, which contains the help system. From what I understand there is a help tab or button which will provide context sensitive help.
I don't know if what DC is doing could be called simplifying there model or not. On one hand I would say yes, in that it looks as if they are refactoring their API, cleaning it up and documenting it.
Personally I hope for the best from these 2 fine tools. It is nice to have high quality options. I believe there are people who will enjoy one and not the other. I believe there are people who will understand one better than the other. They will be able to plug their mind in easier. It is also nice to watch innovatios from either and see them incorporated in the other.
ACSes simplicity and robustness are some it nicer features. I look forward to seeing 4.0 implemented and seeing how aD cleans up it's house. Hopefully it will make things easier for OpenACS. It would sure be nice if they would distill the esential of ACS from the db. Abstracting out the db doesn't require them switching from Oracle. And it would potentially make it easier for them to keep up with any changes in Oracle.