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Birkbeck and Zope: a brief introduction Adrian Tribe, Web Manager: David Little, Web Developer: Birkbeck Web Team.

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Presentation on theme: "Birkbeck and Zope: a brief introduction Adrian Tribe, Web Manager: David Little, Web Developer: Birkbeck Web Team."— Presentation transcript:

1 Birkbeck and Zope: a brief introduction Adrian Tribe, Web Manager: David Little, Web Developer: Birkbeck Web Team

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4 Zope & Plone : 2 public Zope sites (main corporate site and the Students Union site). CCS intranet also running in Zope. 2008: c.60 sites including: –Corporate web site (Plone) –13 out of 17 Schools –9 out of 10 administrative departments (including Library) –Various institutes and research centres

5 Supply & demand Birkbecks culture: decentralised. Schools / departments can choose how to manage their web presence. Potential recipe for disaster in the old days: inconsistency, design nightmares, bad accessibility, unprofessional. However, Zope enthusiastically embraced: no special technical skills required, less time and resource spent on website maintenance, professional / consistent look and feel, fully accessible.

6 : Keeping pace with demand Rapid adoption of Zope sites. Production of standards-compliant, CSS-based template site. Colours / images easily changed. Effective roll-out mechanism. Technologies: Zope / CMF behind Apache. Customisations TTW. EditonPro: third-party wysiwyg editor (RealObjects). Best of breed at time. Probably still the best: Java-based, Word-like interface, extensible, Javascript API. Kupu not up to scratch at time (not XHTML-compliant).

7 Zope application development Beyond Zope / CMF: using Zope to create content-based applications. Prospectus publishing in Committees website: bespoke CMS to handle publishing of Birkbeck committee papers. Database integration with MySQL databases (including synching Zope acl_users with main BBK password file -- exUserFolder). Learning curve: becoming more confident with ZPT and Python / filesystem-based development.

8 Advanced content management Versioning in Zope (Portal Content Versioning System). Advanced workflows: multiple site editors and reviewers. More devolution of content management: cascading of training by content editors (mixed success!).

9 Challenges Zope performance: victims of our own success. Suddenly had to take performance issues much more seriously: caching, more robust code, multiple instances. Collage: proprietary CMS purchased for prospectus publishing 2006 onwards. Couldnt recreate document management capabilities at time in Zope (though could now in Plone): –Another third party system to get to grips with –Resource implications for Web Team –Two content management systems. Major part of our web presence provided by non-Zope system

10 Challenges [2] Some hostility towards Zope or maybe, centralised approach: –Some Schools (a minority) keen on retaining independence: against standard look and feel. –Fear of losing control over technical aspects of site (mainly larger Schools with own IT departments). Largely positive response, but some negatives – mainly from more technically advanced users. Negotiation / persuasion needed!

11 Moving forward Limitations of current Zope environment becoming more apparent. Zope version in need of updating. Zope CMS developments focusing on Plone. Currently: moving to Plone. Current set up: Plone / Zope / Zeo. Legacy Zopes for older sites.

12 The future Aiming for: roll-out of Plone sites with minimum overheads (as with old Zope sites). Address skinning issues. Address performance problems: –Tune Zeo –Multiple servers? –Squid for caching –Pound for load balancing? Migration strategy: old Zope sites to migrate into Plone (when due for review, e.g. when c. 3-4 years old).


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