What’s new in Zope 2.13

The article explains the new high-level features and changes found in this version of Zope 2.

You can have a look at the detailed change log to learn about all minor new features and bugs being solved in this release.

Python 2.7

This release of Zope 2 adds support for Python 2.7. Please refer to the What’s new in Python 2.7 document, if you want to know more about the changes.

Zope 2.13 is continuing to support Python 2.6.4 or any later maintenance release of it. There’s currently no support for any Python 3.x version. Work has begun in the Zope Toolkit to port some of the lower level packages to Python 3.

ZODB 3.10

This version of Zope includes ZODB 3.10 - a new major version of the ZODB. Among the notable changes are a variety of performance improvements. The ZEO server process is now multi-threaded. If the underlying file system and disk storage can handle concurrent disk I/O efficiently a throughput increase by a factor of up to four has been seen. On a related note using solid state disks for the ZEO server has a similar effect and can increase throughput by the same factor. Both of these effects combined can lead to an increase of up to sixteen times the throughput in high load scenarios.

File storage indexes use a new format, which is both smaller in size and can be read much faster. The repozo backup script now also backs up the index files in addition to the actual data, so in a restore scenario the index doesn’t have to be recreated. For large databases this can bring down the total downtime in a restore scenario by a significant amount of time.

The ZODB has added support for wrapper storages that transform pickle data. Applications for this include compression and encryption. A storage using standard zlib compression is available as a new package called zc.zlibstorage. In content management scenarios where strings constitute the most of the non-blob data, this can reduce the Data.fs size by a factor of two or more. The overhead of compressing and uncompressing is negligible. This saves both network I/O and disk space. More importantly the database has better chances of fitting into the operating systems disk cache and thus into memory. The second advantage is less important when using solid state disks.

Databases now warn when committing very large records (> 16MB). This is to try to warn people of likely design mistakes. There is a new option (large_record_size/large-record-size) to control the record size at which the warning is issued. This should help developers to better understand the storage implications of their code, which has been rather transparent so far.

The mkzeoinst script has been moved to a separate project zope.mkzeoinstance and is no-longer included with ZODB. You will need to use this new package to set up ZEO servers or use the plone.recipe.zeoserver recipe if you use buildout.

More information can be found in the detailed change log.

WSGI

This Zope release comes with native WSGI support. First pioneered in the repoze.zope2 project, this capability finally found its way back into the core and obsoletes the externally managed project. With WSGI Zope 2 can natively talk to a variety of web servers and isn’t restricted to its own ZServer anymore. It also opens up new possibilities for writing or reusing middleware in Zope 2 or factoring out capabilities into WSGI endware. It’s expected that this new deployment model will over time become the default and the old ZServer implementation will be deprecated. There’s no concrete timeline for this yet.

NOTE: There’s no setup documentation nor streamlined instance creation logic for a WSGI setup yet. You are expected to know exactly what you are doing if you are trying to use this feature.

Due to the way logic is split out into WSGI middleware, some of the ZPublisher.pubevents aren’t emitted by the WSGI publisher. These are: PubSuccess, PubFailure, PubBeforeCommit and PubBeforeAbort.

Zope Toolkit

Zope 2.13 has neither direct nor indirect zope.app.* dependencies anymore. This finishes the transition from the hybrid Zope 2 + 3 codebase. Zope 3 itself has been split up into two projects, the underlying Zope Toolkit consisting of foundation libraries and the application server part. The application server part has been renamed BlueBream. Zope 2 only depends and ships with the Zope Toolkit now.

Large parts of code inside Zope 2 and specifically Products.Five have been refactored to match this new reality. The goal is to finally remove the Five integration layer and make the Zope Toolkit a normal integral part of Zope 2.

ZCatalog

The ZCatalog and the default set of indexes as found in the PluginIndexes package have seen a large number of changes. Most of these have been pioneered in add-on packages in the Zope community over the last years and now have found their way back into the core. The largest change is added query plan support for the catalog. A standard feature in all relation databases, the job of a query plan is to monitor queries in a live system and based on execution metrics devise optimized plans for executing the low level instructions which lead to a query result. In sites with large number of indexed objects this can make a tremendous difference and significantly speed up all queries.

The query plan support is completely transparent to all users, though ways exist for developers to predefine it and store it across server restarts. The plan itself can be introspected in a tab in the ZMI. There’s also a new ZMI tab to report slow catalog queries which can help developers to tune the remaining slow queries in their applications.

In addition to these larger changes there’s been a high number of smaller changes to the search logic and the catalog implementations. All of these should result in better query execution and reduced number of conflict error potential.

Refactoring

There’s an ongoing effort to refactor Zope 2 into more independent modularized distributions. Zope 2.12 has already seen a lot of this, with the use of zope.* packages as individual distributions and the extraction of packages like Acquisition, DateTime or tempstorage to name a few. Zope 2.13 continues this trend and has moved all packages containing C extensions to external distributions. Among those are AccessControl, DocumentTemplate and Products.ZCTextIndex.

Optional Formlib support

Zope 2 made a number of frameworks available through its integration layer Products.Five. Among these has been direct support for an automated form generation framework called zope.formlib with its accompanying widget library zope.app.form.

This form generation framework has seen only minor adoption throughout the Zope community and more popular alternatives like z3c.form exist. To reflect this status Zope 2 no longer directly contains formlib support.

If you rely on formlib, you need to add a dependency to the new five.formlib distribution and change all related imports pointing to Products.Five.form or Products.Five.formlib to point to the new package instead.

In order to ease the transition, five.formlib has been backported to the 2.12 release series. Starting in 2.12.3 you can already use the new five.formlib package, but backwards compatibility imports are left in place in Products.Five. This allows you to easily adapt your packages to work with both 2.12 and 2.13.

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