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Usage and goal

Add collective.catalogcleanup to the eggs in your buildout (and to zcml on Plone 3.2 or earlier). This makes a browser view available on the Plone Site root: @@collective-catalogcleanup.

This goes through the portal_catalog and removes all catalog brains for which a getObject call does not work. In other words, it removes brains that no longer belong to an actual object in the site.

Similar cleanups are done for the uid_catalog and the reference_catalog.

The goal is to get rid of outdated brains that could otherwise cause problems, for example during an upgrade to Plone 4.

@@collective-catalogcleanup by default does a dry run, so it only reports problems. Call it with @@collective-catalogcleanup?dry_run=false to perform the actual cleanup.


So what does the catalog cleanup do?

  • It removes stuff! You must make a backup first!

  • It handles these catalogs: portal_catalog, uid_catalog, reference_catalog.

  • For each catalog it reports the number of catalog brains it contains.

  • It removes brains that have a UID of None.

  • It removes brains of which the object is broken. This can happen when the object belongs to a package that is no longer available in the Plone Site.

  • It removes brains of which the object cannot be found.

  • It looks for non unique uids. There can be some legitimate reasons why some brains may have the same UID, for example when they belong to comments: the UID is inherited from the parent object. Those items are kept. For other items we accept one object and we give the other objects a new UID.

  • References between objects that no longer exist or are broken, will be removed.

  • A simple report will be printed in the browser. For one catalog it may look like this:

    Handling catalog portal_catalog.
    Brains in portal_catalog: 20148
    portal_catalog: removed 25 brains without UID.
    portal_catalog: removed 100 brains with status broken.
    portal_catalog: removed 5 brains with status notfound.
    portal_catalog: 249 non unique uids found.
    portal_catalog: 249 items given new unique uids.
  • The instance log may contain more info, about individual items.


  • A clear and rebuild of the portal_catalog should have partially the same effect, but it will likely take a lot longer and it will not solve some of the problems mentioned above. But this is definitely the most logical thing to try before giving collective.catalogcleanup a go.


I have tried this on Plone 3.3, Plone 4 and Plone 5.

It is automatically tested by Travis on Plone 4.3, 5.0, and 5.1, all on Python 2.7.


Maurits van Rees