Zope.org: Permanent Failure?

Rumor has it that some brave folks are trying to come up with a
zope3.org website, so that Zope 3 related information is found
separate from the current zope.org website.

I have lost track of how many different attempts have happened to
restore sanity at the zope.org website. This one will be the
second try at a zope3.org alone.

For some reason, people just complain (1, 2, 3), and then
talk about doing everything from scratch again and again, in spite
of me having given my opinion that the problem is not that
serious. Can’t we learn from our own mistakes?

Please, all of you, people in charge of zope.org: give us a
break. Saying We don’t have Plone experience is not an acceptable
answer!

For sure, you would expect that people who can swim through the
shitload of abstractions in Zope 3 should be more than qualified to do
some simple digging in a bunch of Page Templates and Python Scripts,
which is just about what Plone is.

Where’s the people responsible for those big media sites? None of
them works at Zope Corp anymore? Maybe they are just too busy to care
and we will keep hearing the same complaints over and over until hell
freezes over.

23 thoughts on “Zope.org: Permanent Failure?

  1. Another Wiki…?
    It seems rather confused what they want for zope3.org. They should just use the tools that work — Zope 3 desperately needs a *website*, not a new tool in the form of a website. zope.org is a mess… but it’s not unrelated to the fact that Zope isn’t making use of resources that it could.

    Why do they need a distribution system? Use PyPI. Why a special packaging system? Use setuptools. Why a wiki? They suck anyway ;) I don’t bother running my project sites on my software for the most part; static files work A-OK for me. Frankly no one is paying attention; does anyone care that lots of Ruby people use Trac? I don’t. Good project management is more important than eating your own dogfood. And there’s better stuff to spend time on than refining your dogfood recipe, twiddling with yet-another-wiki or yet-another-bug-tracker or whatever.

    And if Zope 3 can’t handle working in a heterogeneous environment, *that’s* what they desperately need to fix, because that’s crappy design.

  2. zope.org
    Wasn’t it you who wrote this software crap on behalf of ZC? It’s basicially you who is in charge for this mess.

  3. True words, true words
    Lots of stuff I agree with here, Ian (and Sidnei too). It always seems to become a problem where, "If we only wrote some new software, all would be well." Err, we don’t need new software as much as we need new words and better organization.

    I particularly agree with the points about dogfood and integration.

  4. Missing most of the story
    I think you might be missing some important parts to the story. Perhaps if you state your name, and the parts of the story you know about, the rest of the details can be filled in.

  5. re: zope.org
    I was responsible for migrating the old content from ZClasses to some propert CMF-based content.

    During the migration Guido Van Rossum was responsible for making sure the goals were accomplished. Then he left, and Brian from ZC was responsible for the project. Then I left.

    As for who’s in charge of zope.org today, that’s not me. Better check your sources.

    However you miss the point of my post. What I’m trying to say here is that being it a mess or not, writing all the software from scratch won’t make it shine. That’s an illusion. Nobody has the time to do it.

    As the person that put the current software together I can assure that there ain’t no rocket science involved in fixing whatever issues that exist now.

  6. Inquiring Minds want to know
    If it’s as easy as you have pointed out so wisely, why haven’t you stepped up to fix it? You are the guy who was paid by Zope Corporation to craft it into what it is today right? As soon as it launched, didn’t it have problems? Just how much support for your software have you offered the company who paid you? What about the community who is volunteering to keep it running, have you helped them out?

    You write here and criticize those whom you delivered the software to? You were paid. Not only does your odd commentary on this subject question your integrity, it leaves one wondering Just how big are your balls?

  7. Does anyone bother?
    > If it’s as easy as you have pointed out so wisely, why haven’t you stepped up to fix it?

    I did step up. I’ve replied to emails and people got stuff fixed. See recent history in the zope-web mailing list.

    > You are the guy who was paid by Zope Corporation to craft it into what it is today right?

    No, I was paid to migrate the old software to new software.

    > As soon as it launched, didn’t it have problems?

    Yes, it had. But at that point ZC stopped paying. In fact, they still owe X3ng, the company I worked for $2k.

    > Just how much support for your software have you offered the company who paid you?

    Perpetual support wasn’t in the contract. The contract was between ZC and X3ng, not ZC and Sidnei da Silva. I left X3ng.

