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Create, edit and use hierarchical taxonomies in Plone!

Project description

Taxonomy Vocabularies


Create, edit and use hierarchical taxonomies in Plone.

This add-on provides support for hierarchical taxonomies in multiple languages, letting users easily associate existing content with terms from one or more taxonomies.

Taxonomy is the “discipline of defining groups […] on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Each group is given a rank and groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank and thus create a hierarchical classification”.

Here’s an example of the “taxonomic kingdoms of life”:

Living Organisms
Living Organisms -> Eukaryotic
Living Organisms -> Eukaryotic -> Simple multicells or unicells
Living Organisms -> Eukaryotic -> Multicellular
Living Organisms -> Eukaryotic -> Multicellular -> Autotrophic
Living Organisms -> Eukaryotic -> Multicellular -> ...
Living Organisms -> Prokaryotic
Living Organisms -> Prokaryotic -> Archaebacteria
Living Organisms -> Prokaryotic -> Eubacteria
Living Organisms -> Prokaryotic -> Eubacteria -> ...

Taxonomies can be quite large, sometimes in the tens of thousands (10,000+). And in sites with multiple languages, each title – or caption – must appear in translation.

Note that the selection of a term in the hierarchy implies the selection of all its parents. In the example above this means that if “Eubacteria” is selected, then also “Prokaryotic” and “Living Organisms” will be.


The implementation tries to meet the following requirements:

  1. Support many (10,000+) terms.

  2. Terms can be organized in a hierarchical classification.

  3. Easily import and export in a common format (VDEX).

  4. Taxonomies will provide vocabularies that are translatable.

  5. Use behaviors to provide a choice field for each taxonomy.

  6. Manage taxonomies and assign to content types “through-the-web”.

In the description below, we touch on each of these requirements.

Data structure

In order to limit both the memory and computation requirements, the term data is contained in exactly one persistent index per language, a mapping from the materialized term path to its term identifier.

The term:

Living Organisms -> Eukaryotic -> Simple multicells or unicells

will be indexed under this path:

"Living Organisms/Eukaryotic/Simple multicells or unicells"

The index allows us to provide an iterator over the sorted vocabulary terms, virtually without cost (as well as containment queries).

At the same time, while the hierarchy is encoded, we can quickly look up terms in a subtree.

Note: As collective.taxonomy uses slash as separator, you have to monkey patch the PATH_SEPARATOR constant if you want to use ‘/’ in your terms.

Data exchange

While collective.taxonomy (this package) does make it possible to create, manage and edit taxonomies from a browser-based interface, the primary focus is to support the exchange of terms in the VDEX format:

The IMS Vocabulary Definition Exchange (VDEX) specification defines a grammar for the exchange of value lists of various classes: collections often denoted “vocabulary”.

This exchange is integrated with GenericSetup which manages imports and exports using setup profiles. It is also possible to use the control panel for importing and exporting VDEX files.

The package comes with integration for the Dexterity content type framework: for each taxonomy, a behavior is available that adds a choice field which pulls its vocabulary from the taxonomy. The behavior is configurable in terms of field name, title and whether it allows the selection of one or more multiple terms. You should first install dexterity and then collective.taxonomy, otherwise the behaviors for the existing taxonomies will be missing.

How does it work?

The main objective during this project has been to get a high rate of through-the-Web administration. Therefore the use of the product will not require any Python programming nor configure.zcml directives.

In the control panel (/@@taxonomy-settings), the user can:

  1. Import taxonomies from VDEX files.

  2. Export taxonomies existing to VDEX files.

  3. Delete taxonomies

  4. Add and delete behaviors for taxonomies

When a new behavior is created for a taxonomy, it can easily be added to the desired content types using the content type control panel, provided by Dexterity. After this is done, the taxonomy is available on add and edit forms, and it is also available for collections, if is used on the site. An index is also created, so the taxonomies can easily be used for catalog queries.

Please read the detailed Getting Started Tutorial

React/Redux app to edit taxonomies

The view @@taxonomy-edit-data that allow users to edit the taxonomy data is a React/Redux app (the source code is in the javascripts directory.

Here’s a preview of this view:

Edit taxonomy data preview

The languages allowed for the taxonomies are the languages defined in portal_languages.


Run the app, run npm start in the javascripts directory. To make Plone use the development code, you need the NODE_ENV environment variable to be set to development:

NODE_ENV=development bin/instance fg


The app uses react-intl to handle i18n. To translate the app, add a new language in the translations directory. For example, create a es file in the translations directory that contains:

const es = {
    submitLabel: 'Enviar',

export default es

Then, edit translations/index.js to add the language to the translations object:

import es from './es'

const translations = {

You’ll have to rebuild the js bundle: npm run build

That’s it!


This product has been translated into

  • Danish.

