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Dexterity-based content types for Plone
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Latest commit 9818589 @mauritsvanrees mauritsvanrees Back to development: 1.2.8
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README.rst documentation

Introduction provides default content types for Plone based on Dexterity. It replaces Products.ATContentTypes and provides the default-types in Plone 5. It can be used as an add-on in Plone 4.x.

It contains the following types:

  • Collection
  • Document
  • Event
  • File
  • Folder
  • Image
  • Link
  • News Item

The main difference from a users perspective is that these types are editable and extendable through-the-web. This means you can add or remove fields and behaviors using the control-panel "Dexterity Content Types" (/@@dexterity-types).

Warning: Using on a site with existing Archetypes-based content requires migrating the sites content. Please see the chapter "Migration".


The versions 1.2.x (build from the master-branch) are used in Plone 5.

Version 1.1b5 and later are tested with Plone 4.3.x. The versions build from the branch 1.1.x will stay compatible with Plone 4.3.x.

For support of Plone 4.1 and 4.2 please use versions 1.0.x. Please note that they do not provide the full functionality.


This package is included in Plone 5 and does not need installation.

To use in Plone 4.x add this line in the eggs section of your buildout.cfg

eggs =

If you have a Plone site with mixed Archetypes and Dexterity content use the extra requirement atrefs.

eggs =
    ... [atrefs]

This will also install the package that allows you to reference dexterity-based content from archetypes-based content. You will have to enable the behavior for all types that need to be referenced by Archetypes-content.

What happens to existing content?

If you install in a existing site all Archetypes-based content of the default types still exists and can be viewed but can't be edited. On installation removes the type-definitions for the old default-types like this:

<object name="Document" remove="True" />

They are then replaced by new Definitions:

<object meta_type="Dexterity FTI" name="Document" />

To make the existing content editable again you need to migrate it to Dexterity (please see the section on migration) or uninstall (see the section on uninstalling).

Archetypes-based content provided by add-ons (e.g. Products.PloneFormGen) will still work since only the default-types are replaced.

If you install on a fresh site (i.e. when no content has been edited or added) the usual default-content (Events, News, Members...) will be created as dexterity-content.


Uninstalling the default-types is not officially supported in Plone 5. If you really want to switch back to Archetypes-based types you have to to the following:

  • Go to the ZMI
  • In portal_types delete the default-types
  • In portal_setup navigate to the tab 'import', select the profile 'Archetypes Content Types for Plone' and install all steps including dependencies.

Any content you created based on will no longer be editable until you reinstall


  • >= 2.0.7. Dexterity is shipped with Plone 4.3.x. Version pins for Dexterity are included in Plone 4.2.x. For Plone 4.1.x you need to pin the right version for Dexterity in your buildout. See Installing Dexterity on older versions of Plone.
  • plone.dexterity >= 2.2.1. Olders version of plone.dexterity break the rss-views because uses behaviors for the richtext-fields.
  • >= 1.1.4. This provides the behaviors used for the event-type.
  • >= 2.5a1. In older version the event-portlet will not work with the new event-type.

These are the version-pins for Plone 4.3.4:

versions = versions

[versions] = 1.1.4

Plone 4.3.3 also needs = 2.5.2

Plone-versions before 4.3.3 need to pin more packages:

versions = versions

plone.dexterity = 2.2.1 = 2.0.11
plone.schemaeditor = 1.3.5 = 1.1b1 = 2.5.1

For migrations to work you need at least Products.contentmigration = 2.1.9 and (part of Plone since Plone 4.1.0).


Migrating the default-types

To migrate your existing content from Archetypes to Dexterity use the form at /@@atct_migrator.

Migrating Archetypes-based default-types content to can migrate the following archetypes-based default types:

  • Document
  • Event
  • File
  • Folder
  • Image
  • Link
  • News Item
  • Collection
  • Topic (old Collections)

The following non-default types will also be migrated:

  • The AT-based Event-type provided by
  • The DX-based Event-type provided by
  • The Event-type provided by until version 1.0
  • News Items with blobs (provoded by
  • Files and Images without blobs

The migration tries to keep most features (including portlets, comments, contentrules, local roles and local workflows).

