[Plone-UI] How easy is it to customise Plone, really?

Veda Williams veda at onenw.org
Wed Sep 17 18:31:20 UTC 2008

I think that you need to be savvy, but you don't need to be a programmer.
You won't get far just using CSS to skin Plone, though. You also need to be
able to move stuff around, which requires understanding some fairly dense
concepts and some light programming.

If you really want this project, you will need to read up on the background
of Plone (Definitive Guide to Plone -- outdated, but conceptually good) to
understand how skin layers, acquisition, and TAL templating work.

After that, you'll need to get your head wrapped around the idea of Zope 3
components (Martin Aspeli's book will come in handy here). Don't get too
hung up here: A lot of theming comes down to knowing where stuff is and
understanding where to put it.

You'll also need these two tutorials:

Create a Theme Product: http://plone.org/documentation/how-to/use-paster

Move Stuff Around: 

Since you say that you are not a Plone programmer, you have to make a
decision as to whether you're willing to make the time investment to learn
Plone. I'm not sure I would bother learning all of this for just one
project. This isn't like building sites with Dreamweaver, but it's
incredibly rewarding. I wouldn't go back to Dreamweaver for any amount of

If you show us what you have in mind, we can give you an idea of what will
be difficult. If you have a lot of stuff happening in the center of the page
-- which amounts to custom templating -- that will increase the difficulty.
If it's not too complex, we can probably walk you through the steps if you
need help.

In the meantime, my suggestion is that if you can read these two tutorials
and it doesn't scare the hell out of you, you've got a good chance of


- Veda 

On 9/17/08 11:04 AM, "diegorubert" <diegorubert at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Depends on what level of customization do you wants...
> Simple to low-medium customizations or most of visual changes can be made
> only with css, but heavy (me, for example) you need at least algorithms
> knowledge...
> Katya wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I'm about to quote for a job which uses Plone so will need to get to grips
>> with it on some level. Now I'm a designer, absolutely nothing techie about
>> me - XHTML and CSS, yes, programming languages definitely not.
>> Can anyone tell me how easy it is for a non-techie to customise Plone? I
>> have read a couple of articles which suggest that with no programming
>> experience you are better off using the default XHTML template and simply
>> editing the CSS. Is this true?

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