Zope: What is Zope?

Zope is a framework for building web applications. A web application is a computer program that users access with a web browser over the Internet. You can also think of a web application as a dynamic web site that provides not only static information to users but lets them use dynamic tools to work with an application.

Web applications are everywhere, and web users work with them all the time. Common examples of web applications are sites that let you search the web, like Yahoo, collaborate on projects, like SourceForge, or communicate with other people over e-mail, like HotMail. All of these kinds of applications can be developed with Zope.

Zope consists of several different components that work together to help you build web applications. Zope comes with:

A Web server
Zope comes with a built in web server that serves content to you and your users. Of course, you may already have an existing web server, such as Apache or Microsoft IIS and you may not want to use Zope's. Not to worry, Zope works with these web servers also, and any other web server that supports the Common Gateway Interface (CGI).
A Web based interface
When you build web applications with Zope, you use your web browser to interact with the Zope management interface. This interface is a development environment that lets you do things like create web pages, add images and documents, connect to external relational databases and write scripts in different languages.
An object database
When you work with Zope, you are mostly working with objects that are stored in Zope's object database. Zope's management interface provides a simple, familiar way to manage objects that resembles the way many common file managers work.
Relational integration
You don't have to store your information in Zope's object database if you don't want to, because Zope works with other relational databases such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Sybase, MySQL and many others.
Scripting language support
Zope allows you to write web applications in a number of different languages, like Python and Zope's own Document Template Markup Language (DTML).

These are just some of the compelling features that have made Zope so popular for developing web applications. Perhaps Zope's best feature of all is its friendly, open source license. This means that not only is Zope free of cost for you to download, but you are also free to use Zope in your own products and applications without paying royalties or usage fees. Zope's open source license also means that all of the "source code" for Zope is available for you to look at, understand, and extend. Zope does not lock you into a proprietary solution that could hold you and your web users hostage.

Purdue Engineering and Zope

The Web has grown into a key method of communication within Purdue Engineering since the first engineering web site opened in 1992. It became apparent that a web service of multiple traditional web servers did not fully fill the needs of the Schools of Engineering, maintaining multiple machines became expensive and time consuming.

The Engineering Computer Network with funding from the Dean of Engineering began design of a central web service during the Spring of 2001. The goals included creating a centralized, scalable, and secure web environment which provides simple methods of content management.

Zope was selected to provide content management features. A cluster of Intel and Sun machines running Linux and Solaris provide the power to centralize all Engineering web services. Data synchronization and scalability are handled by ZEO (Zope Enterprise Objects). Encryption is handled by a secure socket layer (SSL) which encrypts all data transfers to and from the Web Cluster.

Lastly the URL changed from "www.ecn.purdue.edu" to a more logical "engineering.purdue.edu". The Web Cluster began serving pages to the public during the Fall of 2001.

Last modified: 2007/10/09 11:28:47.487000 GMT-4 by brian.r.brinegar.1
Created: 2007/10/09 11:28:47.487000 GMT-4 by brian.r.brinegar.1.



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