Definitely - competition for Python is a good thing. I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing about it, but Rails is of course a recent (loud) example. And it's already sprung up a challenger in Python (Subway). I think it clearly raised the bar in terms of overall "polish", and while often reaching hyperbole, shows the buzz you can get by extensive promotion and attention to detail (docs don't hurt!).
A difference I've noted though as a "consumer" of web frameworks (I'm no genius) is that Rails was very actively promoted - I've not seen any python web framework promoted anywhere near as much (and I don't mean claims of "10x faster"). Zope and Plone are quite well known, but holy learning curve. They almost make J2EE look simple. And Rails was very much designed - after being mostly built on the fly assembling Basecamp - to be packaged and presented as something you should use , whereas most python projects strike me as this works well for us, try it, if you like it great. if not, 'roll your own, it's easy. Or all python devs are so busy they have no time to polish and publicly release/evangelize. Of course I'm broadly generalizing, but I think the broad point is valid... I just often get the sense in pythonspace of "well we know it kicks ass, if you're ignorant enough to not realize it, that's your problem". And that attitude is rarely explicit - it's more often evident in responses to newbies and lack of docs and so on.
I hope this is taken as constructive criticism, 'cause that's how it's meant. I fear sometimes all you guys who write the guts of python and the serious libs are sometimes not aware of the view from the cheap seats (newcomers).
>. Zope and Plone are quite well known, but holy learning curve.
I know this is off topic but one thing I don't get is why people always say the Zope has a huge learning curve. I have never seen a framework that didn't have a learning curve, but comparing zope to J2EE (oh an whatever App server you also need to run your J2EE solution) is being way to unfair on zope. (Have you ever had to set up a tomcat/apache/J2EE/oracle environment, just so you can do some basic persistent web app ;-)
With zope you can be very productive very quickly. The more you use it the more you learn and the greater the sophistication of what you can then do. But you don't have to get into the bowels from day one.# TIm
Maybe it's the lack of docs. Last time I looked at least. And the near-requirement to setup Squid for any reasonable speed. The big long paper the Quixote guys at MEMS wrote (about why they developed Quixote rather than using Zope) addresses it far better than I ever could.
And getting a java servlet container up and running these days isn't so bad at all. Dropping jar's in is nice too.