This article originally appeared at:
by David Penn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Digital Creations announces increased operability between its open
source application server and Microsoft's open standards platforms.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Together.
Zope, one of the leading open-source application servers for content
management and portals, will soon support two network protocols heavily
supported by Microsoft, the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and the
Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) protocol. Digital Creations,
developers of Zope and leaders in open-source web development, have
announced that this enhanced support will be available in the upcoming
version of Zope, due out in early 2000.
Said Paul Everitt, CEO of Digital Creations, "Our customers and
community gain tremendously when Zope and Microsoft applications
communicate in a rich way. We are pleased to aggressively support these
open standards that Microsoft has taken the lead on."
Application service is one of the most vital areas in the Internet
industry--and one of the areas in which many software vendors are looking
toward in hopes of finding new, more efficient and profitable avenues to
provide services to customers. E-commerce in particular is one of the
industries most interested in the new technology.
Said John Montgomery, product manager in Microsoft's Developer
Division, "To build integrated e-commerce applications you must be
able to connect different Web services together easily and quickly using
Internet standards such as HTTP and XML ... support for SOAP and WebDAV
in Zope will help organizations integrate a truly diverse set of
applications and services."
What is compelling about Zope's support of SOAP and WebDAV is not just
the stimulation it provides to Microsoft's open standard protocols (as
opposed to encouraging further development of closed ones), but also the
visibility it brings to open-source solutions in the world of application
service. Beyond application service, as many who work with Zope are quick
to point out, Zope's strength lies in application development,
particularly as a tool for web content managers, developers, and information
architects to produce and work with dynamic, powerful, highly functional
Attempts to provide familiar productivity applications such as office
suites over the Internet have met with mixed results so far. As Michael
Caton noted recently in PC Week, the unreliable nature of
Internet connection and availability are only a few of the hurdles
application service providers will have to clear before widespread
acceptance of the latest new Internet paradigm will be considered
However, web-based application development is another story altogether.
As hinted in a recent IT-Director piece, the same factors that make
open-source development methods difficult for traditional application
development may be especially suited for collaborative open-source
application development. These factors, especially the web
infrastructure to make things like version control, source warehousing and
build/test environments work efficiently, are only now coming fully of
age. From the efforts of organizations like Cosource and the
to-be-announced "SourceForge" repository to be established by VA
Linux Systems (a web-based repository of the "DNA" for more than
220 open-source projects) to Zope's support of valuable open standard
protocols (however proprietary the company who develops them may be), this
new paradigm in web-based development--spearheaded by the open-source
community--can only help the emerging ASP industry to create truly
innovative, value-added web applications that will find true adherents in
the enterprise and among everyday individual users.
SOAP is a remote procedure call standard based on HTTP and XML, two
major standards managed by the World Wide Web Consortium. SOAP allows a
program running on one machine to have basic, structured interactions with
a program running on another machine. The Web Distributed Authoring and
Versioning (WebDAV) protocol is a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol
for team editing on the Web. While Microsoft was the first to market with
WebDAV authoring software in Internet Explorer 5 and Office 2000, Zope was
the first application server to provide WebDAV support.
Zope, which runs on
nearly all UNIX platforms and works well with Linux and Windows NT, can be
used with most popular web servers or its own built-in web server. It is
an open-source application server especially designed for developing
high-performance, dynamic web pages. Zope is available free from their own web site.
Copyright (c) 1999 Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc.