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ForewordΒΆ

Fortunate.

As I reflect upon the BFG web framework and this book by Chris to document it, I keep coming back to the same word. Certainly the conventional wisdom is clear: “Don’t we have too many web frameworks, paired with outdated books?” Yes we do, but to the contrary and for that very reason, we are fortunate to have this book and this framework.

Chris McDonough first came to work with us at Digital Creations almost a decade ago, just after there existed a Zope. We were all pioneers: the first open source application server, one of the first open source web companies to get serious investment, and entrants in nearly every book and article about the open source space. Zope wasn’t just a unique business model, though. It really was, as quoted at the time, one of the places where open source delivered fresh ideas in design and architecture.

Then a decade happened. Bubbles burst and the new new thing became the old new thing, many times in succession. All of us changed jobs, worked on a variety of endeavors, and big dreams yielded to small realities. Somehow, though the trajectory was unforeseen, we have orbited back to the same spot. Older, wiser, but with similar ideas and familiar faces. Back to dream again.

We are fortunate to have BFG. It really does carve out a unique spot in the Python web frameworks landscape. It permits the core good ideas from Zope, while not requiring them. Moreover, the reason you’ll love it has less to do with Zope and more to do with the old fashioned stuff:

  • A superb commitment to outstanding and constantly updated documentation
  • An equal commitment to quality: test coverage, performance, and documented compatibility
  • Adult supervision and minimalism in the design, with “pay only for what you eat” simplicity

For those of us from the Zope world, BFG permits our still-unique ideas while teleporting us into the modern world of Python web programming. It is fascinating, liberating, and rejuvenating. We are able to cast off old sins and legitimately reclaim the title of best damn game in town. Quite a coup: whether you considered Zope but turned away, or became an adopter, you’ll find BFG the new new new thing.

We are also fortunate to have this book. We never had such a resource in Zope, even though we funded the writing of the first book a decade ago. In retrospect, the answer is obvious: a second group tried to retrofit a book onto code created by the first group. The true magic in BFG is that the top-notch documentation is written by the same person as the top-notch code, a person with equal passion and commitment to both. Rarely are we so fortunate.

Which brings us to the final point. We are fortunate to have Chris. I personally consider myself lucky to have worked with him and to be his friend this past decade. He has changed my thinking in numerous ways, fundamentally improving the way I view many things. He’s the best person I know in the world of open source, and I get to be in business with him. Fortunate indeed.

I very much hope you enjoy this book and get involved with BFG. We use it for applications as small as “hello world” demos up to scalable, re-usable, half-a-million-dollar projects. May you find BFG, and the book, to be a high-quality, honest, and durable framework choice for your work as well.

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