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Put stuff in a box, get it out again with the secret

Project description


This is a small package for Zope2 that does something similar to a part of what the PasswordResetTool from Plone does. It stores a value, with a possible validation token, and guards it with a secret.

The PasswordResetTool uses a similar technique to store password reset requests; it then sends an email with a link and a generated secret to a given email address. When the recipient follows the link and fills in the secret (this is actually part of the link so this is done implicitly) and his user name (the validation token) he is allowed to set a fresh password.

This package is meant to support this and similar use cases. The part this package does is:

  • storing the value (done with annotations)

  • possibly confirming in case there is a validation token

  • getting the value

  • editing the value

  • removing the value

No emails are sent. If that is needed for a use case, that is the responsibility of integrators.

Target audience

Target audience is integrators, as the package does not really do anything interesting for end users. You will have to build something around it. This could be as easy as a PloneFormGen form. Here are some possible use cases.

  • You could use this to store an email address that needs to be confirmed before adding it to a mailing list.

  • Or you generate 1,000 secrets, print them, hand them out on a trade show, and give people 5 euro when they register on your website with this secret; perhaps you could cobble something like this together in combination with PloneFormGen.


Tested with Plone 3.3.5, 4.0.9, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3.6, 5.0. Might work in Plone 2.5 already. Probably works in plain Zope2 as well.


Add this to the eggs of your buildout. On Plone 3.2 or lower also load the zcml (done automatically in 3.3 or higher).

Sample usage

There are some sample browser views in the sample directory of the package. If you want to use them in a test instance, load their zcml; in a buildout config that would be something like this:

zcml =

Rerun buildout, start the instance, and in the root of the site (or somewhere else) visit @@deposit-simple or @@deposit-add. If you follow the instructions of the last one you will add, confirm, edit and delete an item.

Sample code

This should give you an idea of how you should use the code:

>>> from import Box
>>> box = Box()
>>> secret = box.put(object())
>>> box.get(secret)
<object object at ...>
>>> box.edit(secret, 42)
>>> box.get(secret)
>>> box.pop(secret)
>>> box.pop(secret)
>>> secret = box.put('my data', token='')
>>> box.get(secret, token='') is None
>>> box.confirm(secret, token='')
>>> box.get(secret, token='')
'my data'
>>> box.get(secret, token='') is None
>>> box.pop(secret) is None
>>> box.pop(secret, token='')
'my data'

Storing data persistently

If you instantiate a Box() like above, but do not add the box to some object in the database, then you will lose your data once your Plone Site restarts. The normal way to save the box is to use an adapter to store it in annotations on the context:

from collective.depositbox.interfaces import IDepositBox
box = IDepositBox(context)

That context can be the Plone Site root, a folder, a document or whatever you want. You can have multiple boxes: different contexts will have different boxes. A secret for one box is not valid for another box.


Note that after a while (7 days by default) the secret expires and the data is removed.


The default adapter is registered for anything that is IAttributeAnnotatable, which is true for any content item in Plone. It adds one deposit box on the context. This may be fine for your use case, but maybe you want something else. So here are a few ideas.

  • Look in for some settings you could easily override in a monkey patch.

  • Maybe replace the random id_generator using a monkey patch if you don’t like the secrets that are generated. Secrets are currently 8 characters from the lowercase alphabet or digits. We avoid accidentally creating (swear) words by excluding vowels, and avoid further confusion by excluding 0 and 1. 8 characters sampled from these 28 characters give 125 billion possible results. That is enough for 1 random key every second for almost 4000 years. If you want some uuid thingie instead that is fine. I like that the secret is short so that you can safely include it as part of a url in an email without making the link too long, which can lead to problems in some email programs.

  • You could register your own adapter that inherits from BoxAdapter. You can then override ANNO_KEY so you can store a box under a different name. With max_age you can determine the number of days before a secret expires. Similarly, with purge_days you can determine how often old items get purged. Maybe register this adapter specifically for IPloneSiteRoot.

  • You can add a value in the deposit box and get the secret back in a page template with a TAL definition like this:

    depositview nocall:context/@@deposit-box;
    secret python:depositview.put('foobar');

    For a slightly bigger example see collective/depositbox/sample/templates/


1.3 (2015-09-01)

  • Added documentation about using the IDepositBox adapter. [maurits]

1.2 (2014-08-04)

  • Add locales, with Dutch translations. [maurits]

  • Add simple deposit-box-data view to see confirmed data. You may want to override this in your own code with some view that presents it in a nicer way because it knows what kind of values are stored. [maurits]

  • Add permission collective.depositbox: View Data. Allow access to get_all_confirmed data when the user has this permission. We do not grant the permission explicitly, so by default only a Manager has it. [maurits]

1.1 (2012-09-13)

1.0 (2011-08-13)

  • Initial release. [maurits]

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