[triangle-zpug] Last evening's meeting

Chris Calloway cbc at unc.edu
Thu May 27 21:05:44 CEST 2004

Well, that was an interesting gathering. We should just chat more often. :)

And thanks, Ben, for the chips and salsa. That was my meal for the day 

I'm sure Tom is going to post his usual excellent recap. There were some 
things that were going to have continuing discussion on this list, 
though, rather than make hasty and cloistered decisions at just one 
meeting. I'd like to list some that caught my interest.

There were action items not tasked that came up for further discussion:

1) Ongoing construction of an educational road map for 
Python/Zope/CMF/Plone. This might be of the form, "in order to 
accomplish common task X, there are Y different ways to do it, skills A, 
B & C required, and starting points and trails for those skills can be 
found at U, V, & W.

2) Better FAQs for the Python/Zope/CMF/Plone newbie. (e.g., throw away 
the print version of the Zope Book unless you just need to know DTML; 
don't develop products in ZClasses anymore; how does web site 
development take place through the development of Zope products?; etc.)

3) Group projects. (Chris and Ben want to work on PloneMap together; are 
there other community projects that would instructional for the 

4) Group course development. (Python? Zope? CMF? Python module trails? 
Online or classroom? Are commercial Zope courses worth the money? How 
much independent study is required? Is reading the source the only way? 
How far does reading the source go without some general idea of what's 
going on?)

5) TriZPUG Plone site, hosted at UNC or NCSU (I ran this by UNC this 
morning and they had no objections). The point would *not* be to replace 
the zope.org TriZPUG presence or this mailing list on python.net, but 
rather to facilitate a TriZPUG members only Wiki and group collaboration 
product development site. Maybe like The Collective, but more for just 
TriZPUG? A virtual clubhouse for group activities using the very tools 
that Zope and Plone bring. A place for your road map development, FAQs, 
projects, courseware development, etc..

None of the above was meant to imply that these thing aren't available 
elsewhere. It was that the involvement in any of the above would be 
self-beneficial in the doing as much as beneficial to others. The above 
things came out of the inevitable Zope/CMF learning curve discussions.

There were also directional questions which came up:

1) What is the objective of TriZPUG? (One answer: facilitating 
development as a Zope professional. Another answer: I like Python; this 
is my fun time.)

2) If getting beyond a mere beginner's point in Zope/CMF is so hard, why 
do people try to do it? (One answer was: because Plone delivers above 
and beyond other frameworks such as J2EE and other CMS alternatives). 
Why would we market Zope to ourselves?

2) How do we give value to Python/Zope/CMF/Plone experts (or rather, how 
do experts find value in TriZPUG?) in order to secure their 
participation, which would presumably balance the newbie participants 
(i.e., thereby giving the newbies value)? How do we give value to 
newbies while developing more expert participation or becoming expert 
ourselves (self-answering question?)?

3) Should there be more frequent meetings, or meetings for different 
audiences? Can we expect value from 12 or fewer meetings per year as a 
group purpose? Should meetings be for things that can only (or mo' 
better) be face to face with more participation taking place virtually? 
Should meetings be more like last night where participants compared 
notes rather than having a structured program? Should there be separate 
nights for structured programs? Should some meetings be more about 
planning group activities/directions? Should there be separate nights 
for different interests (e.g., Python vs. CMS)?

4) How do we "cast the net?" We know there are many more pythonistas and 
zopistas active in the Triangle that whom come to TriZPUG. Many 
pythonistas are not even aware of what their fellow pythonistas down the 
hall are doing. Or that they are down the hall.

There were areas of interest expressed:

1) How do people manage Zope development, especially version control? 
What is a good development workflow for Zope. We are interested in 
change logs, diffs, branches, merges, and why WebDAV might suck. Is 
Subversion any good? How do you manage Zope development (code and/or 
content) if you are only doing it as part of your job? Is part time Zope 
even possible?

2) How do people do distributed data management with Zope? Are web 
services the right way to go? XML-RPC? Is it better to connect to other 
data management systems rather than organize things in an 
object-oriented fashion within Zope? Is Zope just SOAP misspelled?

3) Is it better to port applications to Zope or redevelop in the Zope 
style? What is Zope style anyway? Is it like aspect oriented programming?

4) How can the Zope/CMF learning curve get flattened? What is necessary 
to have frameworks released with adequate documentation beyond only the 
most end-user level? Is it even possible to reverse engineer existing 
frameworks in a timely manner without better pre-existing documentation? 
Are documentation efforts ever likely to succeed in the current Zope/CMF 
culture? Are there historical reasons for the state of the Zope/CMF docs 
and what are they? What are the documentation efforts? What is the 
culture of such efforts? Are such efforts likely to succeed? Do I have 
to spend the rest of my life looking for needles in mailing list haystacks?

4) GIS applications for the earth sciences. Are of interest, that is. 
Specifically PloneMap and the fact that Python now ships with ArcGIS 9. 
Parlez-vous français?

5) How do you do an "else" in ZPT? :)

Finally, some possibilities for June started from what anyone's idea of 
what a Zope executive summary should include and went from there:

1) Plone 2 demo (Chris can do if date changes for June). It's been over 
a year since the last Plone demo and Plone 2 is out now.

2) Ben shows how he ported a PHP app. I bet Ben can also demo Plone 2. :)

3) Your other ideas here. We didn't come up with a good way to 
communicate all the components of Zope in one sitting. It was suggested 
to possibly concentrate on just one aspect of Zope for presentation at 
the next meeting, but that aspect wasn't named or tasked.

This is not meant to be an authoritative recap of what transpired 
yesterday. Just trying to turn the "crickets" into cicadas. :)

So pick a discussion point and run with it or add your own.


Chris Calloway
office: 17-6 Venable Hall   phone: (919) 962-4323
mail: CB #3056, 12 Howell Hall, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599

More information about the triangle-zpug mailing list