Zope is actually an acronym for Z-Objects Publishing Environment which should give you a clue as to its capabilities. Zope is a completely Python-based solution for publishing information on the web. Rather than just filling the gap of a traditional web server, Zope also supports online page editing, change tracking, and multi-user access so it's possible to have a team of people working on stories and pages without needing to teach them HTML.

Zope also works through a series of templates and other content, so you can provide personalized and custom content whilst still providing the same basic structure to your users. Even better is the ability change the layout and content dynamically based on the user's preferences, and because we're all inside Python we can make complex but still intelligent choices about what to display.

Furthermore, because Zope is served through Python we also have access to all of the abilities of Python to create, deliver, and interface to other data sources. For example, you could develop a complete project management system entirely in Zope which means that everything from the HTML used to display the information to the database itself is provided by the same tool.

If that isn't enough for you, you can also interface to most other SQL databases, including mySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and many others. You can also interface to e-mail, Usenet and other services and if necessary write your own interfaces. Finally, Zope supports a huge range of standards including HTML, XML, WebDAV, CSS, DOM, XML-RPC, SQL, RSS, and LDAP.

All these different sources are still programmable and accessible through an online interface and most can be used by editors and writers without the need of a programmer or web developer to provide the interface and information.

Zope is already used by a large number of companies including Bell Atlantic Mobile, Red Hat, NASA, the US Navy, ishophere.com, i-Gift, IDG (Brazil), GE, Digital Garage, Verio, www.HireTechs.com, and Storm Linux.

Installing, using, and developing a Zope service is beyond the scope of this book, especially when there is no direct competition with a comparable Perl-based service. To find out more about Zope visit the website at www.zope.org.

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