Zope 3 Tutorial (Part 2)


Zope 3 has a concept of View Components, which could be any sort of view on an object - HTML, FTP, XMLRPC, or even native widgets for an operating system. Views and controllers specific to an HTML interface are typically thought of as "browser" views. There's a browser ZCML namespace, where most web views are configured, and it seems to be a common practice to group code for web browsers in a python package or module called browser to connote the type of view that it is. XMLRPC views are typically bundled in a module or package called xmlrpc, etc. There is no enforcement of these names.

So what we're interested in now is making a custom look for a web browser. Zope 3's browser UI system uses a concept of skins, which are made up of layers. Browser views are assigned to layers. When a view needs to be looked up, the Zope 3 framework goes through the layers defined for the current skin and looks up the requested view until it finds it. This is similar, I suppose, to how a CSS class is looked up. The HTML code may say to use class 'highlight', and the style sheets are gone through in order until 'highlight' is found. Replacement style sheets may be used (such as print or presentation) that display the 'highlight' class differently.

To make the collector's skin, I made a new directory in the collector package named browser, and made it into a Python package by adding an empty __init__.py. I then made a sub-package of browser called skin, and added an empty __init__.py there as well.


Once there, I made a new file called view_macros.pt. Using the 'Developing New Skins' chapter of the Zope 3 Developers Book for guidance, I created the following template (Note that this is done using Zope Page Templates):

<html metal:define-macro="page" i18n:domain="collector">

<head metal:define-macro="head">
  <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
  <link href="context/++resource++tuto.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"
        tal:attributes="href context/++resource++tuto.css" />

<body metal:define-macro="body">
<div id="uberclass">
  <div id="sidebar">
    <ul id="navigation">
    <div metal:define-slot="sidebox">
      <li metal:define-slot="homelink">
        <a href="../@@CollectorMain.html" i18n:translate="">Home</a>
      <li class="last" metal:define-slot="addticketlink">
        <a href="/@@+/AddTicket.html" i18n:translate="">Add Ticket</a>
  <div id="container">
    <div metal:define-slot="mainbox">
      <h1 i18n:translate="">Collector</h1>
      <h2 i18n:translate="">Ticket Collector Software</h2>
      <p i18n:translate="">Use the left navigation bar
        for accessing the functionalities of Collector.</p>


I followed that with a CSS file called todo.css, with the following content:

a:link {color:blue}
a:visited {color:blue}
a:active {color:blue}
a:hover {color:blue}

div#header h1,
div#container h1 {
    font-size: 35px;

div#header h2,
div#container h2,
div#sidebar ul li.head {
    font-size: 14px;

div#sidebar ul li a, div#container p {
    font-size: 12px;

/* See the tar ball for full CSS file. */

Now for the important part - wiring these two files into Zope so that we can use them in the collector application. To do this, we need to define a couple of things:

  1. A new skin
  2. Resources and Pages - The CSS file, since it's not dynamic, can be defined as a resource, while the template can be defined as a page (basically a complete HTML view).


Create collector/browser/skin/interfaces.py and add this content:

from zope.app.rotterdam import Rotterdam

class IZopetica(Rotterdam):

With that list in mind, we add a file in collector/browser/skin called configure.zcml with the following contents:




  <resource name="tuto.css" file="tuto.css" layer="tuto"/>



As you can see, it pretty much maps to the list of items above. A layer is made, named todo, and a skin of the same name is made with the layers todo, rotterdam, and default. When the todo skin is used, views will be looked up in that order, starting from the beginning of the chain. After that, we define the CSS file as a resource to be used in the todo layer. And then we define a page for the template, also in the todo layer. Note that there's a for="*" in the page declaration. That means the page is a browser view that can be used for any object in the system. We want this because this page defines the basic ZPT METAL macros that all other pages/templates will use.

Run and see the skin

Change the browser/configure.zcml like this:




        description="A Collector"

  <include package=".skin" />


Now visit, http://localhost:8080/++skin++tuto/ try adding collector objects and click on the button, see how it looks like!


Part of this tutorial is taken from Jeffrey Shell's Simple Todo Application, which is maintained by Philipp von Weitershausen http://worldcookery.com/files/jeffshell-todo/

I tried this out. It does not seem to work. Here are my observations:

  1. There is no collectormain class. The example code is incomplete.
  2. There is text about downloading a tar ball, but I cannot find the tar ball.
  3. The name of the interface/skin changes from todo to tuto