What is Plone? – Mastering Plone 5 development

What is Plone?#

Plone is an open source Content Management System (CMS) built in Python.

  • Open-Source Enterprise-CMS

  • Written in Python

  • Plone 5.1 and below support Python 2.7

  • Plone 5.2 and later support Python 3.8, 3.7, 3.6 and 2.7

  • RESTful hypermedia API

  • Based on the Web-Framework Zope

  • Database: "Zope Object Database" (ZODB) or ORM & SQL/Postgres/Oracle

  • Runs on Linux, Mac OS, BSD, Solaris, NixOS and Windows

Plone has a multitude of powerful features, is easily accessible to editors but also fun for programmers.

  • Workflow-driven, collaborative management of content

  • Industrial Strength Security and Access-Control

  • Limitless Extensibility


The modular and open component architecture of Plone allows you to change or extend Plone in every respect!

Core concepts#


  • Plone uses Traversal (portal/folder/document) instead of Routing

  • Python objects in a object tree that looks like a huge nested dictionary:

{'site': {'folder': {'page': page_object}}}
  • Objects can be accessed like walking through a file-system:

>>> from plone import api
>>> portal = api.portal.get()
>>> portal.keys()
['folder1', 'document1']
>>> portal['folder1']
<Folder at xxxx>

Object publishing#

Objects can be called and return a representation of itself - usually html.

>>> obj = portal['folder1']['a-newsitem']
>>> obj
<NewsItem at xxx>
>>> obj()
u'\n<!DOCTYPE html>\n\n<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml...'

Schema-driven content#

Plone comes with a list of pre-defined content-types.

Content types are defined in models/schemas. A schema can define fields to store data.

Values of these fields on instances of objects are attributes

>>> obj.title
u'A Newsitem'
>>> obj.description
u'Some description'
>>> obj.description = u'A new description'
>>> obj.description
u'A new description'
>>> obj.image
<plone.namedfile.file.NamedBlobImage object at 0x11634c320>
>>> obj.image.data

Objects can have multiple schemata. Additional schemata are called behaviors. They are meant to be used across types.

>>> from plone.dexterity.utils import iterSchemata
>>> [i for i in iterSchemata(self.context)]
[<InterfaceClass plone.dexterity.schema.generated.Plone_0_News_1_Item>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.dexterity.behaviors.metadata.IDublinCore>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.contenttypes.behaviors.richtext.IRichText>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.dexterity.behaviors.discussion.IAllowDiscussion>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.dexterity.behaviors.id.IShortName>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.dexterity.behaviors.exclfromnav.IExcludeFromNavigation>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.relationfield.behavior.IRelatedItems>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.contenttypes.behaviors.leadimage.ILeadImage>,
 <SchemaClass plone.app.versioningbehavior.behaviors.IVersionable>]

Each schema can define fields

>>> from plone.dexterity.utils import iterSchemata
>>> from zope.schema import getFieldsInOrder
>>> [getFieldsInOrder(schema) for schema in iterSchemata(obj)]
 [('title', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object at 0x114f1e790>),
  ('description', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.Text object at 0x114f1e7d0>),
  ('subjects', <zope.schema._field.Tuple object at 0x114f1e990>),
  ('language', <zope.schema._field.Choice object at 0x114f1ea10>),
  ('effective', <zope.schema._field.Datetime object at 0x114f1eb90>),
  ('expires', <zope.schema._field.Datetime object at 0x114f1ec10>),
  ('creators', <zope.schema._field.Tuple object at 0x114e09750>),
  ('contributors', <zope.schema._field.Tuple object at 0x114f1ef10>),
  ('rights', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.Text object at 0x114f1efd0>)],
 [('text', <plone.app.textfield.RichText object at 0x115215810>)],
 [('allow_discussion', <zope.schema._field.Choice object at 0x11553c590>)],
 [('id', <zope.schema._field.ASCIILine object at 0x11553cc50>)],
 [('exclude_from_nav', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.Bool object at 0x11552f090>)],
 [('relatedItems', <z3c.relationfield.schema.RelationList object at 0x11556c710>)],
 [('image', <plone.namedfile.field.NamedBlobImage object at 0x114b2a750>),
  ('image_caption', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object at 0x114b2a410>)],
 [('changeNote', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object at 0x11599b350>),
  ('versioning_enabled', <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.Bool object at 0x11599b410>)]]

Plone creates forms from these schemata to add and edit content.

Component Architecture#

  • Plone logic is wired together by a component architecture.

  • A pluggable system of interfaces, adapters, utilities, events and registries.

  • ZCA: A Python framework for supporting component based design and programming

  • zope.interface

  • zope.event

  • zope.component

Written by smart people:

  • Jim Fulton

  • Stephan Richter

  • Philipp von Weitershausen

  • Guido van Rossum

  • Tres Seaver

  • Phillip J Eby

  • Martijn Faassen

  • ...

See also