Creating objects


Creating and controlling creation of Plone content items programmatically.

Creating Content Objects

Permission-aware way (Dexterity)

These instructions apply for Dexterity content types.


from plone.dexterity.utils import createContentInContainer

# Factory-type information id is the same as in types.xml
# optionally you can set checkConstraints=False to skip permission checks
item = createContentInContainer(folder, "", title=title)

Permission-aware way (Archetypes and Dexterity)

invokeFactory() is available on all folderish content objects.

invokeFactory() calls the portal_factory persistent utility to create content item.


def createResearcherById(folder, id):
    """ Create one researcher in a folder based on its X id.

    @param id: X id of the researcher

    @returns: Newly created researcher

    # Call X REST service to get JSON blob for this researcher
    # Note: queryById parses JSON back to Python to do some sanity checks for it
    index = XPeopleIndex()
    oraData = index.queryById(id)

    # Need to have temporary id
    id = str(random.randint(0, 99999999))

    folder.invokeFactory("XResearcher", id)
    content = folder[id]

    # XResearcher stores its internal data as JSON
    json_data = json.dumps(oraData)

    # Will finish Archetypes content item creation process,
    # rename-after-creation and such

    return content

Example (from unit tests):

self.portal.invokeFactory("Folder", "folder")
self.portal.folder.invokeFactory("Folder", "subfolder")
self.portal.folder.subfolder.invokeFactory("Document", "doc")

invokeFactory() will raise an Unauthorized exception if the logged-in user does not have permission to create content in the folder (lacks type specific creation permission and Add portal content permissions). This exception can be imported as follows:

from Products.Archetypes.exceptions import AccessControl_Unauthorized


If the content class has _at_rename_after_creation = True (Archetypes-based content) the next call to obj.update() (edit form post) will automatically generate a friendly id for the object based on the title of the object.

Bypassing permissions when creating content item

If you need to have special workflows where you bypass the workflow and logged in users when creating the content item, do as follows:

def construct_without_permission_check(folder, type_name, id, *args, **kwargs):
    """ Construct a new content item bypassing creation and content add permissions checks.

    @param folder: Folderish content item where to place the new content item
    @param type_name: Content type id in portal_types
    @param id: Traversing id for the new content
    @param args: Optional arguments for the construction (will be passed to the creation method if the type has one)
    @param kwargs: Optional arguments for the construction (will be passed to the creation method if the type has one)
    @return: Reference to newly created content item

    portal_types = getToolByName(folder, "portal_types")

    # Get this content type definition from content types registry
    type_info = portal_types.getTypeInfo(type_name)

    # _constructInstance takes optional *args, **kw parameters too
    new_content_item = type_info._constructInstance(folder, id)

    # Return reference to justly created content
    return new_content_item


The function above only bypasses the content item construction permission check.

It does not bypass checks for setting field values for initially created content.

There is also an alternative way:

# Note that by default Add portal member permissions
# is only for the owner, so we need to by bass it here
from Products.CMFPlone.utils import _createObjectByType
_createObjectByType("YourContentType", folder, id)

Manual friendly id generation

If you are creating Plone objects by hand e.g. in a batch job and Plone automatic id generation does not kick in, you can use the following example to see how to create friendly object ids manually:

from zope.component import getUtility
from plone.i18n.normalizer.interfaces import IIDNormalizer

import transaction

def createResearcherById(folder, id):
    """ Create one researcher in a folder based on its ORA id.

    @param id: X id of the researcher

    @returns: Newly created researcher

    # Call X REST service to get JSON blob for this researcher
    # Note: queryById parses JSON back to Python to do some sanity checks for it
    index = XPeopleIndex()

    # Need to have temporary id
    id = str(random.randint(0, 99999999))

    folder.invokeFactory("XResearcher", id)
    content = folder[id]

    # XXX: set up content item data

    # Will finish Archetypes content item creation process,
    # rename-after-creation and such

    # make _p_jar on content

    # Need to perform manual normalization for id,
    # as we don't have title available during the creation time
    normalizer = getUtility(IIDNormalizer)
    new_id = normalizer.normalize(content.Title())

    if new_id in folder.objectIds():
        raise RuntimeError("Item already exists:" + new_id + " in " + folder.absolute_url())

    content.aq_parent.manage_renameObject(id, new_id)

    return content


PortalFactory (only for Archetypes) creates the object in a temporary folder and only moves it to the real folder when it is first saved.


To see if content is still temporary, use portal_factory.isTemporary(obj).

