Which is better?  ZOPE or PHP?

Posted on 2006-04-24
Last Modified: 2010-04-06
Hi Experts,

Our group is divided in the issue of using Zope and PHP in developing Web Applications.  Is there a comparison between the two in terms of:

1.  scalability (code reuse)
2.  maintenance
3.  complexity
4.  effectiveness
5.  others

We currently develop applications like tracking, work flows, web content edits etc.

Question by:harris_c
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution


    What the hell is Zope? ;)

    Now, seriously, comparing Zope to PHP is comparing apples to fabric softener. PHP is a programming language and Zope is an SDK on Python. (Python is another programming language).

    Basically, people created an enviroment using Python that allows you to take advantage of several tools designed for web development. PHP can and has been used for similar purposes and there are many Zope-like environments available for PHP.

    To use Zope you have to make a commitment to learn its particularities as well as learn Python, the programming language behind it all.

    Whether Zope is worth the effort depends on your goals and previous experience. I would encourage you to ask around at the Zope user groups ( but, in general, everybody using Zope will swear by it and everybody not using Zope will tell you to stay away.

    I would recommend that before you decide to invest in Zope you familirize yourself with PHP and Python and other SDKs/libraries-sets available for them. This should be a good start:

    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution



    I did used Zope for several web based systems and is quite OK.
    What I didn't like is that it feels heavy sometimes, like trying to
    kill a fly with a train. Also, when you update between Zope releases
    you might run into problems.  

    I also tried PHP a bit, but I personally don't like it.

    Looking back at the systems I did, now I would choose Perl to implement them, because is a way lighter solution and more people know it than Python+Zope.
    PHP is a no-no solution for me. For me it PHP feels like pure C and Python like C++ or Java.

    Now let's try to address your questions:
    1.  scalability (code reuse)
    - Zope is component based so is a bit more structured than PHP
    - Also it has its own solutions for scalable deployment (ZEO)
      + points for Zope here
    2.  maintenance
    - depends on what you understand by maintenance here
      + Zope has a lot of infrastructure that helps you edit/manage
         web pages/portals/cmf remotely.
      + On the Zope platform you can run maintenace jobs similar to cron on Unix
      + I  don't know of any PHP based content management framework as powerful
         as what Zope has.
    3.  complexity
      + Zope is quite complex but also well documented
      + whatever you put on top of PHP has its own
         complexity that it may not be well documented.
    4.  effectiveness
      + Well, I would stick with Python here, is so much better language than PHP
         when it comes to express anything.
    5.  others
      + for small stuff and toy like projects maybe PHP is faster
      + for complex  projects I would vote for Zope

    "We currently develop applications like tracking, work flows, web content edits etc."
    I would say you have all these ready available in Zope. If you need your own solutions at least you have a starting point.

    LVL 8

    Author Comment

    Hi Esopo and za-k,

    Thanks for your time.  I already know python...  and the debate here is RAD.  The workflow that we have so far developed in ZOPE is encountering problems due to its layered architecture.  Anyways, thanks for the thought.

    LVL 8

    Author Comment

    Ill award the points later... there might be others who want to share their ideas.


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