    > What about the community who is volunteering to keep it running, have you helped them out?

    The community is unable to help out because of restrictions imposed by Zope Corporation. Read the archives on the zope-web list. Several people stepped up to help but then flee away because they are required to sign NDAs, more than one even to get filesystem access to fix the software.

    > You write here and criticize those whom you delivered the software to? You were paid.

    See above, ZC still owes X3ng money.

    > Not only does your odd commentary on this subject question your integrity, it leaves one wondering Just how big are your balls?

    I prefer not to comment on that.

  8. Thanks
    It helps to give some of the perspective of the situation, as some of us might have been given incorrect or partial information as to the entire situation. So thanks for clarifying that. That’s appreciated. As for the ‘cost’ of helping zope.org, it isn’t that much. I signed one.

    If you really care, rather then write what appears to be criticisms of those who were trying to fix what was there, approach them with offers to assist them. Some of us were maybe boxed in due to affiliation at the time (i.e. being zope corp employees). I’m man enough to admit I could have misread your critique as personal, but it is not just an objective statement of facts from your perspective either Sidnei.

    I personaly care a lot about zope.org. I also think it’s an embarassment. I made mistakes in an approach to fix it, but I’m still certain the goal is what mattered and I’m also still certain it’s the right goal: Minimalize what zope.org is. Give content back to the community. Let them step up where they wish. Zope.org should hightlight the software AND the community. I think it’s largest fault is trying to be everything for the community. In doing so it’s becoming nothing. It needs to be concise, focused, and shine in that focused content arena: Software & Docs. This approach allows for others to shine in the community in the areas they wish and means the excuse there isn’t time to maintain it is lessened due to the reduction in scope and machinery.

    I told Jim Fulton recently, I could care less if it’s plone or CPS for that matter. The general user of the site doesn’t care. If it’s plone and we can get Plone volunteers, so be it. Unfortunately, some people care about that more then others.

    I’d like to be able to contribute to fix it. I have minimal amounts of time – but if there’s hope, I’m game. Ultimately, what’s there right now is an absolute mess. I went into fix a view, and at first glance it appeared that nearly the entire site skins had been customized. That pissed me off enough to just log off and let whomever did that deal with it.

    So, what can we collectively do to fix it – not bandaid it and get past he said, she said, finger pointing?

  9. Let’s be objective…
    I’m all for helping fix it. We need to be objective though. Attack one issue at a time. Like the last emails I’ve exchanged on zope-web. There ain’t anything majorly broken that can’t be fixed at all.

    If you tell me ‘the default workflow status is not sane’ like was done in zope-web, I can say ‘click here, click there, that will fix it’.

    My point is that no PhD in CS is required to fix it. Anyone with minimal DCWorkflow knowledge could have fixed the default workflow status. Yet, it took almost 3 years for someone to actually do it.

    But let’s forget that now.

    The problem is that when looking collectively at the whole pile of issues it might look like an impossible task. But it really isn’t.

  10. I somewhat agree
    I agree to some level. Hell, personally being one at ZC who was self-appointed to at best, just keeping zope.org up when I could, I had no idea there was a workflow or software product problem. But yeah, move beyond the specifics that deflect from moving forward is a good thing. It’s not really going to solve the problem, which I hope we’d all like to do.

    That said, maybe I’m ‘too deep’ to be objective about the steps to fix it. Ultimately, I think there is enough interest with enough of us community members to fix it. Paul had emailed me recently when he heard some of my ideas and mentioned there were some possible interesting projects that could collaborate to get something done that eleviates the burden on just one entity. I’m for that. To be entirely honest though, I think outside of bandaids to what zope.org currently is, any substantial work on it is a waste. I had an artist working on a nice skin, who is still interested in contributing. I would like to get zope.org reduced to software, docs, and pointing to community sites that fill zope niches. I could care less if Plone or CMF are the underlying architecture. For me, it’s all about the least amount of effort in that regard.

    I think my ‘rearchtecture’ stance is more re-defining what zope.org is and that being the premier site for that concise area. That is where I’d like to see efforts made. In that regard, it leaves alot of the current problems mute. What do you think? How can we get some momentum?

