Zope Witch Experiences
The witch (a RewriteRule generator for running Zope behind Apache) has been around for more than a month now on my site. Enough time to sum up some of my experiences, which are quite good. Problems could be mostly solved by properly copy and pasting the output into httpd.conf. Overall it is a good service that seems to be silently appreciated...
The witch is now more than a month on my site, it has proven to be found by people. Visitors for the witch come from Google (where the witch is now on the first page for "rewriterule generator"), from the ZopeWiki and from some links on mailing list archives and other pages. An interesting experience for me, especially watching as the witch climbed the Google ladder.
From the logs I can see that a lot of those visitors only look at the page, without trying out the form. Possibly the witch is not what they looked for (since it is Zope specific; a more generic RewriteRule generator is on the first place of the Google results, and rightly so). But a POST request here and there in the logs shows me that the witch is taken to good use too.
One of the reasons for creating the witch were the questions about setting up Apache in front of Zope on irc (#zope on freenode). I can't prove anything statistically, but I have the gut feeling that these questions have dwindled a bit. And even when people ask about RewriteRules, I can refer them to the witch, which answered the questions a couple of times already.
Some problems were encountered with the witch. For a developer there is always a risk of downplaying problems, so I was on my toes whenever I heard of "does not work for me" on IRC. As far as I can tell, all the problems I had been shown on IRC could be solved. Most of the problems could be traced back to not properly copy/pasting the RewriteRules:
- Sometimes a slash was omitted in this way,
- other times extra indentation was added (the lines continued after the backslash should not be indented)
- or even blank lines inserted.
- Other problems could be traced to other parts of the httpd.conf file, where other settings for example forbade access with a 403 code.
Maybe (likely?) I haven't heard from some people who had problems. The witch after all helps just with one little aspect of the Apache/Zope setup, even though it's one of the more obscure aspects. So if you had any trouble or know of someone who had trouble, I would be pleased to hear from you and how you might have solved the problem.
One expectation about the witch was not fulfilled. I was a bit afraid that I would be mailbombed with questions about Zope/Apache setup problems. But that kind of feedback has been totally absent. The positive feedback was slightly better, but still only barely visible. All in all providing such a service on my site has been a good experience.