A Plone specific integration and HTML mark-up for z3c.form
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A Plone specific integration and HTML mark-up for z3c.form.


This Plone package is aimed for developers who want to create forms in Python code.

Please read the documentation for z3c.form, which contains important information about using z3c.form in Zope 2 in general. For the most part, that package contains the "active" parts that you need to know about, and this package provides "passive" overrides that make the forms integrate with Plone.


Plone 4.1 and later include plone.app.z3cform in Plone core. Older versions need to install the addon separately as your own add-on dependency.


The following Plone and z3c.form integration is added

  • Plone main_template.pt integration
  • Plone specific widget frame
  • Date/time pickers
  • WYSIWYG widget (TinyMCE visual editor with Plone support)
  • CRUD forms

Out of the box form templates

The form and widget templates are applied in the following order

  • plone.app.z3cform specific
  • plone.z3cform specific
  • z3c.form specific

plone.app.z3cform package overrides the @@ploneform-macros view from plone.z3cform, using standard Plone markup for form fields, fieldsets, etc.

All the macros described in plone.z3cform are still available. In addition, you can use the widget_rendering macro to render all the default widgets, but none of the fieldsets (groups) or the fieldset headers (which would be rendered with the fields macro).

Each widget is rendered using the @@ploneform-render-widget view, which by default includes the widget's label, required indicator, description, errors, and the result of widget.render(). This view may be overridden for particular widget types in order to customize this widget chrome.

Customizing form behavior

Form method

If your form instance defines a property called method it allows you to set whether form is HTTP POST or HTTP GET. The default is POST. This translates to <form method="post"> attribute.


class HolidayServiceSearchForm(form.Form):
        """ Example search form of which results can be bookmarked.

        Bookmarking is possible because we use HTTP GET method.

        method = "get"

Form action

Form action property defines HTTP target where the form is posted. The default is the same page where the form was rendered, request.getURL().


class HolidayServiceSearchForm(form.Form):

    def action(self):
        """ Redefine <form action=''> attribute.

        We use URL fragment to define the <a> anchor
        were we directly scroll at the results when the form is posted,
        skipping unnecessary form fields part. The user can scroll
        back there if he/she wants modify the parameters.

        # Context item URL + form view name + link fragment.
        # This works for HTTP GET forms only.
        # Note that we cannot use request.getURL() as it might contain
        # 1) prior fragment 2) GET query parameters messing up the UrL
        return self.context.absolute_url() + "/holidayservice_view" + "#searched"

Fieldsets and tabs

You can fieldsets to your form if you subclass the form from z3c.form.group.GroupForm. The default behavior of Plone is to turn these fieldsets to tabs (as seen on any Edit view of content item).

You can disable this behavior for your form:

class ReportForm(z3c.form.group.GroupForm, z3c.form.form.Form):

    # Disable turn fieldsets to tabs behavior
    enable_form_tabbing  = False

Unload protection

The default behaviour on Plone is to add a confirm box if you leave a form you have modified without having submitted it.

You can disable this behavior for your form:

class SearchForm(z3c.form.group.GroupForm, z3c.form.form.Form):

    # Disable unload protection behavior
    enable_unload_protection  = False

CSRF Protection

A common vulnerability affecting web forms is cross-site request forgery (CSRF). This attack occurs when the user of your site visits a third-party site that uses Javascript to post to a URL on your site without the user's knowledge, taking advantage of the user's active session.

plone.app.z3cform can protect against this type of attack by adding a unique token as a hidden input when rendering the form, and checking to make sure it is present as a request parameter when form actions are executed.

To turn on this protection, enable the form's enableCSRFProtection attribute. Example:

class PasswordForm(form.Form):
    """Form to set the user's password."""
    enableCSRFProtection = True

Form main template override

Forms are framed by FormWrapper views. It places rendered form inside Plone page frame. The default FormWrapper is supplied automatically, but you can override it.

Below is a placeholder example with few <select> inputs.

Example reporter.py:

import zope.schema
import zope.interface
from zope.i18nmessageid import MessageFactory
from Products.Five.browser.pagetemplatefile import ViewPageTemplateFile as FiveViewPageTemplateFile

from zope.schema.vocabulary import SimpleVocabulary
from zope.schema.vocabulary import SimpleTerm

import z3c.form

import plone.app.z3cform
import plone.z3cform.templates

_ = MessageFactory('your.addon')

def make_terms(items):
    """ Create zope.schema terms for vocab from tuples """
    terms = [SimpleTerm(value=pair[0], token=pair[0], title=pair[1]) for pair in items]
    return terms

output_type_vocab = SimpleVocabulary(make_terms([("list", "Patient list"), ("summary", "Summary")]))

class IReportSchema(zope.interface.Interface):
    """ Define reporter form fields """
    outputType = zope.schema.Choice(
        title=u"Output type",
        description=u"How do you want the output",

    country = zope.schema.Choice(
        description=u"Which country to report",

    hospital = zope.schema.Choice(
        description=u"Which hospital to report",

class ReportForm(z3c.form.form.Form):
    """ A form to output a HTML report from chosen parameters """

    fields = z3c.form.field.Fields(IReportSchema)

    ignoreContext = True

    output = None

    @z3c.form.button.buttonAndHandler(_('Make Report'), name='report')
    def report(self, action):
        data, errors = self.extractData()
        if errors:
            self.status = "Please correct errors"