Warning: Versions of content are not migrated. During migration you will lose all old revisions.

Migrating only certain types

There is also a view /@@pac_installer that allows you to install without replacing those archetypes-types with the dexterity-types of which there are existing objects in the site. Afterwards it redirects to the migration-form and only the types that you chose to migrate are installed. This allows you to keep certain types as archetypes while migrating others to dexterity (for example if you did heavy customizations of these types and do not have the time to reimplement these features in dexterity.

Migrating Topics

Topics are migrated to Collections. However, the old type Topic had support for Subtopics, a feature that does not exit in Collections. Subtopics are nested Topics that inherited search terms from their parents. Since Collections are not folderish (i.e. they cannot contain content) Subtopics cannot be migrated unless Collections are made folderish (i.e. that they can contain content). Also the feature that search terms can be inherited from parents does not exist for Collections.

The migration-form will warn you if you have subtopics in your site and your Collections are not folderish. You then have several options:

  1. You can delete all Subtopics before migrating and achieve their functionality in another way (e.g. using eea.facetednavigation).

  2. You can choose to not migrate Topics by not selecting them. This will keep your old Topics functional. You can still add new Collections.

  3. You can modify Collections to be folderish or create your own folderish content-type. That type would need a base-class that inherits from plone.dexterity.content.Container instead of plone.dexterity.content.Item:

    from import ICollection
    from plone.dexterity.content import Container
    from zope.interface import implementer
    class FolderishCollection(Container):

    You can either use a new Collection type or simply modify the default type to use this new base-class by overriding the klass-attribute of the default Collection. To override add a Collection.xml in your own package:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <object name="Collection" meta_type="Dexterity FTI">
     <property name="klass">my.package.content.FolderishCollection</property>

    If you really need it you could add the functionality to inherit search terms to your own folderish Collections by extending the behavior like in the example at

Migrating content that is translated with LinguaPlone

Since LinguaPlone does not support Dexterity you need to migrate from LinguaPlone to ( The migration from Products.LinguaPlone to should happen before the migration from Archetypes to For details on the migration see

Migrating default-content that was extended with archetypes.schemaextender

The migration-form warns you if any of your old types were extended with aditional fields using archetypes.schemaextender. The data contained in these fields will be lost during migration (with the exception of images added with collective.contentleadimage).

To keep the data you would need to write a custom migration for your types dexterity-behaviors for the functionality provided by the schemaextenders. This is an advanced development task and beyond the scope of this documentation.

Migrating images created with collective.contentleadimage

collective.contentleadimage was a popular addon that allows you to add images to any content in your site by extending the default types. To make sure these images are kept during migration you have to enable the behavior "Lead Image" on all those types where you want to migrate images added using collective.contentleadimage.

The old types that use leadimages are listed in the navigation-form with the comment "extended fields: 'leadImage', 'leadImage_caption'". The migration-form informs you which new types have the behavior enabled and which do not. Depending on the way you installed you might have to first install these types by (re-)installing

Migrating custom content

During migrations of the default types any custom content-types will not be migrated and will continue to work as expected.

Using the migration-form to migrate custom content

To help you migrating these types to Dexterity contains a migration form (/@@custom_migration) that allows you to migrate any (custom or default) Archetypes-type to any (custom or default) Dexterity-type. The only requirement is that the target-type (the Dexterity-type you want to migrate to) has to exist and that the class of the old type is still present. It makes no difference if the type you are migrating from is still registered in portal_types or is already removed or replaced by a dexterity-version using the same name.

In the form /@@custom_migration you can select a Dexterity-type for any Archetypes-types that exists in the portal. You can then map the source-types fields to the targets fields. You can also choose to ignore fields. You have to take care that the values can be migrated (since there is no validation for that), e.g. it would make no sense to migrate a ImageField to a TextField. There are build-in methods for most field-types, custom or rarely used fields might not migrate properly (you can create a issue if you miss a migration that is not yet supported).

After you map the fields you can test the configuration. During a test one item will be test-migrated and Plone checks if the migrated item will be accessible without throwing a errors. After the test any changes will be rolled back.

