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What is Zope?

by Colin Stark last modified 2006-01-21 11:28

At the core of our web site is the open source, object-oriented database and web server called Zope. Here is a brief summary of the technology culled from the Zope Corporation home page.

Zope is an open source web application server primarily written in the Python programming language. It features a transactional object database which can store not only content and custom data, but also dynamic HTML templates, scripts, a search engine, and relational database (RDBMS) connections and code. It features a strong through-the-web development model, allowing you to update your web site from anywhere in the world. To allow for this, Zope also features a tightly integrated security model. Built around the concept of "safe delegation of control", Zope's security architecture also allows you to turn control over parts of a web site to other organizations or individuals. The transactional model applies not only to Zope's object database, but to many relational database connectors as well, allowing for strong data integrity. This transaction model happens automatically, ensuring that all data is successfully stored in connected data sources by the time a response is returned to a web browser or other client.

There are numerous products (plug-in Zope components) available for download to extend the basic set of site building tools. These products include new content objects; relational database and other external data source connectors; advanced content management tools; and full applications for e-commerce, content and document management, or bug and issue tracking. Zope includes its own HTTP, FTP, WebDAV, and XML-RPC serving capabilities, but can also be used with the Apache or other web servers.

An Introduction to Zope | Zope Architecture

Who Uses Zope?

Zope users include Viacom,, SGI, AARP, Bell Atlantic Mobile (now Verizon Wireless), Red Hat, NASA, the US Navy,, i-Gift, IDG (Brazil), GE, Digital Garage, Verio,, Park City Ski Area, and Storm Linux.

A long list of Zope Solution Providers lists internet providers and developers worldwide available to help you develop or deploy Zope applications. Numerous Mailing Lists are available, with many Zope users available to answer questions about Zope development, deployment, or any other topic.

Case Studies | Testimonials | Zope Powered Sites

Who Maintains Zope?

Zope was originally authored by Zope Corporation. Parts of Zope have been open source as far back as 1996, with the whole application server open source since 1998. Zope Corporation still drives the primary vision and development of Zope, with each release being maintained and developed by more and more community members - either by submitting patches to the bug collector or by developers with access to check in new features and fixes. The Zope Development Site contains ongoing projects and proposals for Zope's past and future. | Zope Corporation

What Can Zope Do For You?

Zope can help you create dynamic web applications such as portal and intranet sites quickly. Zope comes with everything you need including support for membership, search, and news.

Its easy to use tools allow teams to productively and safely work together. Zope provides top-notch access to databases and other legacy data. Zope's open support for web standards such as XML-RPC, DOM, and WebDAV allows you unparalleled flexibility and interoperability.

On top of what Zope offers out of the box, there are useful applications available for those who need something right away:

  • The CMF (Content Management Framework) adds numerous tools and services to Zope to allow community or organization based content management, complete with a workflow system and a powerful customization framework. The CMF Workflow system uses Zope's built in security architecture. One thing this allows is for the "edit permission" to be taken away from an author who has submitted a document for review and publishing. This ensures that what the reviewer sees cannot change during or after review without the author intentionally taking back the document.
  • Plone is a ready to use content management system that puts a polished interface on top of the CMF. With its own installers available, you can download Plone and have a community or organizational web site immediately whose content, such as news items, documentation, and events, is supplied by members of the organization. The organizations in question can range from a large internet community, large and small companies, and even church groups. Because it's built on the CMF, it delivers the same powerful set of tools mentioned above while augmenting behavior with helpful content entry forms and validation.
  • Icoya is a retail, shrink wrapped content management system based on Plone. The structure of layers (Zope, CMF, Plone, Icoya) showcases the flexible power of Zope.
  • Silva is a web browser based publication system for creating publications for different media, including web and paper. Silva focuses on the authoring, versioning, and publishing of complex documents.
  • Bizar Software offers a retail full-featured e-commerce application built on Zope. Complete with its own installers, Bizar Shop allows rapid development and maintenance of online store fronts. Bizar also offers hosted solutions for their application.
  • Numerous tools are available in the "Helper Products" area for developers to use to build even stronger web sites, including form building and validation, LDAP connectivity, HTML converters, and more. Many other products are available from the downloads page.

Zope Downloads | Documentation | Resources

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