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

David Little david at littled.net
Thu Sep 18 08:34:18 UTC 2008


Just to add that if you're not too put off by the initial complexities
of Plone theming, then it's definitely worth checking out Anne
Bowtell's Plone theming guide on Plone.org:


It's pretty big but it's a reference more than a tutorial.

As for tables: in the theme I'm working on at the moment, I just
customised the main_template file and replaced the table statements
with <div>s. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't do this and I
wouldn't be put off my those developers who tell you not to change
main_template (if Joel Burton and Alex Limi say it's alright, then
that's fine by me).

Finally, if the Plone site you have to work on follows the basic
layout of "out of the box" Plone you could just add your own styles in
ploneCustom.css, although as already suggested, there's only so far
you'll be able to get with this approach.

Best wishes,

2008/9/17 Veda Williams <veda at onenw.org>:
> 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 of Plone (Definitive Guide to Plone -- outdated, but conceptually good) to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:
> http://plone.org/documentation/tutorial/customizing-main-template-viewlets
> 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
> money.
> 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
> succeeding:
> http://plone.org/documentation/tutorial/buildout
> http://plone.org/documentation/tutorial/customizing-main-template-viewlets
> - 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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David Little

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