This is really interesting! A year ago I put Python + Zope on a USB key, just for fun. It would barely fit so I looked at zip techniques, and never could figure out how to get ZPTs etc. to load from a ZIP.
How did you do that part?
Dieter Maurer wrote:
Dear Zope developers,
we have used Zope+CMF+Archetypes in a new way -- not as a Web Application framework but as a framework for desktop applications that share a large part of their functionality with online applications (implemented with Zope+CMF+Archetypes).
A major stumbling block has been Zope's incredibly high startup time. We observerd times in the order of a minute on computers with either slow CPU or slow IO. This may be acceptable for a Web server but is prohibitive for a desktop application -- especially as the predecessor application started within a few seconds.
To overcome this obstacle, we tweaked Zope and fixed Python's import mechanism such that Zope now starts either out of a ZIP archive or as a frozen application. These measures had the following results.
Startup times on a mid range computer (AMD Athon 1.4 GHz; 512 MB memory) with a standard IDE disk.
Cold start Warm start (after computer startup) (most files in OS cache)
File system 13s 5s ZIP archive 8s 4s Frozen 5s 3s
In more details, we did:
* implement a package for a new kind of "url"s "pypackage:" for package relative access to resources.
The package monkey patches Python's "open", "os.listdir", "os.stat" to provide transparent access to "pypackage:" identified resources.
It currently support package relative access for packages loaded from the file system, from a ZIP archive and from the executable itself (i.e. frozen packages). In the last case, the resources are in a separate ZIP archive.
This package might be interesting for Python as a whole as it is not Zope specific.
* implement a shared object importer to be used as a Python "meta_path" hook.
This importer allows to load shared objects into the context of a parent package (such as e.g. "ZODB.TimeStamp") although the shared object is not located inside the package's source (ZIP archive or executable).
* fix about 70 occurrences in Zope code where package relative access was implemented by "dirname(__file__)" to consistenty use "package_home".
* modify about a dozen places in Zope+CMF to use "pypackage:" and cope with "__path__" not being a list for frozen packages
* fix a few products (Archetypes and friends, TextIndexNG2, PlacelessTranslationService, ...) to use "package_home" (rather than "dirname(__file__)") and not to change the current working directory (which obviously would fail for destinationsbe in a ZIP archive or the executable).
* implement lazy loading of "ImageFile"s to reduce the risk of recursive imports (and reduce startup time).
* support lazy product initialization
* support configuration from a pickle file (to avoid expensive parsing of the schema and configuration files).
The pickle is used as a configuration cache.
* fixed Python's import mechanism not to treat ZIP archives as a directory when the archive could not find a module.
If you were *really* interested in these startup time improvements, I could provide patches which might be integrated in the Zope core for e.g. Zope 2.9.
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