plant DB - software

John Schinnerer eco_living at
Sat Dec 15 18:39:12 EST 2001


(warning to non-combatants - much geek speak ahead... ;-)

Well, I buried pfaf in my thoughts about making an open-source project
out of the pfaf dataset/database, including links to a number of
open-source efforts for informational purposes.  (Graham, did I
mistakenly send you a bunch of info on that, or did that go to the
right place?  I think I confused "you" with "pfaf" in one mail I
sent... :-o).

I've just been waiting for the next shoe to drop in this thread, and
seeing if pfaf might go open-source, in which case I return to my
"let's avoid duplication of effort" theme.

If not:

> I talked with the admins at ibiblio, which
> hosts this list and my website, and asked about Zope and Python.
> They will no longer support Zope as it is unstable and crashes too
> often. 

Never heard of this as a significant problem w/zope, at least not with
a solid server config and stable versions of essential stuff (OS,
Apache, etc.).  Since I have no idea what distro Ibiblio is running or
how they are set up, I can't take it any further...

Just queried my sysadmin whether he's had problems with zope, but I'm
pretty sure I would have heard lots of grumbling if he had.  It's never
been down since he set it up for me, afaik (months now...).  He runs
bleeding-edge debian linux as base OS.  Heck, I've never even had it
crash on my Windoze 98 dev box.  If it's stable on Win (not a priority
platform for most open-source projects), it's pretty darn stable... ;-)

> Out new mailing list software (Mailman) is written in Python
> which runs on its own server using some software module labelled
> modpython. 

Yeah, Zope is written in python too.  Every sysadmin has their faves
and hates, depending on experience and competence, so I won't take my
general advocacy any further than to finish by saying zope is in my
experience very stable and there are some major corporate sites
(including e-commerce - links to some examples at somewhere)
running on it, and those kinds of players don't stick long with flaky
stuff, can't afford to.

> So I guess we have two votes for PHP/MySQL.

I prefer the zope object-oriented environment.  Makes life soooo much
easier for development (reusable objects, inheritance, classes, yada
yada yada), and also/especially maintenance (template and macro
language - separates data, logic and presentation).  Zope can hook into
MySQL or any other common SQL DB, and can incorporate external objects
in C++, maybe even encapsulate PHP code.  Python (and lately Perl, I
think) script objects are built-in.  Also built-in are 'versions',
where changes can be made to an existing site without initially
affecting the "live" site, and then "committed" (as in a transactional
DB) when ready, bingo, live, just like that.  Also built-in is access
at multiple, customizable security levels for different folks working
on different aspects of a site (data, logic, presentation, content
contribution, etc.).  Basically a built-in version-control/code
management system (all web-based).  And...ZEO (zope enterprise objects)
lets the back end for a site be a distributed database that can live on
multiple systems transparently.

MySQL, PHP, it's all good...I'm not saying no, I won't contribute if we
don't use zope, I'm just saying what looks easier to me in the long
(and probably short, too) run.  If Ibiblio doesn't want to host zope,
perhaps someone else will...if anyone else wants to use it, that is.

More in a moment...

John Schinnerer, MA
- Eco-Living -
Cultural & Ecological Designing
Food - Shelter - Community
john at

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