Today I went to the eZ International Winter Conference here in Barcelona. Mainly because it was local, free and I quite liked the last PHP conference I went to. The location was the old centre of commerce near the Estacion Francia. It is a beautiful location and I am glad I was able to see it from the inside once. The conference room was certainly fit for the G7 or signing of peace treaties. (I will try to find some pictures on flickr later).
I first have to say that I have not used eZ publish or the eZ components, but I have heard of both and was especially interested in the components.
At the company where I work we are currently looking for a new content management system. We are using typo3 for most of our projects and some are done in cakephp for the ease of development. Ideally we would like something which provides an easier way to develop, a CMS which can be used by our customers but has still enough features to be flexible.
The talk about the eZ components was very good and I like the bottom up approach to the MVC support. The talk was by Derick Rethans, who also did the xdebug talk at the php conference last year. There was also a good talk about the eZ Find extension, which allows full text search implemented with Solr.
The last talk focused on the future direction of eZ publish, especially version 5.0. This version will be a refactoring of version 4.x and they want to move to a more micro kernel with extensions approach instead of the monolithic one they have at the moment. This version should also use more of the eZ components and the MVC features. The 4.x branch will be maintained in parallel until version 5 is established.
To anyone who follows the typo3 development, this might sound familiar. typo3 also has a version 5 in the works, which is a complete rewrite (not refactored), uses a MVC framework, will be developed in parallel to the 4.x branch and nobody knows when it will be finished.
The difference is the development model. While typo3 is developed in the open by individuals from multiple companies or private individuals, eZ is produced in house by a business with a clear focus to make money. From what I have seen so far I like the eZ product more, because it is developed with a clear use case in mind and with the knowledge that you have to stay with your feet on the ground. typo3 tries to use every design pattern and development method on the planet, it seems to be more like a way for the developers to show their knowledge instead of thinking of the end user or developer.
Both CMS frameworks also make the mistake of reinventing the wheel. PHP already provides nice libraries for database abstraction, template systems and other things which are implemented again by both frameworks. eZ seems a bit better in this regard by just providing wrappers for existing libraries.
I will have a closer look at the eZ components and will suggest evaluating eZ publish in our company. So overall a success for eZ I would say.