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The Underlying Zope Platform

To understand why ERP5 is said to be document-driven, it is necessary first to understand how Zope and its Content Management Framework (CMF) work. Zope was originally developed as a web content management environment that provides a series of services to manage the life cycle of web documents. With time, people started to note that it can be also used to implement any kind of web-based application.

In keeping with Zope's web content focus, its CMF is a framework that aims to speed the development of applications based on content types. It provides a series of services associated to these types, such as workflow, searching, security, design, and testing. From Zope, CMF inherits access to the ZODB (Zope Object Database), which provides transactions and undo functionality.

CMF implements the structural part of applications through CMF Types, maintained by the portal_types service, which is in turn a kind of registry tool for the recognized types of a given portal. The visible part of a portal type is a document that represents it. To implement behavior, portal types have actions associated with them, composing a workflow, which in turn is the implementation of a business process. An action on a document changes its state and is implemented by a Python script that realizes some business logic; for instance, calculating the total cost of an order. Given this framework, when developing an application in ERP5, we have to think in terms of documents that hold ...

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