Migrating custom types in your own code

It is recommended that you reuse the migration-code provided by in for custom migrations.

To do this you have to simply pass a mapping of source- to target-fields to a migration-method for each type.

from import migrateCustomAT

def my_custom_migration():
    fields_mapping = (
            {'AT_field_name': 'some_field',
             'DX_field_name': 'description',

            # Migrate AT imagefield to DX imagefield using the mapping in
            {'AT_field_name': 'some_atimage',
             'DX_field_name': 'some_dximage',
             'DX_field_type': 'NamedBlobImage',

A field-dict without a key DX_field_type from one of the migrators in will always use as its migration-method. That can migrate most field-types where the value does not have to change (e.g. strings, lists, tuples, dicts etc.). has special field migrators for the following field-types: RichText, NamedBlobFile, NamedBlobImage, Datetime, Date. They transform values from the Archetypes-version of such fields to their Dexterity counterparts.

Custom field-migrators

If you use rare or custom fields or want to apply special transforms to your data while migrating you can pass custom methods as field_migrator with the fields_mapping. This way you can migrate fields that are usually not migrateable.

Here is an example where this method is used to migrate a Richtext-Field into a Tuple-Field by passing the custom field-migrator some_field_migrator. In such a custom migrator you can do just about anything you wish.

from import migrateCustomAT

def some_field_migrator(src_obj, dst_obj, src_fieldname, dst_fieldname):
    """A simple example that transforms pipe-delimited richtext to a tuple.
    field = src_obj.getField(src_fieldname)
    at_value = field.get(src_obj)
    at_value = at_value.replace('<p>', '').replace('</p>', '')
    dx_value = [safe_unicode(i) for i in at_value.split('|')]
    setattr(dst_obj, dst_fieldname, tuple(dx_value))

def my_custom_migration():
    fields_mapping = (
            # Migrate using our custom migrator
            {'AT_field_name': 'some_richtext_field',
             'DX_field_name': 'some_tuple_field',
             'field_migrator': some_field_migrator},

Alternatively you could also extends the mapping from to add new or replace existing migrators for specific field-types.

Migrating from old versions of

Before version 1.0a2 the content-items did not implement marker-interfaces. They will break in newer versions since the views are now registered for these interfaces (e.g. To fix this you can call the view /@@fix_base_classes on your site-root.

Since 1.1a1, the Collection type uses the new Collection behavior and the Event type utilizes behaviors from In order to upgrade:

  1. First run the default profile ( or reinstall
  2. Then run the upgrade steps.


When used in Plone 4.x uses the default z3c.form widgets. All widgets work as they used to with Archetypes except for the keywords-widget for which a simple linesfield is used. Replacing that with a nicer implementation is explained below.

It is also possible to use to switch to the widgets that are used in Plone 5.

How to override widgets

To override the default keywords-widgets with a nicer widget you can use the package collective.z3cform.widgets.

Add collective.z3cform.widgets to your buildout and in your own package register the override in your configure.zcml:

<adapter factory=".subjects.SubjectsFieldWidget" />

Then add a file

# -*- coding: UTF-8 -*-
from collective.z3cform.widgets.token_input_widget import TokenInputFieldWidget
from import ICategorization
from import IPloneFormLayer
from z3c.form.interfaces import IFieldWidget
from z3c.form.util import getSpecification
from z3c.form.widget import FieldWidget
from zope.component import adapter
from zope.interface import implementer

@adapter(getSpecification(ICategorization['subjects']), IPloneFormLayer)
def SubjectsFieldWidget(field, request):
    widget = FieldWidget(field, TokenInputFieldWidget(field, request))
    return widget

Once you install collective.z3cform.widgets in the quickinstaller, the new widget will then be used for all types.

Information for Addon-Developers

Design decisions

The schemata for the types File, Image and Link are defined in xml-files using plone.supermodel. This allows the types to be editable trough the web. The types Document, News Item, Folder and Event have no schemata at all but only use behaviors to provide their fields.

Installation as a dependency from another product

If you want to add as a dependency from another products use the profile plone-content in your metadata.xml to have Plone populate a new site with DX-based default-content.