  • German.

  • French.

  • Spanish.

You can contribute for any message missing or other new languages, join us at Plone Collective Team into service with all world Plone translators community.

Plone Version Compatibility

collective.taxonomy version 3.x

  • Plone 6.0 (py3)

collective.taxonomy version 2.x

  • Plone 5.2 (py2/py3)

  • Plone 5.1

  • Plone 5.0

collective.taxonomy version 1.x

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I import an existing ATVocabularyManager vocabulary?

Use the script provided in this gist. Just remember to edit the vocabIdentifier and vocabName.


Have an idea? Found a bug? Let us know by opening a ticket.




Existing work

In 2010, Rok Garbas <> reimplemented and extended prior work by Seantis and released collective.vdexvocabulary. This package allows you to configure and populate vocabulary components from a VDEX-specification. The package supports flat vocabularies only, and support for multiple languages takes a different approach (vocabularies are returned in an already translated form). Note that vocabularies are loaded in a read-only mode, although it’s been proposed that vocabularies might be edited through-the-web.

In 2005, Jens Klein <> released ATVocabularyManager. This package makes it possible to create taxonomies using Plone’s content management interface with terms existing as regular site content. It’s integrated with the Archetypes content type framework (now deprecated).


The project is licensed under the GPL v2 or later (GPLv2+).


3.0.1 (2023-02-02)

  • export/import of field_prefix value. [eikichi18]

3.0.0 (2022-12-13)

  • Fix deprecated collections.Iterable in TaxonomyIndexerWrapper. This got removed since python 3.10. Importing now. [petschki]

  • Add mising fetch_vocabulary record for IQueryField This was introduced in 1.5.0 [laulaz]

  • more markup updates to Bootstrap 5. [petschki]

3.0.0a1 (2022-07-13)

  • Fix configlet icon for Plone 6 (#135) [laulaz]

  • update markup in edittaxonomydata.js to Bootstrap 5 [petschki]

2.2.2 (2022-07-12)

  • Use new ‘Manage taxonomies’ permission for taxonomies configlet (#134) Permission is by default assigned to Manager and Site Administrator roles. [laulaz]

  • Fixed ‘Required’ and ‘Single select’ option being compulsory [JeffersonBledsoe] (#131)

2.2.1 (2022-03-30)

  • Fix taxonomy data edition when using Gunicorn WSGI (#123) [laulaz]

  • Implemented possibility to change the IDs. [Petchesi-Iulian] (#113)

  • Added contraints to not allow duplicate IDs. [Petchesi-Iulian] (#113)

  • Improved the editing interface. [Petchesi-Iulian] (#113)

  • Updated the documentation and tutorial. [Petchesi-Iulian] (#113)

2.2.0 (2021-12-13)

  • Refactor import of synchronized decorator [1letter] (#120)

2.1.1 (2021-11-23)

  • Wrap strings in list while indexing to correctly index single-select taxonomies. [adrianschulz] (#108)

  • Plone 6 / pip install ready [avoinea] (#114)

2.1.0 (2021-05-27)

  • Fix GenericSetup export in python2 [gotcha]

  • Integrate taxonomies into collective.collectionfilter [MrTango]

2.0.1 (2020-07-04)

  • Add a tutorial [rodfersou]

  • Add Cypress test [rodfersou]

  • Fix translating msgid when portal language is not found in taxonomy [petschki, rodfersou]

  • Fix JavaScript in which had python comments [petschki]

  • Add service integration to manage the translation process [macagua]

  • Added Spanish translation [macagua]

  • Updated the i18n support [macagua]

  • Added license documentation of package [macagua]

2.0.0 (2019-11-25)

  • add uninstall handler to cleanup persistent utilites and generated behaviors [petschki]

  • Fix GenericSetup import/export in python3 [erral]

  • Use taxonomy default language for indexing if current language is not available [agitator]

  • Make generated behaviors language independent [agitator]

  • export selected taxonomies as ZIPed folder with XML files [petschki]

  • Python 3 compatibility [petschki, agitator]

1.5.1 (2018-10-25)

  • Fix bug in cachekey generator [petschki]

1.5.0 (2018-10-18)

  • Fix controlpanel to show settings navigation [petschki]

  • Memoize vocabulary lookup [tomgross, petschki]

  • Fix #53 when editing taxonomy data the first time [petschki]

  • Update german translations [petschki]

  • Add uninstall profile [petschki]

  • When using “delete” option on import, clear any previous ordering. [malthe]

  • Add support for specifying behavior field prefix. [malthe]

  • The getTermByToken method now accepts an optional argument tail_only which if set, returns a message object where the title translates to the last path segment (the “tail” node). [malthe]

  • Added new method makeTree on taxonomy vocabulary class which returns a term tree. [malthe]

