Maik Derstappen: Efficient Backend development for Plone

published Oct 25, 2021

Talk by Maik Derstappen at the online Plone Conference 2021.

How can we efficiently develop a Plone backend? What do we expect from the tooling?

  • Should be easy to adopt for new developers
  • reduced development time
  • following best practices
  • provide test infrastructure and basic tests

These are our two friends:

  • plonecli
  • plone-snippets for VS Code

plonecli is a command line tool, installed with pip together with bobtemplates.plone, here version 6.0b10. With it, you iteratively enhance your add-on.

Let's create a restaurant add-on with a content type for the menu data, a vocabulary for the menu category, control panel, plus a bit more.


plonecli create addon
plonecli add controlpanel

Open Visual Studio Code (my preferred editor) and edit the created Add a field: a list of categories. Now add a vocabulary for this:

plonecli add vocabulary

Edit to let this get the contents of the controlpanel field from the registry.

Add two content types: Menu and Menu Item:

plonecli add content_type

Edit When you have plone-vs-snippets installed in VS Code, it is easy to add fields. Add a photo (NamedBlobImage), menu_category (Choice with your menu vocabulary name).

Edit the types/*.xml files to enable behaviors like plone.basic and plone.namefromtitle.

Now get a local environment, mostly by running buildout, and start the instance, with:

plonecli build
plonecli serve

On http://localhost:8080 create a Plone Site and activate and plone.restapi. Go to the Restaurant control panel and add a few categories, like Starters, Main, Desserts. Now you can add a Menu folder and add menu items in various categories.

The basic data is available through the REST api. But we want more. Add a service RelatedDishes:

plonecli add restapi service

Edit api/services/related_dishes/ and use api.content.find to look for other Menu Items with the same category.

To make searching easier, edit profiles/default/catalog.xml. With the Plone VS code snippets, you can agains easily add a catalog index here. We will need an upgrade step to apply this:

plonecli add upgrade_step

Restart, reindex, and it works.

Please help by contributing templates to bobtemplates.plone or create an issue when you think a template can be improved. Or create an own similar package, like bobtemplates.migration.

Ideas for the future:

  • Rest API support question in addon template
  • Rest API sub-templates for serializer and deserializer
  • support for Mosaic tiles
  • graphical UI (ncurses) to make choices easier