Zope vs PHP for the Linux guru

Cameron Laird claird at starbase.neosoft.com
Fri Oct 5 00:24:45 CEST 2001

In article <slrn9rpea7.ccn.mmealman at loki.thebisgroup.com>,
Mark  <mmealman at tarsis.org_NOSPAM> wrote:
>I've been doing web app development for the last 3 years using php. I
>already plan on learning Python to use as a rapid GUI development
>language(maybe even replace some of my perl-use) and was curious about Zope.
>I currently develop applications using php to query both remote and local
>databases. I use local MySQL databases for fast read-only queries, and use a
>remote MS SQL 2000 database for storing mutable data.
>I use mod_php compiled into Apache 1.3.xx, and run php apps that range from
>a few hundred lines to over 50k. DB access is through php's API using
>MySQL's native libs and FreeTDS for connecting to SQL.
>On the larger php apps I use an OO design model to keep the project
>managable. My smaller apps are pretty much just quickly thrown together
>Right now I run it all on one Linux box, but have plans on creating farms
>of apache servers for future scalability.
>Some questions I had about Zope where:
>Is developing apps in it a quick process? Php is a very rapid language to
>develop in and that has become my most favored trait of the language.
>Does Zope have good database support? Is it faster, slower than php with
>database queries?
>I'm assuming Zope will be better than php for large project development?
>Is Zope easy for newbies to learn? I'm not a newbie, but we do have
>some clients learning to program on our seperate Cold Fusion server, they
>find it easier than php. I'd love to get them off Cold Fusion and onto a
>more cost effective open source solution.
>Does Zope scale well in large deployments? Any kind of support for web
>server farming?
>Any other major differences from php? Good things about it, bad things about
Good questions.

Very good questions, in fact.  It's going to be tough
to answer at the same high level.

Zope development is breathtakingly swift--in the hands
of an expert.  As wonderful as Zope is, though, it's
hard to make a case that it's easy to learn.  It's pro-
bably the case that it lacks just the right bit of
documentation, or examples, or something; in any case,
newcomers consistently report rather extended intervals
before they "get" the Zope way of working.

In principle, you can do lots of neat stuff with Zope
"out of the box".  In practice, there's enough of some-
thing missing from the documentation that few beginners
realize at the beginning what they can do with Zope.

PHP database support is unmatched.  Zope supports lots
of DBs, but they're not all built-in, as with PHP.  On
the other hand, you seem actively involved only with
MySQL and SQL Server, so maybe you don't need much da-
tabase support.

Overall, people who try both Python and PHP generally
come back to the former.  CF just doesn't have many
attractions, once someone's enjoying Python.  HOWEVER,
people like your target audience seem rather consistently
to "catch on" to CF and PHP quicker than they do with

Zope scales fine.  There's a lot that goes into this;
the one-line summary is that Zope more than holds its

It does NOT support "Web server farming" of the sort
I suspect you have in mind, though.  There's no parti-
cular reason it doesn't (and maybe someone's fixed
this recently); it's just that no one's gone to the
trouble of making it a reality.

Overall, Python's just a better language than PHP,
and Zope addresses an incredible range of Web service
question.  For doing the first two or three Web-bish
things that most developers need, though, PHP has a
track record of being easier to get right.

Cameron Laird <claird at NeoSoft.com>
Business:  http://www.Phaseit.net
Personal:  http://starbase.neosoft.com/~claird/home.html

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