        # Create sample item which we can consume in the page template
        self.output = dict(country="foobar")

        self.status = _(u"Report complete")

# IF you want to customize form frame you need to make a custom FormWrapper view around it
# (default plone.z3cform.layout.FormWrapper is supplied automatically with form.py templates)
report_form_frame = plone.z3cform.layout.wrap_form(ReportForm, index=FiveViewPageTemplateFile("templates/reporter.pt"))

Example configure.zcml:




Example templates/reporter.html:

<html metal:use-macro="context/main_template/macros/master"

    <metal:block fill-slot="main">

        <h1 class="documentFirstHeading" tal:content="view/label | nothing" />

        <div id="content-core">

            <div id="form-input">
                <span tal:replace="structure view/contents" />

            <div id="form-output" tal:condition="view/form_instance/output">
                Chosen country: <b tal:content="view/form_instance/output/country" />



Widget frame override

You can override widget templates as instructed for z3c.form. plone.app.z3cform renders a frame around each widget which usually consists of

  • Label
  • Required marker
  • Description

You might want to customize this widget frame for your own form. Below is an example how to do it.

  • Copy widget.pt to your own package and customize it in way you wish
  • Add the following to configure.zcml
  • Create a new marker interface in Python code
from zope.interface import Interface

class IDemoWidget(Interface):
  • Then apply this marker interface to all of your widgets in form.update()
from zope.interface import alsoProvides

class MyForm(...):
    def update(self):
        super(MyForm, self).update()
        for widget in form.widgets.values():
            alsoProvides(widget, IDemoWidget)

Hide fields that have no value

The .empty css class marks the fields that have no value. If you don't want to display these fields in view mode, add the following css in your theme:

.template-view .empty.field {
   display: none;

Add additional parameters to widgets

You can add additional parameters to widgets defined in this package via the plone.autoform.widgets.ParameterizedWidget

from plone.app.z3c.form.widget import DateWidget
MyDateWidget = ParameterizedWidget(DateWidget, wrapper_css_class='event_start')

or via directives

from plone.app.z3c.form.widget import DateWidget

class IMyEventBehavior(model.Schema):

    widget('event_start', DateWidget, wrapper_css_class='event_start')
    event_start = schema.TextLine(


To test plone.app.z3form it is recommended to use plone.app.testing function test layer which will do plone.app.z3cform setup for you. Read plone.app.z3cform manual for further instructions.

If you still need to test forms on lower level in unit tests you need to enable plone.app.z3cform support manually. Below is an example:

import unittest

from zope.interface import alsoProvides
from zope.publisher.browser import setDefaultSkin

from z3c.form.interfaces import IFormLayer

class TestFilteringIntegration(unittest.TestCase):
    """ Test that filtering options work on the form """


    def setUp(self):
        super(TestFilteringIntegration, self).setUp()
        request = self.layer["request"]
        alsoProvides(request, IFormLayer) #suitable for testing z3c.form views

    def test_report_form_filtering(self):
        reporter = ReportForm(self.layer["portal"], self.layer["request"])


Here are some common errors you might encounter with plone.app.z3cform.

ComponentLookupError in updateWidgets()

Traceback (innermost last):
  Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 119, in publish
  Module ZPublisher.mapply, line 88, in mapply
  Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 42, in call_object
  Module plone.z3cform.layout, line 64, in __call__
  Module plone.z3cform.layout, line 54, in update
  Module getpaid.expercash.browser.views, line 63, in update
  Module z3c.form.form, line 208, in update
  Module z3c.form.form, line 149, in update
  Module z3c.form.form, line 128, in updateWidgets
  Module zope.component._api, line 103, in getMultiAdapter
ComponentLookupError: ((<getpaid.expercash.browser.views.CheckoutForm object at 0xdb052ac>, <HTTPRequest, URL=http://localhost:8080/test/@@getpaid-checkout-wizard>, <PloneSite at /test>), <InterfaceClass z3c.form.interfaces.IWidgets>, u'')

plone.app.z3cform layers are not in place (configuration ZCML is not read). You probably forgot to include plone.app.z3cform in your product's configuration.zcml. See Installation above.

KSS inline validation (deprecated)


Plone 4.3+ and later no longer includes KSS

This package installs AJAX handlers to perform inline field validation. On any form, the field will be validated when the user blurs a field.

This relies on the KSS framework, and is only installed if plone.app.kss is available. If you are using a custom form, note that you must define the following "kassattr" variables:

  • formname, the name of the form view, defined on the <form /> element.
  • fieldname, the name of the current field (same as the widget name), defined on an element wrapping the field.
  • fieldset, defined for non-default fieldsets on the <fieldset /> element.

This also assumes the standard Plone form markup is used. See templaes/macros.pt for details.