Hi Jeff,

In general, once you understand that recipes are just eggs, loaded with
an entry point, and that options are passed around in dicts-of-dicts, I
find buildout pretty easy to get to grips with.

I understand that they're eggs with entry points. But that doesn't
help me figure out all of the options available. It's hard to get a
simple straightforward list of a Recipe's configuration options, how
to format them (since the ConfigParser format is so godawful), etc.

Well, of course there's no substitute for decent documentation! :-)

Buildout itself is pretty well documented, IMHO - I use http://pypi.python.org/pypi/zc.buildout/1.0.0b31 and ./bin/buildout --help as references.

The plone.recipe.* recipes also attempt to document their options clearly, for example http://pypi.python.org/pypi/plone.recipe.zope2instance/1.0

and then we have high level documentation in places like http://plone.org/documentation/tutorial/buildout.

Of course, some of that's Zope 2 and Plone specific, but at least it's not an intractable problem. :)

I've looked at zopeproject. The biggest problem is that we have large,
existing applications that don't fit those molds. Starting up a
totally fresh project? Relatively easy.

Yes, of course - legacy's always hard. :)

But just today, I was trying to get a running buildout instance thingy
going for a customer who has a very small site which we haven't yet
deployed. Now I'm just running into problems with finding out which
things are configured (in ZCML) by default and which aren't. And the
last stumbling block I hit before I gave up for the day involved
`zope.filerepresentation` installing as a zipped egg, which then gets
in the way of ZCML being able to load its configure.zcml file. I tried
to find out if there was an 'always_unzip' option for Buildout, but it
seems to only be a part of buildout's easy_install API.

Unfortunately, that's a setuptools problem. Maybe zc.buildout could have that option - it'd be nice. Zipped eggs are a PITA when it comes to ZCML. :-(

Btw, this means that no-one's ever used zope.filerepresentation except in develop mode, which is pretty crap. :)


Author of `Professional Plone Development`, a book for developers who
want to work with Plone. See http://martinaspeli.net/plone-book

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