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A through-the-web form generator for Plone

Project description

Product home is . A documentation area and issue tracker are available at this location.

Please use the Plone users’ mailing list or the #plone irc channel for support requests. If you are unable to get your questions answered there, or are interested in helping develop the product, contact Steve McMahon:


This product provides a generic Plone form generator using fields, widgets and validators from Archetypes. Use it to build simple, one-of-a-kind, web forms that save or mail form input.

To build a web form, create a form folder, then add form fields as contents. Individual fields can display and validate themselves for testing purposes. The form folder creates a form from all the contained field content objects.

Final disposition of form input is handled via plug-in action products. Action adapters included with this release include a mailer, a save-data adapter that saves input in tab-separated format for later download, and a custom-script adapter that makes it possible to script simple actions without recourse to the Zope Management Interface.

To make it easy to get started, newly created form folders are pre-populated to act as a simple e-mail response form.


Requires PythonField, TALESField and TemplateFields from Jens W. Klein’s ScriptableFields bundle: (automatically loaded if you use buildout or easy_install).

Five, version 1.2 or later. If you have an earlier version of Five and do not wish to upgrade Five, see the note on this in the Installation section below.

Encryption of e-mail requires the Gnu Privacy Guard, GnuPG, also known as gpg. See README_GPG.txt for details.



Just add Products.PloneFormGen to the eggs section of your buildout configuration and run buildout.

Traditional Zope Product

Typical for a Zope/Plone product:

  • Install dependencies.
  • Download a tarball from
  • Unpack the product package into the Products folder of the Zope/Plone instance. Check your ownership and permissions.
  • IF YOU ARE USING FIVE version less than 1.2 (common with Zope 2.8.x / Plone 2.1.x), delete or rename “configure.zcml”. Otherwise, you will experience a variety of problems (e.g., missing component) in portal operation. (Note that it’s also an option to upgrade your version of Five to version 1.2.)

Either Method Final Steps

  • Restart Zope.
  • Go to the Site Setup page in the Plone interface and click on the Add/Remove Products link. Choose PloneFormGen (check its checkbox) and click the Install button. If PloneFormGen is not available on the Add/Remove Products list, it usually means that the product did not load due to missing prerequisites.
  • If necessary, use the PloneFormGen configlet in the “Add-on Product Configuration” section of Site Setup to customize the product for your site.


Site managers may control the visibility and availability of many PloneFormGen functions by changing permissions for user roles. A control panel configlet controls role/permission associations for the portal root. For an explanation of how PloneFormGen permissions map to form folder and form field fields, see improvement proposal #3, Provide ways to hide advanced options from classes of users: .


As shipped, only managers may use TALES expressions to override defaults and validators. You may wish to add additional roles, but keep in mind that this is a potential security risk; it basically gives the same powers as scripting or skin editing.

Known Problems

The “max length” setting for text fields causes problems with all versions of Plone except 2.5.3. While the field works, every keystroke will cause javascript errors. The problem is due to various, mutating integration problems between Archetypes, the i18n machinery, and KSS.

Rationale For This Product

  • Plone needs a general-purpose form generator that may be used for mail forms, RDBMS database interactions and other functions that don’t require the Archetypes’ persistence machinery;
  • Designing a form using such a form generator should not require a) work on the file system, b) creation of new content types, c) use of the ZMI (except for scripting field population or custom validation). [PloneFormMailer is an outstanding, useful product, that suffers only for its reliance on the ZMI/Formulator for design.]
  • Archetypes, in conjunction with the CMF Form Controller, has a form generator built-in. Ideally, it should be possible to repurpose the Archetypes widgets and validators (which were evidently intended to be generally useful) for a more general-purpose form generator.


Archetypes has been ruthlessly mined for concepts and functionality. The base view and edit macro templates are very slightly modified versions of Archetype’s base_edit and edit_macros.

Form and field icons are scavenged from Martijn Faassen’s Formulator, and were edited only to add transparency to make them look a bit better on the add items menu.

The mail adapter is basically a tailored version of PloneFormMailer, minus the Formulator adapter machinery. Thanks to PloneFormMailer’s authors, Jens Klein and Reinout van Rees.

Pierre-Yves Landure provided tremendous help with the i18n machinery. Sebastien Douche and Pierre-Yves Landure provided the French translation.

Martin Aspeli’s RichDocument has provided an invaluable reference, particularly in how to handle installation and testing issues.

Martin Aspeli, Wichert Akkerman, Eric Steele, Jens Klein and Reinout van Rees all provided valuable early feedback.

Titus Anderson provided the base code for the Ratings-Scale Field. Andreas Jung contributed the record-editing feature for the Save Data adapter.

See the CHANGES.txt file for the very long list of people who helped with particular features or bugs.


Distributed under the GPL.

See LICENSE.txt and LICENSE.GPL for details.

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