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Mike Cullerton

Sep 14, 2012

Plone Hello World Tutorial

by Mike Cullerton — last modified Sep 14, 2012 01:25 AM

A simple introduction to Plone development.

About a month ago, there was a bit of a ruckus on twitter about the state of Plone and documentation and what not.


There was a specific request for a Hello World type tutorial introducing Plone development. After talking with Mikko and others on IRC, I put some ideas together and released a first attempt a few days later.

Over the last few weeks, I've put time into adding more sections, reorganizing the layout, and general cleanup. Tonight, I pushed those changes to the developer manual at


At this point it's starting to take shape. There are holes in it, and things I'd like to clean up, but it's a good start.

I'd like to get some feedback. What do folks think? What is missing? Are there any errors?  Really, anything helpful is appreciated.

You can comment here, or reach me @cullerton on twitter.



Sep 13, 2010

Adding a Zope 3 permission to Plone

by Mike Cullerton — last modified Sep 13, 2010 04:15 PM

We recently migrated a Plone 2 site to Plone 3. This site had more than a hundred skins files. While migrating one of them to a Zope 3 browser view, we needed a new permission to protect the view, and at first it wasn't apparent how to do it. But, of course, it ended up as easy as 1-2-3.

Quick Overview

We recently migrated a Plone 2.1 site to Plone 3.3. While moving a skins file to a browser view, we needed a new permission to protect the browser view. Browser views need a named Zope 3 style permission, so the old Zope 2 style permission wouldn't work. It ended up taking 3 steps; declare the permission in zcml, assign the permission to a role in rolemap.xml, and use the permission to protect your view.



Step 1: Declare the permission in ZCML

Most people declare the permissions in permissions.zcml and include that file in configure.zcml. But you can declare the permission in configure.zcml and just include permissions.zcml. Note that id is the zope 3 style identifier, and title is the zope 2 style identifier. The title shows up on the security tab in the ZMI.


       title="MyProduct: My New Permission"


Step 2: Assign the permission to a role

Assign the permission to a role in rolemap.xml. Here, I assign my new permission to the manager role.


    <permission name="MyProduct: My New Permission">
       <role name="Manager" />


Step 3: Protect your view with the new permission

In configure.zcml protect your view with the new permission. Here, I'm protecting the class MyClass in the file We chose to put the permissions from Step 1 into permissions.zcml, so we include it here. Note that the permission must be the same as the id in Step 1.


<include file="permissions.zcml" />


As usual, the community developer manual at was very helpful.

Jun 22, 2010

Injecting Plone variables into javascript

by Mike Cullerton — last modified Jun 22, 2010 09:00 AM

I needed access to Plone variables (specifically portal_url) from within javascript. So, I created a browser view and python script that outputs the necessary variables, and registered the view in jsregistry.xml. This turned out to be a rather simple solution.


Step 1: Create a class to output the javascript

I created a file in src/my.product/my/product/browser called and added a class GlobalJS with a __call__ method that returns a string containing the javascript. __call__ sets the content-type, creates the string containing the variable, and returns the string.

class GlobalJS(BrowserView):
    def __call__(self,REQUEST,RESPONSE):
        RESPONSE.setHeader('Content-Type', 'application/javascript')
        js_string = "var portal_url = '%s';" % (self.context.portal_url())
        return js_string


Step 2: Create a browser view pointing to the class

In src/my.product/my/product/browser/configure.zcml, I added a browser view pointing to GlobalJS, gave it a name, and added a permission. Note that the name of the file containing GlobalJS is



Step 3: Register the view in javascript registry

Here, I register the browser view in src/my.product/my/product/profiles/default/jsregistry.xml. I needed access to portal_url before jquery was loaded, so I added the insert-before property. Note that the id is the same as the name registered in the browser view.

    cacheable="True" compression="safe" cookable="True"
    enabled="True" expression=""  inline="True" insert-before="jquery.js"/>


Now, global_js.js is loaded on every page and I have access to portal_url from within javascript.

Hope this helps someone.

Jan 26, 2010

Overriding the Title tag in Plone 3

by Mike Cullerton — last modified Jan 26, 2010 12:20 PM

The default title for a Plone 3 site has the page title on the left and portal title on the right, separated by an em dash. I needed to change that for a project. This how-to describes a process for overriding the page title of a buildout based Plone 3 site.

Quick Overview

You need to override the plone.htmlhead.title viewlet and create a class to render your title. The default version of the viewlet is defined in [eggs]/plone/app/layout/configure.zcml, and the class is defined in You'll need a few more things from too. Override the viewlet in your own [theme]/browser/configure.zcml file, and add the location of your new class.

Getting Started

I needed to override a viewlet, but didn't know which one. A quick grep found a reference to the plone.htmlhead viewlet manager, and then one to the plone.htmlhead.title viewlet. Viewlets are found in the plone/app/layout/viewlets/configure.zcml file within the eggs area of your buildout. Here is the specific code in configure.zcml.


In this case, the plone.htmlhead.title viewlet references a class called .common.TitleViewlet. This means a file--in the same directory as configure.zcml, named contains a class named TitleViewlet. Here is the TitleViewlet code from

class TitleViewlet(ViewletBase):


def index(self):
portal_title = safe_unicode(self.portal_title())
page_title = safe_unicode(self.page_title())
if page_title == portal_title:
return u"<title>%s</title>" % (escape(portal_title))
return u"<title>%s &mdash; %s</title>" % (

In the index method at the bottom, Plone sets the value of the <title> tag.

If the page title and the portal title are the same, the portal title is used. If not, both are used, with page title on the left and portal title on the right.

We needed to switch it, so that portal title was on the left, and page title was on the right.

What we did

To override the title viewlet, I created an entry in my theme's browser/configure.zcml file.

<!-- Our custom title viewlet --> 

Notice that there is a new layer statement, and that the manager line includes the complete path to IHtmlHead. The class statement now points to our new class containing code to override the title.

Here is the code from

from zope.interface import implements
from zope.component import getMultiAdapter
from zope.viewlet.interfaces import IViewlet
from zope.deprecation.deprecation import deprecate

from Products.CMFPlone.utils import safe_unicode
from Products.Five.browser import BrowserView
from cgi import escape

from import ViewletBase

class TitleViewlet(ViewletBase):


def index(self):
portal_title = safe_unicode(self.portal_title())
page_title = safe_unicode(self.page_title())
if page_title == portal_title:
return u"<title>%s</title>" % (escape(portal_title))
return u"<title>%s | %s</title>" % (

I needed some of the imports from the top of, and added one of my own for ViewletBase. The only code that really changed is the else clause, where the order of portal_title and page_title are switched, and the em dash is replaced by a pipe (|).

A great reference for overriding the <title> tag is HTML Head Title page which is part of the Plone Theme Reference.

Sep 10, 2009

Installing plone 3 using paster

by Mike Cullerton — last modified Sep 10, 2009 05:30 PM
Filed Under:

A short how-to for installing plone 3 using paster

We build most of our sites using paster (versus using the Unified Installer). Here are some simple notes we had for doing that (more information on using paster with plone can be found in the Plone documentation):

This how-to assumes you have ZopeSkel installed.

  • Create a directory to house the plone installation.
mkdir /path/to/plone/install/directory
  • Use paster to install buildout files.
paster create -t plone3_buildout /path/to/plone/install/directory
  • Change your working directory to the new zope install.
cd /path/to/zope/install/directory
  • Bootstrap the system.
  • Run buildout.
  • That's it.  Now, just start zope/plone.
./bin/instance start
  • Or run in it the foreground (and in debug mode).
./bin/instance fg
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