[Plone-UI] What is the Bare-ist of Templates

Veda Williams veda at onenw.org
Tue Dec 23 18:39:33 UTC 2008

Hi Bruce,

You ask a large question here. First off, yes, things have changed
dramatically between Plone 2.5 and Plone 3.0 in terms of the theming
process. The page templates you are accustomed to modifying to achieve
visual change have all moved out into an egg called plone.app.viewlets that
you can find in your buildout¹s eggs/ directory. There¹s also an egg called
plone.app.portlets and plone.app.content that may come in handy at some
point. Things like main_template and plone_templates like document_view,
folder_view, etc, can still be accessed the same old way in portal_skins.

The shift to viewlets for all other visual changes means that you have to
make a few decisions. If you¹re a serious themer, you¹re going to want to go
straight to filesystem development. If you¹re just dabbling, you might be
able to make do with making changes in the portal_view_customizations area.
It¹s sort of a half-baked space: you can make changes to the look and feel
of viewlets, but you can¹t change the behavior of the Python code that
creates the viewlets. It¹s also hard to productize stuff in
portal_view_customizations. If you need to move things to the filesystem,
you have to do it by hand, and a bunch of wiring up of components needs to

The wiring up is where things get a little dodgy. What it comes down to is
that the old stuff you¹re used to modifying (main_template, plone_templates)
go in your skins folder for your theme, and the new stuff generally all goes
in a different folder called browser/ and gets some special treatment.

The process is pretty well documented here, though a lot of the ³why²
doesn¹t get answered.

What¹s happened, ultimately, is that a process that makes things easier for
coders has been pushed onto themers, and so a lot of the benefit of this
change isn¹t seen by the average themer. I know this probably doesn¹t answer
all of your questions, but if you look at theming from the perspective of
thinking like a programmer instead of a CSS person, you¹re halfway there.

There¹s also a new book coming out which has a great chapter on theming. (I
helped write it with David Convent.) We just delivered all of the chapters
to the publisher about a week ago, and it is currently in pre-production.
You can pre-order it here:

Luckily, this is just a middle ground for us right now. Deliverance will be
making things easier moving forward and will abstract a lot away from the
noise of viewlets, viewlet managers, etc., but it¹s still helpful to
understand filesystem development for the long haul.

On 12/22/08 10:48 PM, "Bruce Deutsch" <brucend75 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Veda,
> That sounds exactly right.  Will give it a try and report back.
> At the same time, while I've got a moment of yours, would you mind elaborating
> on this area a bit?
> I started off a few years ago with early Plone (1 point something), then
> drifted away for awhile.  When I came back, I'm on Plone 3 and Zope is
> hovering between 2 and 3.
> I'm having trouble comprehending the new Big Picture when it comes to
> controlling the Display.  As an "old timer", I guess, I'm used to the template
> being the ultimate control-point.  The intervention of viewlets, and how they
> fit into a larger schema/philosophy along with the template --->>> that's what
> I'm missing in this New World.
> I'd really appreciate it if you could take a moment when you have a chance to
> share your take on that slice of the world.
> I dutifully read Andy McKay's bible back when.  This is one area (along with
> membership) that could use an updated bible.
> Thanks for you reply and would appreciate any further wisdom,
> Bruce Deutsch
> (And I'm open to Wisdom from the mailing list.)
> From: Veda Williams <veda at onenw.org>
> To: Bruce Deutsch <brucend75 at yahoo.com>; ui at lists.plone.org
> Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 10:10:33 AM
> Subject: Re: [Plone-UI] What is the Bare-ist of Templates
> Re: [Plone-UI] What is the Bare-ist of Templates I would just strip down
> document_view.pt <http://document_view.pt>  to include what you need, name it
> homepage_view.pt <http://homepage_view.pt> , and select that as the default
> view of your site¹s homepage. That¹s the easiest way to clean out any chaff
> you don¹t want. Then, just embed your .swf code into the homepage_view.pt, and
> you are good to go.
> Best,
> - Veda 
> On 12/22/08 3:35 AM, "Bruce Deutsch" <brucend75 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> I would like to have my sites default page exist as a simple html file simly
>> embedding an swf file.
>> How can I strip all of the non-essential template structure down to let me
>> accomplish?
>> Thanks!
>> Bruce Deutsch
>> _______________________________________________
>> UI mailing list
>> UI at lists.plone.org
>> http://lists.plone.org/mailman/listinfo/ui

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