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Integrates the xdv Deliverance implementation with Plone using a post-publication hook to transform content

Project description

XDV has been renamed to Diazo and this package has been replaced by Visit the Diazo website or the PyPI page for further information.


This package offers a simple way to develop and deploy Plone themes using the XDV engine. If you are not familiar with XDV or rules-based theming, check out the XDV documentation.


collective.xdv depends on:

These will all be pulled in automatically if you are using zc.buildout and follow the installation instructions.

To install collective.xdv into your Plone instance, locate the file buildout.cfg in the root of your Plone instance directory on the file system, and open it in a text editor. Locate the section that looks like this:

# extends =
extends = versions.cfg
versions = versions

It may also have a URL in the “extends” section, similar to the commented-out first line, depending on whether you pull the Plone configuration from the network or locally.

To add collective.xdv to our setup, we need some slightly different versions of a couple of the packages, so we extend the base config with a version list from the good-py service, so change this part of the configuration so it looks like this:

extends =
versions = versions

Note that the last part of the URL above before the ? is the xdv version number. There may be a newer version by the time you read this, so check out the overview page for the known good set.

Replace ?plone=3.3.5 with the version of Plone you are using. This dependency versions appropriate to your Plone.

What happens here is that the dependency list for collective.xdv specifies some new versions for you via the good-py URL. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting the right versions, Buildout will handle it for you.

Next step is to add the actual collective.xdv add-on to the “eggs” section of buildout.cfg. Look for the section that looks like this:

eggs =

This section might have additional lines if you have other add-ons already installed. Just add the collective.xdv on a separate line, like this:

eggs =
    collective.xdv [Zope2.10]

Note the use of the [Zope2.10] extra, which brings in the ZPublisherEventsBackport package for forward compatibility with Zope 2.12 / Plone 4. If you are using Zope 2.12 or later (e.g. with Plone 4), you should do:

eggs =

Note that there is no need to add a ZCML slug as collective.xdv uses z3c.autoinclude to configure itself automatically.

Once you have added these lines to your configuration file, it’s time to run buildout, so the system can add and set up collective.xdv for you. Go to the command line, and from the root of your Plone instance (same directory as buildout.cfg is located in), run buildout like this:

$ bin/buildout

You will see output similar to this:

Getting distribution for 'collective.xdv==1.0'.
Got collective.xdv 1.0.
Getting distribution for ''.
Got 1.0a1.
Getting distribution for 'plone.synchronize'.
Got plone.synchronize 1.0b1.

If everything went according to plan, you now have collective.xdv installed in your Zope instance.

Next, start up Zope, e.g with:

$ bin/instance fg

Then go to the “Add-ons” control panel in Plone as an administrator, and install the “XDV theme support” product. You should then notice a new “XDV Theme” control panel in Plone’s site setup.


In the “XDV Theme” control panel, you can set the following options:

Enabled yes/no

Whether or not the transform is enabled.


A list of domains (including ports) that will be matched against the HOST header to determine if the theme should be applied. Note that is never styled, to ensure there’s always a way back into Plone to change these very settings. However, ‘localhost’ should work just fine.


A file path or URL pointing to the theme file. This is just a static HTML file.


The filesystem path to the rules XML file.

Alternate themes

A list of definitions of alternate themes and rules files for a different path. Should be of the form ‘path theme rules’ where path may use a regular expression syntax, theme is a file path or URL to the theme template and rule is a file path to the rules file. If the theme or a rules string starts with ‘python://’ a path resolve is done, so for example you could refer to a theme file in your theme package as python://yourtheme.xdvtheme/static/page.html .

XSLT extension file

It is possible to extend XDV with a custom XSLT file. If you have such a file, give its URL here.

Absolute prefix

If given, any relative URL in an <img />, <link />, <style /> or <script /> in the theme HTML file will be prefixed by this URL snippet when the theme is compiled. This makes it easier to develop theme HTML/CSS on the file system using relative paths that still work on any URL on the server.

Unstyled paths

This is used to give a list of URL patterns (using regular expression syntax) for pages that will not be styled even if XDV is enabled. By default, this includes the ‘emptypage’ view that is necessary for the Kupu editor to work, and the manage_* pages that make up the ZMI.

Note that when Zope is in debug mode, the theme will be re-compiled on each request. In non-debug mode, it is compiled once on startup, and then only if the control panel values are changed.

Resources in Python packages

When specifying the rules, theme and/or XSLT extension files, you should normally use a file path. If you are distributing your theme in a Python package that is installed using Distribute/setuptools (e.g. a standard Plone package installed via buildout), you can use the special python URL scheme to reference your files.

For example, if your package is called my.package and it contains a directory mytheme, you could reference the file rules.xml in that file as:


This will be resolved to an absolute file:// URL by the collective.xdv.

Static files and CSS

Typically, the theme will reference static resources such as images or stylesheets. It is usually a good idea to keep all of these in a single, top-level directory to minimise the risk of clashes with Plone content paths.

If you are using Zope/Plone standalone, you will need to make your static resources available through Zope, or serve them from a separate (sub-)domain. Here, you have a few options:

  • Create the static resources as File content objects through Plone.

  • Create the resources inside the portal_skins/custom folder in the ZMI.

  • Install the resources through a filesystem product.

The latter is most the appropriate option if you are distributing your theme as a Python package. In this case, you can register a resource directory in ZCML like so:






The mytheme directory should be in the same directory as the configure.zcml file. You can now put your theme, rules and static resources here.

If you make sure that your theme uses only relative URLs to reference any stylesheets, JavaScript files, or images that it needs (including those referenced from stylesheets), you should now be able to view your static theme by going to a URL like:


You can now set the “Absolute prefix” configuration option to be ‘/++resource++my.package’. XDV will then turn those relative URLs into appropriate absolute URLs with this prefix.

If you have put Apache, nginx or IIS in front of Zope, you may want to serve the static resources from the web server directly instead.

Using portal_css to manage your CSS

Plone’s “resource registries”, including the portal_css tool, can be used to manage CSS stylesheets. This offers several advantages over simply linking to your stylesheets in the template, such as:

  • Detailed control over the ordering of stylesheets

  • Merging of stylesheets to reduce the number of downloads required to render your page

  • On-the-fly stylesheet compression (e.g. whitespace removal)

  • The ability to include or exclude a stylesheet based on an expression

It is usually desirable (and sometimes completely necessary) to leave the theme file untouched, but you can still use portal_css to manage your stylesheets. The trick is to drop the theme’s styles and then include all styles from Plone. For example, you could add the following rules:

<drop theme="/html/head/link" />
<drop theme="/html/head/style" />

<!-- Pull in Plone CSS -->
<append theme="/html/head" content="/html/head/link | /html/head/style" />

The use of an “or” expression for the content in the <append /> rule means that the precise ordering is maintained.

For an example of how to register stylesheets upon product installation using GenericSetup, see below. In short - use the cssregistry.xml import step in your GenericSetup profile directory.

There is one important caveat, however. Your stylesheet may include relative URL references of the following form:

background-image: url(../images/bg.jpg);

If your stylesheet lives in a resource directory (e.g. it is registered in portal_css with the id ++resource++my.package/css/styles.css), this will work fine so long as the registry (and Zope) is in debug mode. The relative URL will be resolved by the browser to ++resource++my.package/images/bg.jpg.

However, you may find that the relative URL breaks when the registry is put into production mode. This is because resource merging also changes the URL of the stylesheet to be something like:


To correct for this, you have a few options:

  1. Replace your static stylesheet with something dynamic so that you can calculate it relative an absolute path on the fly. This obviously will not work if you want to be able to view the theme standalone.

  2. Change your URLs to use an absolute path, e.g. /++resource++my.theme/images/bg.jpg. Again, this will break the original stylesheet. However, you can perhaps create a Plone-only override stylesheet that overrides each CSS property that uses a url().

  3. Avoid using portal_css for your static stylesheets.

  4. Use Plone 4. :-) In Plone 4 (b3 and later), the portal_css tool has an option to parse a stylesheet for relative URLs and apply an absolute prefix based on the stylesheet’s debug-mode URL. The option is called applyPrefix in the cssregistry.xml syntax.

Controlling Plone’s default CSS

It is sometimes useful to show some of Plone’s CSS in the styled site. You can achieve this by using an XDV <append /> rule or similar to copy the CSS from Plone’s generated <head /> into the theme. You can use the portal_css tool to turn off the style sheets you do not want.

However, if you also want the site to be usable in non-themed mode (e.g. on a separate URL), you may want to have a larger set of styles enabled when XDV is not used. To make this easier, you can use the following expressions as conditions in the portal_css tool (and portal_javascripts, portal_kss), in portal_actions, in page templates, and other places that use TAL expression syntax:

request/HTTP_X_XDV | nothing

This expression will return True if XDV is currently enabled, in which case an HTTP header “X-XDV” will be set. By default, this will check both the ‘enabled’ flag in the XDV control panel, and the current domain. If you later deploy the theme to a fronting web server such as nginx, you can set the same request header there to get the same effect, even if collective.xdv is uninstalled.


not: request/HTTP_X_XDV | nothing

to ‘hide’ a style sheet from the themed site.

A worked example

There are many ways to set up an XDV theme. For example, you could upload the theme and rules as content in Plone use absolute paths to configure them. You could also serve them from a separate static web server, or even load them from the filesystem.

To create a deployable theme, however, it is often best to create a simple Python package. This also provides a natural home for theme-related customisations such as template overrides.

Although a detailed tutorial is beyond the scope of this help file, a brief, worked example is shown below.

  1. Create a package and install it in your buildout:

    $ cd src
    $ paster create -t plone my.theme

See the buildout manual for details

If you have a recent ZopeSkel installed, this should work. Pick easy mode. Answer “yes” when asked if you want to register a profile.

Then edit buildout.cfg to add your new package (my.theme above) to the develop and eggs lists.

  1. Edit inside the newly created package

The install_requires list should be:


Re-run buildout:

$ bin/buildout
  1. Edit configure.zcml inside the newly created package.

Add a resource directory inside the <configure /> tag. Note that you may need to add the browser namespace, as shown.


xmlns=”” xmlns:browser=”” xmlns:i18n=”” xmlns:genericsetup=”” i18n_domain=”my.theme”>


name=”default” title=”my.theme” directory=”profiles/default” description=”Installs the my.theme package” provides=”Products.GenericSetup.interfaces.EXTENSION” />


name=”my.theme” directory=”static” />


Here, we have used the package name, my.theme, for the resource directory name. Adjust as appropriate.

  1. Add a static directory next to configure.zcml.

  2. Put your theme and rules files into this directory.

For example, you may have a theme.html that references images in a sub-directory images/ and stylesheets in a sub-directory css/. Place this file and the two directories inside the newly created static directory.

Make sure the theme uses relative URLs (e.g. <img src="images/foo.jpg" />) to reference its resources. This means you can open theme up from the filesystem and view it in its splendour.

Also place a rules.xml file there. See the XDV documentation for details about its syntax. You can start with some very simple rules if you just want to test:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    <!-- Head: title -->
    <replace theme="/html/head/title" content="/html/head/title" />

    <!-- Base tag -->
    <replace theme="/html/head/base" content="/html/head/base" />

    <!-- Drop styles in the head - these are added back by including them from Plone -->
    <drop theme="/html/head/link" />
    <drop theme="/html/head/style" />

    <!-- Pull in Plone CSS -->
    <append theme="/html/head" content="/html/head/link | /html/head/style " />


These rules will pull in the <title /> tag (i.e. the browser window’s title), the <base /> tag (necessary for certain Plone URLs to work correctly), and Plone’s stylesheets.

See below for some more useful rules.

  1. Create the installation profile

The generated code above for the <genericsetup:registerProfile /> tag contains a reference to a directory profiles/default. You may need to create this next to configure.zcml if it doesn’t exist already, i.e. create a new directory profiles and inside it another directory default.

In this directory, add a file called metadata.xml containing:


This will install collective.xdv into Plone when my.theme is installed via the add-on control panel later.

Also create a file called registry.xml, with the following contents:


    <!-- collective.xdv settings -->

    <record interface="collective.xdv.interfaces.ITransformSettings" field="domains">

    <record interface="collective.xdv.interfaces.ITransformSettings" field="rules">

    <record interface="collective.xdv.interfaces.ITransformSettings" field="theme">

    <record interface="collective.xdv.interfaces.ITransformSettings" field="absolute_prefix">


Replace my.theme with your own package name, and rules.xml and theme.html as appropriate.

This file configures the settings behind the XDV control panel.

Hint: If you have played with the control panel and want to export your settings, you can create a snapshot in the portal_setup tool in the ZMI. Examine the registry.xml file this creates, and pick out the records that relate to collective.xdv. You should strip out the <field /> tags in the export, so that you are left with <record /> and <value /> tags as shown above.

Also, add a cssregistry.xml in the profiles/default directory to configure the portal_css tool:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<object name="portal_css">

 <!-- Set conditions on stylesheets we don't want to pull in -->
     expression="not:request/HTTP_X_XDV | nothing"

 <!-- Add new stylesheets -->
 <!-- Note: applyPrefix is not available in Plone < 4.0b3 -->

 <stylesheet title="" authenticated="False" cacheable="True"
    compression="safe" conditionalcomment="" cookable="True" enabled="on"
    expression="request/HTTP_X_XDV | nothing"
    id="++resource++my.theme/css/styles.css" media="" rel="stylesheet"


This shows how to set a condition on an existing stylesheet, as well as registering a brand new one. We’ve set applyPrefix to True here, as explained above. This will only work in Plone 4.b3 and later. For earlier versions, simply take this out.

  1. Test

Start up Zope and go to your Plone site. Your new package should show as installable in the add-on product control panel. When installed, it should install collective.xdv as a dependency and pre-configure it to use your theme and rule set. By default, the theme is not enabled, so you will need to go to the control panel to switch it on.

You can now compare your untouched theme, the unstyled Plone site, and the themed site by using the following URLs:

  • http://localhost:8080 (or whatever you have configured as the styled domain) for a styled Plone. If you used the sample rule above, this will look almost exactly like your theme, but with the <title /> tag (normally shown in the title bar of your web browser) taken from Plone.

  • (presuming this is the port where Plone is running) for an unstyled Plone.

  • http://localhost:8080/++resource++my.theme/theme.html for the pristine theme. This is served as a static resource, almost as if it is being opened on the filesystem.

Common rules

To copy the page title:

<!-- Head: title -->
<replace theme="/html/head/title" content="/html/head/title" />

To copy the <base /> tag (necessary for Plone’s links to work):

<!-- Base tag -->
<replace theme="/html/head/base" content="/html/head/base" />

To drop all styles and JavaScript resources from the theme and copy them from Plone’s portal_css tool instead:

<!-- Drop styles in the head - these are added back by including them from Plone -->
<drop theme="/html/head/link" />
<drop theme="/html/head/style" />

<!-- Pull in Plone CSS -->
<append theme="/html/head" content="/html/head/link | /html/head/style" />

To copy Plone’s JavaScript resources:

<!-- Pull in Plone CSS -->
<append theme="/html/head" content="/html/head/script" />

To copy the class of the <body /> tag (necessary for certain Plone JavaScript functions and styles to work properly):

<!-- Body -->
<prepend theme="/html/body" content="/html/body/attribute::class" />

Other tips

  • Firebug is an excellent tool for inspecting the theme and content when building rules. It even has an XPath extractor.

  • Read up on XPath. It’s not as complex as it looks and very powerful.

  • Run Zope in debug mode whilst developing so that you don’t need to restart to see changes to theme, rules or, resources.