    I don’t think I have server access any longer though, I was told by one of the new ZC SA’s he moved my keys aside. TTW management of zope.org has 0 interest for me. :)

  11. I couldn’t agree more…
    You’re right on the subject. We don’t really need some revolutionary software or anything. We need a better (in terms of eye-candy and content) website.

    Why can’t zope.org be as cool as djangoproject.com? Just because it’s zope it must be ugly? Let’s put a end to that.

    OTOH, I’m a but pessimist about strategies to get momentum. Paul might have some ideas here. We’ve done a ‘website design contest’ in the past, maybe it’s time for another?

    Is there anything we could do, software-wise to make managing and organizing content TTW in zope.org a pleasant task?

  12. Yup
    I’d never heard of djangoproject.com, but that’s exactly what I’ve been after for some time now. I’d always used PHP’s site as my example – but they’re accomplishing the same thing. The Software, The Docs, and The Community. Aggregating Zope News from various other sites’ RSS would be cool also.

    I’m hesitent to have ‘contests’ or open things up to general distractions. My last attempt was, open up to people who were willing to give help. Lets get together, divvy out tasks, and get it done. In that last scenario, I was more of an acting project manager of sorts (doing mainly systems work and trying to get squid to work nicely with zope.org) and the developers all bailed out. It sort of died….but doesn’t have to.

    We had a nice simple UI design done by one of the guys who works for Viacom that I’d worked with for years. It was supposed to be simple and clean. I think he achieved that. He still wants to help (but he’s off getting married now).

    Since I wanted to do a massive ‘focus’ shift, I thought it was best to start from a clean slate (object wise anyhow). Starting from a new site, getting the UI and structure laid down, and then manually migrate content that fit for the new goals. All old content would be ‘abandoned’ of sorts. I would set a date to turn off logins on the current site and disable the ability to create any new content. Just leave it up until people replaced it with a variety of community members’ sites and or moved their content.

    As to momentum strategies….I guess it’s a matter of just getting those together who can and are willing to get it done and coming up with a plan. Since I see such a major focus shift, I would be interesting to discuss and plan for some web services and such to assist in one of the goals of highlighting community sites.

    I dunno, I feel like I’m rambling now. Not sure where to start or go next?

  13. TTW Pleasantries
    I don’t like TTW management at all. The only thing I can imaging is sludging through the skins and figuring out why they were all customized and getting them back onto the filesystem. The biggest question I’d ask though is, why? If there was indeed an agreed focus on limiting scope of zope.org — dealing with that kruft is pointless, no?

  14. Lead?
    I guess it all boils down to a problem of leadership. Everyone is interested in contributing a little, but no one is capable of taking the lead and making a firm assertion about what direction the efforts should lead to.

    I can’t think of a person that fits this role, unfortunately.

  15. Yes…
    Even more if a new design was on the plans. Anyway, you said that you got a new layout, I would like to see that and maybe propose it for evaluation on the mailing list.

  16. I was
    I was willing to, but I didn’t have the resources at my disposal to make anything happen. I’d still be willing to if we had some number of people willing to do this. At last count, there was me, d2m (who is only doing TTW structure, organization, etc) and the designer. We need a few programmers to go the direction I’d like. I can code, but can’t commit to being the main guy.

  17. I’ll look
    I’ll find in my email the links to his dev site where he was doing the designs. I’ll post the link when I find it.

  18. Famous last words
    I know I will hate myself later on, but I feel I’m in debt with zope.org. I could contribute some time to coding.

    I can’t think of much new software that would have to be written for a zope.org remake.

    There’s some very simple tasks that would provide some immediate gain, say, booting up a 2.8.4+ zope with CMF 1.5.5+, mount the old database and copy just the content over.

    That would be a good first step towards something we can work with, and better, zero TTW work required :)

    From there, we could fix a couple glitches and stitch a new skin, and then the boring work starts.

  19. Agreed
    I agree that it shouldn’t be much of a development effort – but it’s going to be a little bit nonetheless (and it’s always more then we guess) :)

    I’ll see if I can get access back to the servers and setup a new checkout of software with a nanzo.zope.org url that points to this new instance. Not sure if that can happen or not unfortunately. #zope-web is where we hang out for these kinds of things and where we should congregate.

  20. Im still here Sawdog. You guys need anything, let me know. I’ve been slammed at work, but I should be able to scrounge up some time to back into the swing of things for the UI.

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