Our company services Higher Education exclusively and so we have some experience here.

On Jan 22, 2007, at 1:08 PM, Dominique Lederer wrote:

Hello list!

currently i am writing my diploma thesis at the University of Applied
Science in Austria, Vienna.
The topic is about the usage of Python and Zope (3) in education.
There are a lot of papers concerning Python and education, but i found
not much about Zope there. So this seems an interesting topic to discuss.

For my diploma thesis, i would like to ask you to anwer or discuss a few
questions, to see, what you think about this.
(of course i will cite all the stuff)

Here they are:

* Do you think Zope (3) can be used at school or university level to
support topics in computer science education? What topics would you
recommend? Why?
I definitely think Zope 3 can be used to support education. We plan on developing a number of applications in this area. It seems at present that universities are focusing on J2EE and .NET, like most companies. We are also noticing an increasing ability of universities to do their own development. Traditionally many of the software applications that universities use have been purchased. We see an increasing desire to build and customize applications in house. We also find however that in universities the funding and resources required to manage a J2EE or a .NET project are not necessarily there. We believe Zope could fill this role because it is faster to develop in, and python is fairly easy to learn. We find that universities tend to have developers who are a bit less experienced, and this sometimes includes administrators who actually want to do their own development. J2EE and .NET is not easy to pick up for the novice. In this area Zope 3 is particularly challenging in comparison to Zope 2, however there are entry points in Zope 3 with a minimal amount of TTW development. In this sense I personally feel strongly that Zope 3 needs to have a greater emphasis on TTW development so that it can satisfy the needs of the intermediate developers. However I feel that Zope 3 is such a clean and well developed platform that more of these tools will show up.

* How would you convince someone who is in charge to use Zope 3 in his
It really depends upon the costs and benefits and the organizations goals. I always find it better to examine products that exist and that suit your needs. Zope was developed (as I understand and may be incorrect) by a professor in Computer Science in order to explain web development and instruction on application development. Read about the history of Zope.

Personally, our company prefers not to hire people with Computer Science training. This is because we find that professors and university education in this area is more philosophical and a bit out- dated; students tend to come out with a mindset that says "what's the most proper way to complete a project?" rather than "How can I get this done?" J2EE and .NET are similar. In engineering there is the constant battle between form and function. J2EE and .NET are all about form. They are very elegant, and fit all the philosophical models of computer science, and in particular UML. This however is their weakness.

When engineering the ultimate goal is to come up with a great solution to some problem. The solution starts as a thought and needs to be converted into a application. Programming languages that reduce the barriers between thought and application are preferred. PHP does this very well for example, however it suffers from scalability issues because it is all about function and not form (ditto Perl). In my experience when you use J2EE you spend a lot of time converting the problem in your head into a J2EE application. Because it does not directly parallel thought it is prone to error; when an application fails it is hard to get your head around it and fix it. As Stephan Richter once told me, Zope strikes a nice balance between the direct thought to coding present in PHP and the well thought out form of a J2EE application. I wrote an application to list automobiles online: it took 2 files/objects in Zope, and 36 in Java. Java can be so abstracted and modular that you spend more time trying to code than actually solving and implementing the problem and being productive.

J2EE and .NET are also about marketing. It is important to note that none of the major providers: Oracle, Sun, or Microsoft use these technologies in their own core applications. Most of them still use C/C++. They will use J2EE or .NET for auxiliary applications such as the Oracle install, but it stops there.

* How do you see Component Based Software Engineering (CBSE) related to
Zope 3? What are the differences? Is Zope 3 an alternative for other
component based frameworks in the industry and why?

I'm not sure I understand the question on this one. Zope can be used to provide components in an XML-RPC model, or just about any other; this is the nature of the content view model of Zope.

* How do you see the future of Zope? Where do you (want to) see it in 2
I would like to see more TTW development and a great ability to integrate with SQL relational databases. The power of the Zope platforms leads me to believe these will be available within a few years.

thank you very much
One point of view. Hope it helps.


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