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CompositePack product

Project description

CompositePack is a product that allows the Plone Manager to build composite pages by manually aggregating archetype content from his site.

Composition of content is made through a pseudo WYSIWYG user interface : the design view. A composite page has a layout which defines its structure. Composite elements are displayed through viewlets.

Both layouts and viewlets are acquired from the skin, which implies they are customizable.

Layouts and viewlets are registered through the composite_tool in ZMI (see below how to register them).

Plone versions supported


Products required

CompositePage 1.0

Design view

The design view supports Firefox, Mozilla and IE6. The design view allows the user to manipulate the composite elements : add, move, delete or change their properties.

The design view allows you to add pieces of content to the slots defined in the layout. In a slot, each location where a composite element can be added displays a menu labeled ‘add item’. When you click it, you get options : ‘Content’, ‘Title’ and ‘HTML’. You choose ‘Content’ to select existing content from your Plone site. You choose ‘Title’ or ‘HTML’ to add decorating content specific to the instance (see details below).

When choosing ‘Content’, you get a popup window wherein you can select the piece of content that you want to add to this slot. This window is a kupu drawer. It only shows instance of “composable” portal types (see below for setting up composables). You browse your site until you have found the piece of content you want to display. When you click the ‘ok’ button, the composite element is added to the composite page. It is displayed through its default viewlet. Another viewlet can be selected later (see below).

Once added, the composite element can be moved by drag and drop from one slot to another : drag and drop the icon associated with the composite element to one of the ‘add item’ bars.

Each composite element has its own ‘edit item’ menu. It has the following options : ‘Edit’, ‘Delete’ and ‘Select viewlet’.

‘Edit’ sends you to the edit screen of the content pointed at by the element.

‘Delete’ removes the composite element (not the associated content).

‘Select viewlet’ lists the available viewlets registered for the content type of the composite element. Choose one of them to get your content displayed differently.


A layout is a template that defines the display view. Similar to the template of a normal view, a layout includes structural HTML and data from the composite instance. It also includes slots. Slots define the places where content can be added. The slots are named.

Layouts needs to be registered for composite content types. This happens through the composite tool.

At instantiation time, a layout is setup on a composite instance : the layout registered as default for the content type.

Another layout can be chosen later if needed. This is done through the layout menu of the design view. The menu proposes the layouts registered for the content type.

When changing the layout, if the old and new layouts share slot names, the content placed in a slot of a given name in the old layout will be shown in the corresponding slot of the new layout. Content items placed in slots of the old layout that do not have corresponding names in the new layout are hidden, not deleted. Switching back to a layout will show items in their original location. Hidden slots and composite elements (inaccessible through design view) can be deleted through ZMI.


Viewlets are templates (python scripts) that produce HTML excerpts. CompositePack does what is needed to get a normal development situation : the ‘here’ (or ‘context’) variables are bound correctly to the content item that is displayed through the viewlet.

Viewlets are mapped to content types : this allows to define different viewlets for different types (see below how to register viewlets). For instance, image content types have very specific needs different from the needs of most textual.


Titles are special composite elements which allows you to add some text when composing your page.

In the design view, select ‘add item’ then ‘Title’. You get a popup window with a prompt for the given title. This adds a new composite element displaying the title through its registered viewlet.

If you need to modify the title, access its data through the ‘Edit’ option of the ‘edit item’ menu.

HTML Fragments

Fragments are special composite elements which allow you to create arbitrary fragments of HTML when composing your page.

In the design view, select ‘add item’ then ‘HTML’. This will insert an empty fragment. Use the ‘Edit’ option of the ‘edit item’ menu to edit the contents of the fragment.

Setting up composables

  • Go to the “composite_tool” in Plone root (i.e. in manage),

  • Go to the “Composables” tab,

  • Select the content type you want to add in the Types list (types by control clicking),

  • Click Select button,

  • Refresh your browser cache before to get the new javascript needed by the kupu drawers.

Registering a viewlet

  • Create a page template (or python script) that returns an html excerpt,

  • Go to the “composite_tool” in Plone root (i.e. in manage),

  • Inside the composite tool, go to the “viewlets” folder and add a CompositePack Viewlet using the button at the top.

    The CompositePack Viewlet has three fields :

    • “Short Name” - (Id) as usual,

    • “Title” which is the string that will be displayed under the ‘select

      viewlet’ section of the ‘edit item’ menu,

    • “Skin Method” - the name of the Page Template file created earlier.

    Now the viewlet is registered, next it needs to be mapped to the content types it should be used for.

  • On the viewlet, go to ‘Composables’ tab

    (With some buggy versions of archetypes, you’ll need to go through the viewlets folder after the viewlet has been added.)

