Display forms

Using widgets in display mode

Both forms and widgets support the concept of a “mode”. The form’s mode acts as a default for its widgets. The most commonly used mode is ‘input’, as indicated by the constant z3c.form.interfaces.INPUT_MODE, but there is also ‘hidden’ (HIDDEN_MODE) and ‘display’ (DISPLAY_MODE). The latter is the form mode for display forms.

Display forms derive from z3c.form.display.DisplayForm, which is extended by plone.directives.dexterity.DisplayForm. This also mixes in plone.autoform.view.WidgetsView, which provides various conveniences for dealing with display mode widgets and fieldsets (groups). Note that this is a “schema form”, i.e. we must set the schema property (and optionally additional_schemata) to a schema deriving from form.Schema.


If you require a grokked alternative that is not a schema form, you can derive from z3c.form.form.DisplayForm and plone.directives.form.form.GrokkedForm.

Display forms are not very common outside framework code. In most cases, it is easier to just create a standard view that renders the context. In a framework such as Dexterity, display forms are used as the default views of content items. The main reason to use display forms for anything bespoke is to use a complex widget that has a display mode rendering that is difficult to replicate in a custom template.

It is also possible to put some widgets into input mode (by setting the mode attribute in the updateWidgets() hook), thus placing a widget into a form that is otherwise not managed by z3c.form.

Display forms are used much like standard views. For example:

from five import grok
from plone.supermodel import model
from plone.directives import dexterity, form


class IMyContent(model.Schema):


class MyDisplayForm(dexterity.DisplayForm):

There would typically also be a template associated with this class. This uses standard five.grok view semantics. If the display form above was in a module called display.py, a template may be found in display_templates/mydisplayform.pt.

The DisplayForm base class in plone.directives.form makes the following view attributes available to the template:

  • view.w is a dictionary of all the display widgets, keyed by field names. This includes widgets from alternative fieldsets.
  • view.widgets contains a list of widgets in schema order for the default fieldset.
  • view.groups contains a list of fieldsets in fieldset order.
  • view.fieldsets contains a dict mapping fieldset name to fieldset
  • On a fieldset (group), you can access a widgets list to get widgets in that fieldset

The w dict is the mostly commonly used. To render a widget named foo in the template, we could do:

<span tal:replace="structure view/w/foo/render" />