Mainstreaming Zope

Paul Everitt
Paul Everitt, former DigiCool CEO now touring Europe to evangelize Zope/Python, has been blogging at Zope Dispatches for a couple of months. Recently he had an epiphany in France:

Last week we had dinner at the house of some friends, who invited a couple we hadn't met. I sat beside them at dinner, and the husband asked what I do. I've gotten used to the challenge of explaining Zope, so I asked if he had heard of Linux. "Yes, of course". So I said we do something like Linux, but for web applications.

His response? "Oh, so it's something like Zope?"

I stared at him, expressionless, for several moments while I underwent a core dump. The stranger sitting next to me at an ordinary dinner in France uses Zope as the first response when thinking about Linux-like web applications?

Ok, so it's official, this Zope thing is pretty freakin' big in Europe. And you can imagine the expression on his face when my wife told him who I was. [ Zope Dispatches]

That Zope would be huge in Europe, yet relatively unappreciated in the US, somehow doesn't surprise me. <sweepingGeneralization>For some reason, especially elegant object-oriented technologies always seem to have special resonance among Europeans. </sweepingGeneralization>. On the other hand, I'm glad to see Paul grappling with the dark side of Zope's cult appeal. In this article he concludes, correctly I think, that less can be more when it comes to brilliant innovation and maximal elegance.

The Early Majority is ... the domain of Joe Professional Programmer. JPP isn't religious about individual technologies, he wants to use the best tool for the customer and also wants to keep his resume attractive.

Reaching these people is a challenge for open source projects. We just aren't good at talking to them. Instead, we are more concerned with the needs and motivations of the 1x, and the 9x are somebody else's problem.

9x and JPP are about being smart, but not too smart. Also, about fitting their brain, not exploding their brain. [ Zope Europe - Inventor's Disease]

By "1x" Paul means the innovative 10% of the developer population, and by "9x" he means the mainstream "Joe Professional Programmer." +1, Paul! I'm amazed to see that it is now four years since I keynoted the first Zope conference. Today, there are still far too few Joe Professional Programmers who get what Zope is and why it might matter to them.

Ex-DigiCooler Jeffrey Shell has recently been exploring the alpha release of Zope 3. It's exciting to see that this radically rewritten version of Zope will take a more service-oriented approach. Of course, when I downloaded Zope 3, built it on OS X, and ran it, I had no luck running the JobBoardEx example that Jeffrey had written about months back. When I saw that Guido van Rossum had also been scratching his head about this, I didn't feel so bad. But Paul's cautionary articles are very much to the point. Even as the Zope development community is pushing the envelope with version 3, most JPPs don't know what version 2 can do. His mission is to help them break the ice. More power to you, Paul.

Former URL: