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Skin support for BFG.

Project description


This package provides a simple framework to integrate code with templates and resources.


  • Support for routes and views

  • Integrates with Zope Page Templates

  • Customization story based on layers


You can use the package in a variety of ways. It’s designed to be immediately useful without getting in the way or giving up flexibility. In any case, the objective is to take the separation of logic from presentation to the next step and also separate the wiring from the codebase.

This is done by using symbolic (but predictable) object names instead of file system paths:

./package/skins/images/logo.png    =>  "images/logo.png"
./package/skins/   =>  "main_template"

         ↳ mount point

The mount point constitutes a skin directory. You can register as many skin directories as you need. The objects found are entered in a global namespace, which means objects can be overriden. The last registration wins.

Note that for the template, the file extension is left out from the object name. This is a behavior of the template factory – the default for the .pt extension.


The package is written and maintained by Malthe Borch and Stefan Eletzhofer. Available as-is under the BSD license.

To contribute or get support for this package, please visit the #repoze channel on freenode irc or write to the repoze-dev mailinglist.


This section is tested using the manuel library. You can run the tests from the command-line:

$ python test

This allows you to make sure the package is compatible with your platform.

In the course of the narrative we will demonstrate different usage scenarios. The test setup contains the following files:


The meaning of this set of skin components is that represents some document that we want to publish; it uses is the o-wrap template. The ./about directory is some subsection of the site which has its own logo.

Getting started

We begin by registering the skins directory. This makes the files listed above available as skin components. The ZCML-directive skins makes registration easy:

<include package="repoze.bfg.skins" />

<skins path="skins" />

The path parameter indicates a relative path which defines the mount point for the skin registration.

Skin components

At this point the skin objects are available as utility components. This is the low-level interface:

from zope.component import getUtility
from repoze.bfg.skins.interfaces import ISkinObject
index = getUtility(ISkinObject, name="index")

The component name is available in the name attribute:

Skin objects

The SkinObject class itself wraps this utility lookup:

from repoze.bfg.skins import SkinObject
FrontPage = SkinObject("index")

This is now a callable which will render the template to a response. The first two positional arguments (if given) are mapped to context and request:

response = FrontPage(u"Hello world!")

Keyword arguments are passed into the template scope:

    Hello world!

Framework integration

The package comes with integration for views and routes.


In the previous section, we have seen how skin objects are callable and match the view callable signature.

In BFG we can also define a view using a class which provides __init__ and __call__. The call method must return a response. Using SkinObject we can define the class as follows:

class FrontPageView(object):
    __call__ = SkinObject("index")

    def __init__(self, context, request):
        self.context = context
        self.request = request

When the __call__ attribute is accessed, the view instance dictionary (which in this case has the symbols context and request) is bound to the template. The dictionary is then passed as keyword arguments when the template is called.

While the two patterns are equivalent, using a view allows you to prepare data for the template.

The views are registered using the standard view directive:

<view name="frontpage1" view=".FrontPage" />
<view name="frontpage2" view=".FrontPageView" />

Both yield the exact same output when passed 'Hello world!' as the view context:

    Hello world!

Automatic view registration

To expose the contents of a skin directory as views, we can insert a view registration directive into the skins directive:

<skins path="skins">
   <view />

The view directive has no required attributes, but all the attributes which are applicable for the standalone directive [1] are available, except name which is defined by the component and view which is given by the skin object.

When wrapped inside skins, an option index is available to allow registering default index views (e.g.

<skins path="skins">
   <view index="" />

When an index name is set, a view is registered for the directory path, mapped to the index object in the directory.

Routes integration

We can configure a route to serve up skins registered as views under some path (subpath):


This traverser will convert subpath into a view name.


Included with the package is a factory for Zope Page Templates (with the file extension “.pt”). The Chameleon rendering engine is used.

Page templates registered as skin objects will be called skin templates. Support is provided to locate other skin templates and include them as macros.

Skin expression

This package provides a new expression skin: which will retrieve a skin object by name. Lookups are either absolute or relative.


If the name begins with a slash (“/”) character, it’s considered an absolute lookup, e.g.:

/images/logo.png => "images/logo.png"

This is a placeless lookup.


If the name does not begin with a slash, it is a placeful lookup.

Descending from the current path (given a skin template context), we attempt to locate the skin object at every parent level.

For example, the name "images/logo.png" is relative. If we are rendering the about page, then it will map to:


instead of:


This is akin to acquisition (the object is attempted acquired from the current context and below). It can be used to redefine skin objects for a particular location and below.

>>> print render_view('Hello world!', DummyRequest(), name="about")
 ... <img src="/about/images/logo.png" /> ...

Route expression

The route: expression maps to the repoze.bfg.url.route_url framework function:

<img tal:attributes=”src string:${route: skins}/images/logo.png” />

This is a convenient way to compute the URL for static resources. See the repoze.bfg url documentation for more information on URL generation.

Macro support

Skin templates may define macros. Use the standard macros attribute to reach them:

<html tal:define="master skin: /main_template"
  <body metal:fill-slot="body">

Skin objects can also be used directly as METAL macros. In this case the entire template is rendered:

<html metal:use-macro="skin: /main_template">
  <body metal:fill-slot="body">


The skin objects are instances of the SkinObject base class. We may associate a custom factory for particular file extensions:

class MySkinObject(SkinObject):

We register the class as a named utility component:


Reload support

When the global setting debug is set (to any non-trivial value), skin objects are discovered at run-time and files are automatically reloaded when changed.


0.17 (2009-11-16)

  • Skin objects used as descriptors now pass on the class instance dict as the keyword argument dictionary.

  • Skin templates may now be used as macros.

  • Make sure expression syntax is correct.

0.16 (2009-11-14)

  • Acquisition-like skin object lookup from within templates, e.g. skin: main_template will try to acquire the object from the current skin object path (if applicable), while skin: /main_template will always use an absolute (direct) lookup.

0.15 (2009-11-12)

  • Make name attribute public.

  • Normalize path (ZCML does this, but we might be used imperatively).

  • Raise runtime-error if view is attempted registered for unknown skin object (should never happen, but did because of an internal bug).

0.14 (2009-11-09)

  • Look up skin object on call if object has not been resolved.

  • Added index view registration option.

  • Use Chameleon egg.

  • Pin package versions for testing.

0.13 (2009-10-30)

  • Rewrite. Backwards-compatibility broken.

    Migration path:

    Skins registrartion directive renamed to <bfg:skins>.

    To register views for skin objects, the <bfg:view> directive should be used inside a <bfg:skins> declaration. See documentation.

    Previous users should consult documentation for more information.

  • Made compatible with repoze.bfg 1.1a4.

  • Disuse component.adapts (unuseable in any BFG app), to make compatible with repoze.bfg 1.1a6+.

0.12 (2009-02-12)

  • Added convenience method get_skin_template_view. [malthe]

  • The get_skin_template method now accepts an optional request_type parameter, which takes priority in adaptation. [malthe]

  • The provides parameter has been retired; instead, a class parameter may be provided. By default this is set to the SkinTemplate class; to register a view, simply set it to SkinTemplateView (full module path required). [malthe]

0.11 (2009-02-09)

  • View permission is now only registered if a view must be provided. [malthe]

  • Multiple interfaces may be specified as provides. [malthe]

0.10 (2009-01-28)

  • Added parameter content_type which will set the content type of the view response. [malthe]

  • Added macros attribute to the template object. [malthe]

0.9 (2008-12-05)

  • Updated signatures for skin template factory lookup functions. [malthe]

  • Added support for skin api methods. [malthe]

0.8 (2008-12-05)

  • Provide ISkinMacro unless provides is set; however, always provide ISkinTemplate. Meanwhile, the macro accessor looks only for skin templates registered for the ISkinMacro interface. [malthe]

0.7 (2008-12-04)

  • If provides is set, do not automatically provide the ISkinTemplate interface as well; this behavior made it difficult to program cascading rendering schemes. [malthe]

  • Keyword-arguments are now accepted by the utility methods for rendering skin templates using Python. [malthe]

  • Added security assertions to macro rendering function to prevent infinite loop if a template tries to render itself. [malthe]

0.6 (2008-12-03)

  • Do not register macro components separately, but make them available from the macro attribute of a skin template. [malthe]

0.5 (2008-12-03)

  • Added component lookup scheme for the bound skin template object which makes skin API components available using get_<name> where <name> is the component name. [malthe]

  • Restructured package and changed look up scheme for skin APIs and macros. A symbol template is now available to skin templates; from this object, methods get_api and get_macro can be used to look up skin APIs and macros, respectively. [malthe]

  • Added render_skin_template_to_response and render_skin_template methods for general template rendering. [fairwinds]

0.4 (2008-11-13)

  • Added name attribute to skin template interface. [malthe]

  • No longer provide repoze.bfg.interfaces.IView by default; the provides attribute may now be used to specify an additional interface which the skin templates will provide. [malthe]

0.3 (2008-10-29)

  • Fix performance issue where template objects would be instantiated at every call. [malthe]

  • Pass keyword arguments to skin template callable. [malthe]

  • Instantiate page template directly. [malthe]

0.2 (2008-10-03)

  • Templates located in subdirectories are now named by replacing the operating system path separator with a forward slash symbol (often this will be the same character); before a dot ‘.’ was used. [malthe]

  • Added Template API base class. [malthe]

  • Renamed IApi to ITemplateAPI. [malthe]

  • Template API components should adapt (context, request, template), where template is the skin template object (such an API might need to provide access to the template file itself, in order to get a path to resources local to the template). [malthe]

  • Added render method to skin template class to allow rendering to a string instead of to a WebOb response. [malthe]

  • Renamed package to repoze.bfg.skins [seletz]

  • Added logic to allow registering and acquiring template API components from templates. [malthe]

  • Changed the Skin Template View to be a class, and added a minimal interface ISkinTemplate to access the template path [seletz]

  • Fixed a bug where we did not tear down the tests correctly [seletz]

  • Fixed bug where the INewRequest event handler would call templates when checking for their existence [seletz]

0.1 (2008-09-25)

  • Initial release [malthe]

  • Added support to dynamically register templates if they are added to a registered template directory [seletz]

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