  • Support “slash” character in term title (issue #34). [malthe]

  • When uploading a taxonomy there is now an option to purge the existing entries prior to processing. [malthe]

  • Taxonomies are now assigned a persistent order. Taxonomies imported from VDEX now preserve the ordering of the input document. [malthe]

  • Add new method iterEntries on taxonomy vocabulary class that provides a safe way to iterate over the path to identifier mapping (in order). [malthe]

  • Vocabulary is a IVocabularyTokenized implementer. [cedricmessiant]

  • updateBehavior method can now modify other attributes (and not only field_title). [cedricmessiant]

  • Add explicit dependency on plone.api >= 1.5 which the api.portal.get_current_language api was introduced. [vincentfretin]

  • Add german translation [tomgross]

  • Mention Plone 5.0 and 5.1 compatibility [tkimnguyen]

  • Enable choosing what fieldset to use for the behavior fields. Fallback to categorization, keeping backwards compatibility. [sunew]

  • Change to no longer register example Test-taxonomy on install [datakurre]

  • Fix issue where taxonomy indexer adapter was not properly unregistered from the persistent local registry on taxonomy removal [datakurre]

  • Fix issue where public ++taxonomy++short_name -traverser for returning generator of (key, label) tuples for given taxonomy was broken [datakurre]

1.4.4 (2016-11-29)

  • Fix taxonomy export that was broken since 1.4.0. [vincentfretin]

1.4.3 (2016-11-29)

  • Fix save action to work on Plone 5 (by reading portal url from body[data-portal-url] and adding X-CSRF-TOKEN for post requests [datakurre]

  • Fix BehaviorRegistrationNotFound error with Plone 5.0.6 [tomgross]

  • Use lxml instead of elementtree [tomgross]

  • Rename fontello font to taxonomy to avoid clash with Plone 5 theme [vincentfretin]

1.4.2 (2016-11-08)

  • Fix save action in edit-taxonomy-data. This was a regression in 1.4.0, the get parameter should be taxonomy, not form.widgets.taxonomy. [cedricmessiant]

1.4.1 (2016-11-03)

  • Remove Save and Cancel buttons in controlpanel introduced 1.4.0. [vincentfretin]

  • Add missing upgrade step to create records in registry. [vincentfretin]

1.4.0 (2016-11-03)

  • Getting language by acquisition, indeed some Dexterity content has no language or empty language. [bsuttor]

  • Fix empty context.REQUEST.get(‘form.widgets.taxonomy’). It add it into POST form. [bsuttor]

  • Plone 5 compatibility [tomgross]

  • Use context language to find index. [bsuttor]

1.3.0 (2016-07-07)

  • Fix index when taxonomy is added as field. [bsuttor]

  • Now uses a React/Redux app to edit taxonomy data. It is now possible to edit the data in multiple languages and to compare between languages. [cedricmessiant]

  • Fix index when taxonomy is added as field. [bsuttor]

  • Now uses a React/Redux app to edit taxonomy data. It is now possible to edit the data in multiple languages and to compare between languages. [cedricmessiant]

  • Add PATH_SEPARATOR constant to be able to use ‘/’ character in terms. [cedricmessiant]

  • Add ++taxonomy++[shortname] -traverser to be usable with PloneFormGen dynamic field vocabulary overrides [datakurre]

  • prevent taxonomy reset on reinstall if you’ve defined a vdex xml file in your profile [petschki]

  • Plone 5 compatibility [tomgross]

1.2.3 (2014-02-07)

  • ConfigParser supports allow_no_value on Python 2.6, so we cannot allow empty values, only on 2.7 or newer. [bosim]

1.2.2 (2014-01-03)

Bugfix release

  • Fixed problem with registration of search citeria in collections, the previous registration broke export feature of Upgrade step has been added so please upgrade. [bosim]

1.2.1 (2013-11-12)

Bugfix release, please upgrade

  • Using Schema from plone.supermodel. Fixes issue #6 [bosim]

  • Rewrote behavior creation routine. Fixes issue #5 [bosim]

1.2 (2013-11-12)

  • Add collective.js.jqueryui as dependency. Install it automatically. [maurits]

  • i18n fixes, messages extraction script, french translation. [thomasdesvenain]

  • Fixed error in vdex import. [thomasdesvenain]

  • Avoid failure at export when no default language was selected. [thomasdesvenain]

  • Remove dependency form plone.directives [thomasdesvenain]

  • Added elementtree in dependencies [thomasdesvenain]

1.1 (2013-07-16)

  • Taxonomies can now be added without uploading a VDEX file. [bosim]

  • Taxonomies can be exported/imported via GenericSetup again. [bosim]

  • Single select fields are now possible again. [bosim]

1.0 (2013-05-07)

  • Initial release [bosim]

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