1.0rc11 - 2010-09-05

  • Add French translation, use real msgids in python files and cleanup obsolete Japanese translations. [laz]

  • Don’t pretty print output - it can break browser renderings and introduces unnecessary whitespace. [elro]

  • Fix python:// URL resolution on Windows. [optilude]

  • Clarify space separator warning. [fvandijk]

1.0rc10 - 2010-08-05

  • Use plone.subrequest. [elro]

  • Use space as a separator for alternate themes. ‘|’ is common in regular expressions. [elro]

  • Support XDV 0.4 <theme> directive so theme is not required on settings. [elro]

  • Fix resolution of network (http/https) urls for external includes. [elro]

1.0rc9 - 2010-08-05

  • Use an IBeforeTraverseEvent on the Plone site root instead of an IPubAfterTraversal event to hook in the X-XDV request header. This makes the header work on 404 error pages. [optilude]

  • Add collective.directoryresourcepatch to the Zope2.10 extras. This allows for subdirectories to be traversed by the ResourceRegistries while running Plone 3/Zope 2.10. [dunlapm]

  • Require lxml>=2.2.4. The Zope2 KGS lists lxml=2.2, a version which errors on invalid html. [elro]

  • Fix extra.xsl support. [elro]

1.0rc8 - 2010-05-24

1.0rc7 - 2010-05-23

  • UPGRADE NOTE: Reinstall product in the Add-ons control panel.

  • Switch on XInclude processing always. [elro]

  • Fix Windows install. For running under Plone 4 on Windows, you must specify:

    lxml = 2.2.4

until a newer lxml Windows binary egg is released. [elro]

  • Instead of the external resolver, let lxml read the network. You must now explicitly enable Read network in the control panel. [elro]

1.0rc6 - 2010-05-21

  • Fix transform caching to account for different virtual hosts of the same site and make cache invalidation work across ZEO clients. [elro]

1.0rc5 - 2010-04-21

  • Fix in-Plone content inclusion via the href mechanism, including the use of relative paths in hrefs. [optilude]

  • Ensured that the absolute prefix would work even in a virtual hosting scenario where the aboslute path of the site root is ‘/’. [optilude]

  • Added an event handler which will set an HTTP request header ‘X-XDV’ if XDV is enabled for the incoming domain. This can be used as a check in e.g. portal_css, for example with a TALES expression like ‘request/HTTP_X_XDV | nothing’. The @@xdv-check/enabled method now just checks for the existence of this variable too. The idea is that it is easier to replicate this in a pure-XSLT deployment scenario with collective.xdv disabled, for example by setting the same request header in nginx or Apache. [optilude]

  • Made all zope paths resolve relative to the Plone site. [marshalium]

  • Add support for resolving files with http/ftp absolute urls and zope paths. [marshalium]

  • Make absolute_prefix prepend the Plone site path if necessary. This means that an absolute prefix starting with / is always relative to the Plone site root. [optilude]

  • Add support for the python:// pseudo-scheme for the theme, rules and extrauri files. See README.txt for details. [optilude]

  • Improve the wording in the control panel [optilude]

  • Fix a bug whereby the cached transforms (in non-debug-mode) would leak across Plone sites in the same instance. [optilude]

  • Remove the boilerplate parameter. Use extraurl instead. [optilude]

  • Let collective.xdv depend on the new XDV egg, instead of dv.xdvserver. [optilude]

  • Only invoke the transformation if collective.xdv is in fact installed. Note: you may need to re-install the product after upgrading. [optilude]

  • Use plone.transformchain to sequence transformation activities. Among other things, this helps us avoid re-parsing/serialising lxml trees when other things in the chain prefer to work with such representations of the response. It also helps control the sequence of post-publication events. [optilude]

  • Zope 2.12 / Plone 4 compatability. [lrowe]

1.0rc4 - 2009-10-27

  • Style error responses as well as successful responses. [lrowe]

  • Use ZPublisher events instead of plone.postpublicationhook for compatibility with Zope 2.12 / Plone 4. For Zope2.10 / Plone 3.x, you must now specify “collective.xdv [Zope2.10]” in your buildout to bring in the package ZPublisherEventsBackport. [lrowe]

  • Added support for extraurl parameter [mhora]

  • Added alternate themes and modified transform so it can decide by a path regular expression which theme and rules files it will use for transformation [mhora]

  • Add /manage in unstyled paths default list. [encolpe]

1.0a2 - 2009-07-12

  • Catch up with changes in plone.registry’s API. [optilude]

1.0a1 - 2009-04-17

  • Initial release

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