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An alternate atreferencebrowser implementation

Project description


This is an alternate implementation of the ATReferenceBrowserWidget. It provides a widget used for Archetypes reference-fields. The widget can be used on its own or as a dropin replacement of the ATReferenceBrowserWidget.

Change history


0.8.1 - 06.11.2008

  • Fix ‘Remove reference’ when multiValued is a boolean instead of an int. [fschulze]
  • fixed popup for folderish objects [tom_gross]
  • show order arrows now for one entry only too [tom_gross]
  • popup now has a body-tag cssid: atrefbrowserpopup (#8702) [tom_gross]
  • added tests for plone tickets #8347, #7608, #7965 [tom_gross]
  • fixed plone ticket #7557 [tom_gross]

0.8 - 06.10.2008

  • Initial release
  • Forked Products.ATReferenceBrowserWidget
  • moved popup and scripts to z3-style views
  • use catalog-only implementation for displaying items in popup
  • added some tests
  • use namedtemplate-adapter for popup-template

Detailed Documentation


The archetypes.referencebrowserwidget is a Plone/Archetype-widget for relation- fields. It adds a new reference widget that allows you to search or browse the portal when creating references. It can be used as a dropin-replacement for the default ATReferenceBrowserWidget or as a standalone widget.

To install it as a replacement just install the product via the quickinstaller. For using it as a standalone widget see the demotype in The widget tries to be ui-compatible with its predecessor ATReferenceBrowserWidget. You can use the same properties as for the standard ReferenceField and for the ATReferenceBrowserWidget.

When you use this widget, there are two buttons presented for each widget. One that opens a popup-window that let’s you do the search/browsing and one that let’s you clear the reference or selected references (will be in effect after the form’s Save).

The popop window basically consists of two parts. The top half is a search form and the bottom half is the browser/search results part. Both parts can be turned off or on using the widget’s properties.

The search part has additional configuration in the widget (see properties below).

The widget supports:

  • catalog-only query of popup-contents. This is massive! permformance win compared with ATReferenceBrowserWidget. Try accessing a folder with 10k+ objects with both widgets.
  • generic referencefield implementation via adapter. OOTB it supports Archetypes.ReferenceField and plonerelations.ATField.
  • overwrite the popup-template via namedtemplate-implementation
  • resizeable popup via simple properties
  • a good unittest and integrationtest coverage


The popup window can be configured using the following widget properties:

  • default_search_index: when a user searches in the popup, this index is used by default. It points to “SearchableText” by default.

  • show_indexes: in the popup, when set to True, a drop-down list is shown with the index to be used for searching. If set to False, default_search_index will be used.

  • size: in case of single-select widget, the default is set to 30. In case of multi-select, default is 8.

  • available_indexes: optional dictionary that lists all the indexes that can be used for searching. Format: {‘<catalog index>’:’<friendly name’>, … } The friendly name is what the end-users sees to make the indexes more sensible for him. If you do not use this property then all the indexes will be shown (I think nobody should allow this to happen!).

  • allow_search: shows the search section in the popup

  • allow_sorting: allows you change the order of referenced objects (requires multiValued=1)

  • allow_browse: shows the browse section in the popup

  • search_catalog: Catalog to use. Defaults to: portal_catalog

  • startup_directory: directory where the popup opens. Optional. When omitted, the current folder is used or in the case where a property refwidget_startupdirectories under site_properties is found it is searched for a startup_directory.

    Property is a lines field having the following format:


    path1 is the path where all widgets being under it set startup_directory to path2 if no startup_directory is set.

  • startup_directory_method: the name of a method or variable that, if available at the instance, will be used to obtain the path of the startup directory. If present, ‘startup_directory’ will be ignored.

  • restrict_browsing_to_startup_directory: allows you to restrict the breadcrumbs (‘allow_browse’ property) to contents inside the ‘startup_directory’ only. So you are not able to walk up in the hierarchy. (default: 0 = disabled)

  • image_portal_types: specify a list of image portal_types. Instances of these portal types are being previewed within the popup widget

  • image_method: specifies the name of a method that is added to the image URL to preview the image in a particular resolution (e.g. ‘mini’ for thumbnails)

  • show_review_state: allows you to display the workflow state for objects (off by default)

  • show_path: display the relative path (relative to the portal object) of referenced objects

  • only_for_review_states: items are only referencable if their workflow state matches the ones a specified (default: None = no filtering by workflow state)

  • history_length: enable a history feature that show the paths of the last N visited folders (default : 0 = no history)

  • force_close_on_insert: closes the popup when the user choses insert. This overrides the behavior in multiselect mode.

  • base_query: defines query terms that will apply to all searches, mainly useful to create specific restrictions when allow_browse=0. Can be either a dictonary with query parameters, or the name of a method or callable available in cotext that will return such a dictionary.

  • hide_inaccessible: don’t show inaccessible objects (no permission) in view mode.

  • show_results_without_query: Don’t ignore empty queries, but display results.

  • popup_width: Width of popup-window in pixel. Defaults to: 500

  • popup_height: height of popup-window in pixel. Defaults to: 550

  • popup_name: Name of template to be used for popup. To use another template you have to register a named adapter for this template. Like:


    for=”Products.Five.BrowserView” factory=”.view.default_popup_template” name=”popup” provides=”zope.formlib.namedtemplate.INamedTemplate” />

    See default implementation and unittests for examples.

Design notes

This notes were taken from the original ATReferenceBrowserWidget. Since I didn’t changed the ui, they are still valid (I think!?).

Both the templates (widget and popup) are prototypes. There are still some inline styles, especially in the popup because I didn’t want to tweak with plone’s css stuff and I didn’t want to do hacking and tricking to incorporate a stylesheet myself.So, that’s still a point of interest.

Furthermore I made some design decisions. Right now, in the popup window, all objects are shown (when browsing) and objects that may be referenced to are bold and the other objects are greyed out. I chose to show the non-referenceable objects too because they may be an important part of the context that help the user search for the desired objects to browse to. Another thing that I chose for is that in case of a multi-value widget, the popup remains open so that you can continue to add references without having to reopen the popup over and over again. Problem is that you have to close the window yourself. This may change if it turns out to be an annoyance.

A thing that is more related to forms in general is that the items in the multiselect listbox need to be selected before Save is clicked otherwise only the selected items are submitted. That kinda sucks usability-wise because now the user basically has to make two selections: first by choosing the items in the popup and secondly by selecting them again in the listbox. Right now I made it so that the items are selected by default but if the user starts clicking in the list, then there might be an issue. Btw, the inandout widget has the same problem. Best would be to select all the items in a script just before the form is submitted so that the complete list is submitted. But that requires changes in the base_edit form I think. But it’s something to think about since there are now already two widgets that needs to be prepared like this (inandout and this one, haven’t looked at picklist though, could have the same problem).

Anyway, have fun with it and if you have suggestions please let me know. If you see problems, please fix them when you can.



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