  • If the viewlet is to be used with all content types, select “(Default Setup)”.

  • If the viewlet is to be used for specific types only, select those in the types list box.

  • Click the Select button.

Setting up composites

  • Go to the “composite_tool” in Plone root (i.e. in manage),

  • Go to the “Composites” tab,

  • Select the type you want to add in the Types list (types by control clicking),

  • Click Select button,

Layouts can now be mapped for the type you registered.

Registering a layout

  • Create a page template which uses TALES slot expression (look at one of the existing layouts to understand it). The template should be based on plone main_template.

  • Go to the “composite_tool” in Plone root (i.e. in manage),

  • Inside the composite tool, go into the “layouts” folder and add a CompositePack Layout using the button at the top.

    The CompositePack Layout has three fields :

    • “Short Name” (Id) as usual,

    • “Title” which is the string that will be displayed in the dropdown widget for layout selection,

    • “Skin Method” - the name of the Page Template file created earlier.

  • On the viewlet, go to ‘Composites’ tab

    (With some buggy versions of archetypes, you’ll need to go through the viewlets folder after the viewlet has been added.)

  • Choose among the composites in the types list box which types the layout should be used with.

  • Click the Select button.

GenericSetup extension profile

Plone uses GenericSetup for site configuration. To learn more about GenericSetup please read the following documentation:

This means CompositePack can be configure completely throught xml configuration files. In the folder profiles/default you will find the base profile for the default configuration of the compositetool.

  • toolset.xml : Adds the composite_tool to the plone site when running all import steps.

  • types.xml : Adds the content types that come with CompositePack

  • types/*.xml : A config file for each type

  • import_steps.xml : This registers the import method

  • export_steps.xml : This registers the export method.

  • compositetool.xml : This is the xml representation of all viewlets, layouts, composables and composites.

Customisation policy script

An alternative to customising the product through the web with the composite tool is to write a script to perform the customisations automatically. This ensures that your customisations are not lost if you reinstall or upgrade CompositePack.

If there is a script called ‘’ present in any skin folder when CompositePack is installed, it will be run automatically as part of the installation. A sample script called ‘’ is supplied in the compositepack skin folder. You may rename this and customise it to match your system.

1.2a1 (2011-04-30)

  • Fixed adding and renaming of CompositePack Viewlets and Layouts in the composite_tool. [hathawsh]

  • Fixed code that triggered deprecation warnings. [tseaver]

  • Rearranged imports in [tseaver]

  • Eggified. [hathawsh]

  • Made compatible with Plone 3 and CompositePage from Plone 3+ is now required. [hathawsh]

  • At the end of _initObjects update the kupu library, so composables are registered correctly there. [jladage,maurits]

  • Added the topic view to the profile, since that was already expected in the tests. All tests are passing again. [jladage]

  • Bugfix roundtrip import/export didn’t work correctly because of the use of different filenames. The export creates a composite_tool.xml and the import expected compositetool.xml. Thanks to Tres Seaver for reporting this bug and providing a patch. A deprecation warning will be logged in case compositetool.xml is still used in existing profiles [jladage]

  • Fix bug in reinstall which removed the composables from kupu. [ree]

  • Added compopack_template_azax layer to the skins which gets added in the correct order, in case azax is installed. [jslob]

  • Removed the ++resource++ code from the layout templates which were generating at least 4 404’s per request. [jladage]

  • Added ResourceRegistry config for all js and css. Moved the skins files to a few skindirs as done in the azax-ree branch. And off course add GenericSetup profiles for the js and css. [jladage]

  • Fixed the renaming issue by inheriting from BaseFolder and implement the INonStructuralFolder interface. [jladage and jorisslob]

  • Added GenericSetup base profile for configuring the composite_tool. You can now import and export the entire configuration in XML. [jladage and jorisslob]

  • changed to handle multiple users messing with the same navigation page. Some sanity checks were added and neat error messages will be sent to users when things go wrong [jslob and maurits]

  • fix css to do better layer handling (position: relative was elements to be rendered over the plone drop down menus) [jslob and mteulingen]

  • Play nice with Plone 2.1 by adding navigation page to the list of default page types in site_properties. [jladage]

  • set better layout and viewlet as default for navigation page [gotcha]

  • styling and i18n [gotcha]

  • setup portal factory and id calculated from title for Plone 2.1 [gotcha]

  • register cleanIndexes setup widget in portal_migration to remove wrongly indexed software. [gotcha]

  • fix indexing : software elements like layout registry, viewlet registry, layouts, viewlets, composite container and elements are not indexed anymore. [gotcha]

  • fix SearchableText at creation time [gotcha]

  • fix package so that it can load when ATContentTypes is not installed [gotcha]

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