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Beaker integration for Zope and Plone

Project Description

collective.beaker - Beaker integration for Zope 2 and Plone.

This package provides a means to configure the Beaker session management and caching framework for use within a Zope 2 (and Plone) environment.

Ordinarily, Beaker is configured using WSGI middleware. However, Zope 2 does not (yet) run WSGI by default (unless you use repoze.zope2). This package provides an alternative configuration syntax, based in zope.conf.


To use this package, you need to install it. Typically, you would do this via the install_requires line in your own package’s


You can also install it using the eggs line in buildout.cfg, e.g.:

eggs =

If you are on Zope 2.10 (e.g. for Plone 3), you will also need to install the ZPublisherEventsBackport package. You can get that as a dependency by depending in the [Zope2.10] extra, e.g.:

eggs =
    collective.beaker [Zope2.10]

If you are in Zope 2.12 or later, the relevant events are included by default, and you should not depend on ZPublisherEventsBackport or the [Zope2.10] extra.

Configuring Beaker

To configure Beaker, add a section to your zope.conf like this:

<product-config beaker>
    cache.type              file
    cache.data_dir          /tmp/cache/data
    cache.lock_dir          /tmp/cache/lock
    cache.regions           short, long
    cache.short.expire      60
    cache.long.expire       3600

    session.type            file
    session.data_dir        /tmp/sessions/data
    session.lock_dir        /tmp/sessions/lock
    session.key             beaker.session
    session.secret          secret

If you are using buildout and plone.recipe.zope2instance to generate your zope.conf, you can use the following option:

zope-conf-additional =
    <product-config beaker>
        cache.type              file
        cache.data_dir          ${buildout:directory}/var/cache/data
        cache.lock_dir          ${buildout:directory}/var/cache/lock
        cache.regions           short, long
        cache.short.expire      60
        cache.long.expire       3600

        session.type            file
        session.data_dir        ${buildout:directory}/var/sessions/data
        session.lock_dir        ${buildout:directory}/var/sessions/lock
        session.key             beaker.session
        session.secret          secret

Here, we have also used a buildout substitution to put the cache and session directories inside the buildout directory.

You also need to load the configuration for the collective.beaker package. This can be done with a ZCML line like this:

<include package="collective.beaker" />

This could be in your own configure.zcml, or in a ZCML slug. If you are using buildout and plone.recipe.zope2instance, you can install a slug by adding a zcml line like:

zcml =

The settings within the <product-config beaker> section are passed directly to Beaker. See the Beaker configuration documentation for more details about the available options.

Please note that:

  • All cache settings must be prefixed with cache.
  • All session settings must be prefixed with session.

For the session settings, the following defaults apply:

  • invalidate_corrupt=True, so corrupt sessions are invalidated
  • type=None and data_dir=None, thus defaulting to an in-memory session
  • - this is the cookie key
  • timeout=None, so sessions don’t time out
  • secret=None, so session cookies are not encrypted
  • log_file=None, so there is no logging

Using sessions

To obtain a Beaker session from a request, use the following pattern:

>>> from collective.beaker.interfaces import ISession
>>> session = ISession(request)

See the Beaker session documentation for details on the resultant session object. You can more or less treat it as a dictionary with string keys:

>>> session['username'] = currentUserName

If you modify the session, you need to manually save it:


Alternatively, you can set the configuration key to on, and sessions will be automatically saved on each request.

If you want to delete the session, use:

>>> session.delete()

Note that Beaker does not automatically expire/remove sessions, so you may need to do this yourself.

If you want to invalidate the session and create a new one, use:

>>> session.invalidate()

Note that the session is configured when each request is begun, based on the session settings read from zope.conf. It is possible to override these by registering a utility providing ISessionConfig from this package. The utility must implement the dict API (you can use a regular dict, or a persistent mapping object, for example). This allows, for example, a site- local utility to provide per-site session data.

