I'm exploring the use of Zope for creating learning environments in 
higher education.

One of the requirements is for a tutor to be able to create a mini 
site that includes static files along with more active objects like 
discussion boards. Furthermore they need to be able to make 
different 'instances' of this site for use by different groups, such 
that each instance of the site conatins unique instances of any 
contained active objects (such as a discussion board).

The obvious approach would be to just copy and paste the folder 
containing the master site, but there are a couple of problems with 
that: (1) changes to the master site will only be reflected in new 
instances of the site, and (2) a lot of static files could be getting 
copied each time.

What I think I need to do is to develop a facility that makes a 
tutor's site into a product. Instantiating such a generated product 
should make a smart clone of the master site, smart in the sense that 
only active objects are actually cloned, but static files are shared 
among all instances of the site. I suspect that ZClasses might be 
involved to achieve this, but are there any issues with the fact that 
a master site could contain folders? Furthermore I'd like a tutor to 
be able to visit their productised site to update it, without seeing 
a lot of alien stuff; changes to the master site should be reflected 
in all instances of the site.

Am I on the right lines here? Any pointers would be appreciated.

Hamish Lawson
University of St Andrews, Scotland


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