This week a bunch of us (myself, Christian Theune, Wolfgang Schnerring, Brandon Rhodes, Jan-Wijbrand Kolman and Sylvain Viollon) have been sprinting in my house at the "Grok Cave sprint". We've been working on cleaning up Zope 3's dependency structure, which in places is very hairy. This meant that you could often pull in one fairly innocent looking Zope 3 package and as a result pull in almost all of them. This makes it difficult to reuse packages and upgrade code. Loosely coupled code and all that.
See also Mark Ramm's talk at the Django Conference about why having a sane physical dependency structure between packages is a good thing.
One major part of this dependency reduction project has involved extracting a new package zope.container out of zope.app.container . Another part involved reversing the dependency relationship between zope.traversing and zope.location [UPDATE: I mistyped zope.security instead of zope.traversing here previously]. We've also started extracting zope.site from zope.app.component and moved some code from zope.app.security and zope.app.component into zope.security. In addition we created two new tools (z3c.recipe.compattest and an addition to the Zope test runner) to help us keep track of things. We've also made a lot of use of an existing tool to track dependencies between packages called tl.eggdeps.
That's all gobbledygook to most people. So here are the before and the after pictures (of the zope.container and zope.location/zope.traversing work in particular).
Here is the before, the dependency graph of zope.app.container (with core packages zope.interface and setuptools excluded as they don't depend on anything and clutter up the graph):
And here is the after, zope.container, which can be used instead of zope.app.container almost everywhere (and zope.app.container in fact uses it too), again with zope.interface and setuptools not shown:
We believe this is significant progress! It's still a lot of packages of course, but we can at least motivate the existence of a dependency relationship on them in most cases.
All this work is far from done. It's been a lot of work to get this far. There are still many dependencies more to clean up. It will take more work after the sprint to get to a good dependency structure for the complete set of Zope 3 libraries. We're starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel now though.