Brain Dump #1

Marc Ernst Eddy van Woerkom <>
Thu Feb 6 14:10:17 CET 2003

>     I looked at the zope website and couldn't understand what it was all
>   about.

The last three years, I used ZWiki and Zope quite a lot.

For me it was mainly a  "Windows Explorer in a web browser".
So it allows to upload files, to create directories, to add user
permissions on some remote host, all from the web browser and
some stuff from Emacs.

Of course Zope can do more, like executing some DHTML stuff or 
perhaps executing extra python modules, but I did not touch that area.

I also had a look on the Python sources, but found them very hard
to understand (ok it is better than Perl in that regard).

An attempt to understand the Zope book was fruitless as well, so
I am happy to read that I am not the only one having difficulties
with the underlying system. :)

>    Why do we have separate worlds for managing content/instant messaging/
>   and non-instant messaging.

I guess it is a question of user interfaces.

Mail based user interfaces, where you could do things via email, like 
subscribing to a majordomo mailing list, were probably overtaken by web browser
based user interfaces because they were more expressive due to their graphics.
The success of instant messaging is probably due to the nice gui clients
that sit in a corner of the desktop.

>  I  want to  create *beautiful*  documents and  GUIs from  the *same*
>  layout abstractions 

Are you aware of the efforts to describe GUIs from an XML representation?

One approach is XUL, which is used in Mozilla. 
The idea has also been picked up to create Java GUIs:

> - I'm  thinking display postscript/PDF for documents
>  and GUIs - so  far I can create PDF *directly* from  XML and have been
>  playing with freetype to get nice anti-aliased fonts on the screen.

As far as I understand it, PDF is a cut down version of Postscript,
with some extra design features that make displaying pages while loading 
the document easier.
Display postscript was used on the NeXT, and its modern successor 
is Mac OS X with some PDF variant called Quartz, a system that even
uses OpenGL for fast rendering.
No idea though, how free stuff like Quartz is, perhaps it is not
possible to do a free implementation.

>     (( interestingly  Hermann Zapf -  the typographer who  invented Zapf
>   Dingbats and  Palantino suggested many  typographic improvements which
>   seem never  to have been implemented  :-) - so there  is definite room
>   for improvement here -  all I have to do is add  HZ optimizations to my
>   layout engine :-))

BTW Knuth has written a nice book titled "Digital Typography" where he describes
his work on TeX and his work with Zapf.

>  2) writing PDF output driver - I have just made a quick and dirty
>   driver - this needs more work

What version? :)
That stuff is constantly progressing, I guess it is at 1.4 now.


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