If you use the profile default then the default-content in new sites will still be Archetypes-based. You'll then have to migrate that content using the migration-form @@atct_migrator or delete it by hand.

Using folderish types

At some point all default types will probably be folderish. If you want the default types to be folderish before that happens please look at

Changing the base class for existing objects

If you changed the base-class of existing types (e.g. because you changed them to be folderish) you also need to upgrade the base-class of existing objects. You can use the following form for this: @@base_class_migrator_form.

This form lets you select classes to be updated and shows the number of objects for each class. This form can be used to change the base-class of any dexterity-types instances. The migration will also transform itemish content to folderish content if the new class is folderish. You might want to use the method in your own upgrade-steps.

Extending the types

You have several options:

  1. Extend the types through-the-web by adding new fields or behaviors in the types-controlpanel /@@dexterity-types.

  2. Extend the types with a custom type-profile that extends the existing profile with behaviors, or fields.

    You will first have to add the type to your [yourpackage]/profiles/default/types.xml.

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <object name="portal_types" meta_type="Plone Types Tool">
      <object name="Folder" meta_type="Dexterity FTI" />

    Here is an example that enables the image-behavior for Folders in [yourpackage]/profiles/default/types/Folder.xml:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <object name="Folder" meta_type="Dexterity FTI">
     <property name="behaviors" purge="False">
      <element value=""/>

    By adding a schema-definition to the profile you can add fields.

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <object name="Folder" meta_type="Dexterity FTI">
     <property name="model_file">your.package.content:folder.xml</property>
     <property name="behaviors" purge="False">
      <element value=""/>

    Put the schema-xml in your/package/content/folder.xml (the folder content needs a

    <model xmlns:security=""
        <field name="teaser_title" type="zope.schema.TextLine">
          <title>Teaser title</title>
        <field name="teaser_subtitle" type="zope.schema.Text">
          <title>Teaser subtitle</title>
        <field name="teaser_details" type="">
          <title>Teaser details</title>

You could alternatively override the peroperty model_file of the type-definition with a empty string and use the property schema to provide your custom python-schema.

For more complex features you should always consider create custom behaviors and/or write your own content-types since that will most likely give you more flexibility and less problem when you want to upgrade to a newer version in the future.

For more information on custom dexterity-types and custom behaviors please read the dexterity documentation.

Differences to Products.ATContentTypes

  • The image of the News Item is not a field on the contenttype but a behavior that can add a image to any contenttypes (similar to
  • All richtext-fields are also provided by a reuseable behavior.
  • The functionality to transform (rotate and flip) images has been removed.
  • There is no more field Location. If you need georeferenceable consider using collective.geo.behaviour
  • The link on the image of the newsitem triggers an overlay
  • The link-type now allows the of the variables ${navigation_root_url} and ${portal_url} to construct relative urls.
  • The getQuery() function now returns a list of dict instead of a list of CatalogContentListingObject; use of getRawQuery() is deprecated.
  • The views for Folders and Collections changed their names and now share a common implementation (since version 1.2a8):
    • folder_listing_view (Folders) and collection_view (Collections) -> listing_view (Folders and Collections)
    • folder_summary_view (Folders) and summary_view (Collections) -> summary_view (Folders and Collections)
    • folder_tabular_view (Folders) and tabular_view (Collections) -> tabular_view (Folders and Collections)
    • folder_full_view (Folders) and all_content (Collections) -> full_view (Folders and Collections)
    • atct_album_view (Folders) and thumbnail_view (Collections) -> album_view (Folders and Collections)


Please report issues in the bugtracker at

ValueError on installing

When you try to install < 1.1a1 in a existing site you might get the following error:

  Module Products.GenericSetup.utils, line 509, in _importBody
  Module Products.CMFCore.exportimport.typeinfo, line 60, in _importNode
  Module Products.GenericSetup.utils, line 730, in _initProperties
ValueError: undefined property 'schema'

Before installing you have to reinstall to update collections to the version that uses Dexterity.


The master-branch supports Plone 5 only. From this 1.2.x-releases will be cut.

The 1.1.x-branch supports Plone 4.3.x. From this 1.1.x-releases will be cut.


GNU General Public License, version 2


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