Using caching

The Beaker documentation illustrates how to create a cache manager as a global variable. The CacheManager instance provides decorators and functions to use the cache. You can still use this pattern, but this will not use any of the configuration managed by collective.beaker in zope.conf

You can, however, use cache regions, as well as the explicit caching API. At runtime (but not in module scope) you can obtain a Beaker CacheManager that is configured as per zope.conf like so:

>>> from zope.component import getUtility
>>> from collective.beaker.interfaces import ICacheManager

>>> cacheManager = getUtility(ICacheManager)

You can now use this programmatically as per the Beaker documentation, e.g.:

>>> myCache = cacheManager.get_cache('mynamespace', expire=1800)

Refer to the Beaker caching documentation for details.

You can also use caching region decorators, e.g. with:

>>> from beaker.cache import cache_region
>>> @cache_region('short')
... def my_function():
...     ...

Provided that the ‘short’ region is configured (as in the zope.conf example above), this will lazily look up the region settings and use those for caching.

To invalidate the cache, you could call:

>>> from beaker.cache import region_invalidate
>>> region_invalidate(my_function, 'short')

Again, refer to the Beaker documentation for details.


If you are writing integration tests for code that uses beaker sessions or caches, you need to ensure that beaker is configured before you call the relevant code. Otherwise, you are liable to get component lookup errors on ISessionConfig or ICacheManager layers. This is because integration tests written with ZopeTestCase/PloneTestCase do not read your zope.conf and so the collective.beaker configuration code does not have any configuration data when it is loaded.

You can deal with this in one of two ways:

  • Register your own ISessionConfig and/or ICacheManager utilities. See for details.
  • Provide “fake” ZConfig settings before ZCML processing takes place.

You can use the test layer in collective.beaker.testing.BeakerConfigLayer to do the latter. You need to make sure that this layer is mixed in before any layer that executes ZCML processing. For example:

from colective.beaker.testing import BeakerConfigLayer
from Products.PloneTestCase.layer import PloneSiteLayer
from Products.PloneTestCase.ptc import PloneTestCase

class MyLayer(BeakerConfigLayer, PloneSiteLayer):

class TestCase(PloneTestCase):

    layer = MyLayer

You can of course add your own setUp and tearDown methods to the layer. The important thing is that the BeakerConfigLayer comes before the PloneSiteLayer, which will configure the site.

This setup will use default settings (see for the exact values), but you can manipulate these on a per-setting basis. For example:

from zope.component import getUtility
from collective.beaker.interfaces import ISessionConfig

config = getUtility(ISessionConfig)
config['secret'] = 'password'

Bear in mind that this is normally a global utility, so any changes will cross test boundaries unless you also tear down your settings properly. Thus, it is probably more appropriate to do this setup in a layer than in an individual test.

When writing tests that use Beaker sessions, if you are not performing functional testing using something like zope.testbrowser, you may also need to simulate the request start/end events that collective.beaker listens to in order to configure the session.

For example:

from collective.beaker.session import initializeSession, closeSession


class TestCase(PloneTestCase):

    layer = MyLayer

    def test_something(self):
        request =

        # perform your test here


In a unit test, it is probably easier to just provide a mock ISession adapter for the request. There is a mock session implementation in this package which can help you with that:

import unittest
import zope.component.testing

from zope.component import provideAdapter
from collective.beaker.testing import testingSession

from collective.beaker.interfaces import ISession
from zope.publisher.browser import TestRequest

class MyUnitTestCase(unittest.TestCase):

    def setUp(self):

    def tearDown(self):

    def test_something(self):
        request = TestRequest()
        session = ISession(request)

Like the “real” session, the test session is tied to the request, so you should get the same object back each time you look up the adapter on the request. You can also check the following properties to see how the session has been used:

  • _saved is True if save() has been called once.
  • _invalidated is True if invalidate() has been called once.
  • _deleted is True if delete() has been called once.

Finally, accessed() will return True and the last_accessed attribute will be set to the current date/time when common dictionary operations are used.

Changelog for collective.beaker

1.0b3 (2011-05-11)

  • fixed spelling issue in [ajung]

1.0b2 (2010-01-23)

  • Fix support for signed cookies (the secret parameter) in sessions. [optilude]
  • Provide better testing tools and more resilient test setup. [optilude]
  • Make the ZCML directive more resilient to configurations where there is no product_config. This can happen in test setup, for example. [optilude]

1.0b1 (2009-12-10)

  • Initial release [optilude]
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