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Import and export


Importing and exporting content between Plone sites and other CMS sysstems


Goal: you want to import and export content between Plone sites.

  • If both sites have identical version and add-on product configuration you can use Zope Management Interface export/import
  • If they don't and you e.g. have different Plone version on source and target site, you need to use add-on product like quintagroup.transmogrifier


quintagroup.transmogrifier is an add-on product which provides Plone adminstrator user interface for exporting and importing content.

Internally, it uses collective.transmogrifier package which itself does not provide any kind of user interface.

Transmogrifier is a tool which serializes and deserializes content based o n pipelines. Pipelines are written in .ini-like plain text file based file format and they consists of sections. Blueprints are self-contained reusable components which can be recycled between different content migration pocesses. Section is based on a blueprint and defines some configurable parameters for this blueprint.

Exporting single folder only

Here is explained how to export and import Plone CMS folders between different Plonen versions, or different CMS systems, using XML based content marshalling and quintagroup.transmogrifier.

This overcomes some problems with Zope management based export/import which uses Python pickles and thus needs identical codebase on the source and target site. Exporting and importing between Plone 3 and Plone 4 is possible.

You can limit export to cover source content to with arbitary :doc:`portal_catalog </searching_and_indexing/query>` conditions. If you limit source content by path you can effectively export single folder only.

The recipe described here assumes the exported and imported site have the same path for the folder. Manually rename or move the folder on source or target to change its location.


The instructions here requires quintagroup.transmogrify version 0.4 or later.

Source site

Execute these actions on the source Plone site.

Install quintagroup.transmogrifier via buildout and Plone add-on control panel.

Go to Site setup > Content migration.

Edit export settings. Remove unnecessary pipeline entries by looking the example below. Add a new catalogsource blueprint. The exclude-contained option makes sure we do not export unnecessary items from the parent folders:

pipeline =

blueprint = quintagroup.transmogrifier.catalogsource
path = query= /isleofback/ohjeet
exclude-contained = true

Also we need to include some field-level exluding bits for the folders, because the target site does not necessary have the same content types available as the source site and this may prevent setting up folderish content settings:

blueprint = quintagroup.transmogrifier.marshaller
exclude =

You might want to remove other, unneeded blueprints from the export pipeline. For example, portletexporter may cause problems if the source and target site do not have the same portlet code.

Go to Zope Management Interface > portal_setup > Export tab. Check Content (transmogrifier) step. Press Export Selected Steps at the bottom of the page. Now a .tar.gz file will be downloaded.

During the export process instance.log file is updated with status info. You might want to follow it in real-time from UNIX command line

tail -f var/log/instance.log

In log you should see entries running like:

2010-12-27 12:05:30 INFO EXPORTING _path=sisalto/ohjeet/yritys/yritysten-tuotetiedot/tuotekortti
2010-12-27 12:05:30 INFO EXPORTING
Pipeline processing time: 00:00:02
          94 items were generated in source sections
          94 went through full pipeline
           0 were discarded in some section

Target site

Execute these actions on the target Plone site.

Install quintagroup.transmogrifier via buildout and Plone add-on control panel.

Open target site instance.log file for monitoring the import process

tail -f var/log/instance.log

Go to Zope Management Interface > portal_setup > Import tab.

Choose downloaded setup_toolxxx.tar.gz file at the bottom of the page, for Import uploaded tarball input.

Run import and monitoring log file for possible errors. Note that the import completes even if the target site would not able to process incoming content. If there is a serious problem the import seems to complete succesfully, but no content is created.


Currently export/import is not perfect. For example, ZMI content type icons are currently lost in the process. It is recommended to do a test run on a staging server before doing this process on a production server. Also, the item order in the folder is being lost.

More information

Fast content import

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