Restricting Creating On Content Types

Plone can restrict which content types are available for creation in a folder via the Add menu.

Restricting available types per content type

portal_types defines which content types can be created inside a folderish content type.

By default, all content types which have the global_allow property set can be added.

The behavior can be controlled with allowed_content_types setting.

  • You can change it through the portal_types management interface.
  • You can change it in your add-on installer GenericSetup profile.

Example for Dexterity content type. The file would be something like profiles/default/types/

<!-- List content types we allow here -->
<property name="filter_content_types">True</property>
<property name="allowed_content_types">
      <element value="" />
<property name="allow_discussion">False</property>

Example for Archetypes content. The file would be something like profiles/default/types/YourType.xml:

<property name="filter_content_types">True</property>

<property name="allowed_content_types">
        <element value="YourContentTypeName" />
        <element value="Image" />
        <element value="News Item" />

Restricting available types per folder instance

In the UI, you can access this feature via the Add menu Restrict option.

Type contraining is managed by the ATContentTypes product:


# Set allowed content types
from Products.ATContentTypes.lib import constraintypes

# Enable contstraining

# Types for which we perform Unauthorized check

# Add new... menu  listing

You can also override the contraintypes accessor method to have programmable logic regarding which types are addable and which not.

Creating OFS objects

Zope has facilities for basic folder and contained objects using the IObjectManager definition subsystem. You do not need to work with raw objects unless you are doing your custom lightweight, Plone-free, persistent data.

Object construction life cycle


The following applies to Archetypes-based objects only. The process might be different for Dexterity-based content.

Archetypes content construction has two phases:

  1. The object is created using a ?createType= URL or a Folder.invokeFactory() call. If createType is used then the object is given a temporary id. The object has an “in creation” flag set.
  2. The object is saved for the first time and the final id is generated based on the object title. The object is renamed. The creation flag is cleared.

You are supposed to call either object.unmarkCreationFlag() or object.processForm() after content is created manually using invokeFactory().

processForm() will perform the following tasks:

  • unmarks creation flag;
  • renames object according to title;
  • reindexes object;
  • invokes the after_creation script and fires the ObjectInitialized event.

If you don’t want some particular step to be executed, study Archetypes/ and call only what you really want. But unless unmarkCreationFlag() is called, the object will behave strangely after the first edit.

Rename after creation

To prevent the automatic rename on the first through-the-web save, add the following attribute to your class:

_at_rename_after_creation = False

Factory type information

Factory type information (FTI) is responsible for content creation in the portal. It is independent from content type (Archetypes, Dexterity) subsystems.


The FTI codebase is old (updated circa 2001). Useful documentation might be hard to find.

FTI is responsible for:

  • Which function is called when new content type is added;
  • icons available for content types;
  • creation views for content types;
  • permission and security;
  • whether discussion is enabled;
  • providing the factory_type_information dictionary. This is used elsewhere in the code (often in of a product) to set the initial values for a ZODB Factory Type Information object (an object in the portal_types tool).


Content does not show in Add menu, or Unauthorized errors

These instructions are for Archetypes content to debug issues when creating custom content types which somehow fail to become creatable.

When creating new content types, many things can silently fail due to human errors in the complex content type setup chain and security limitations. The consequence is that you don’t see your content type in the Add drop-down menu. Here are some tips for debugging.

  • Is your product broken due to Python import time errors? Check the Management Interface: Control panel -> Products. Turn on Zope debugging mode to trace import errors.
  • Have you rerun the quick installer (GenericSetup) after creating/modifying the content type?
  • Do you have a correct Add permission for the product? Check ContentInit() call.
  • Does it show up in the portal factory? Check the Management Interface: portal_factory and factorytool.xml.
  • Is it corretly registered as a portal type and implictly addable? Check the Management Interface: portal_types. Check default/profiles/type/yourtype.xml.
  • Does it have correct product name defined? Check the Management Interface: portal_types.
  • Does it have a proper factory method? Check Management Interface: portal_types. Check Zope logs for _queryFactory and import errors.
  • Does it register itself with Archetypes? Check the Management Interface: archetypes_tool. Make sure that you have ContentInit properly run in your Make sure that all modules having Archetypes content types defined and registerType() call are imported in __init__py.

Populating folder on creation

Archetypes have a hook called initializeArchetype(). Your content type subclass can override this.


class LandingPage(folder.ATFolder):
    """Landing page"""

    def initializeArchetype(self, **kwargs):
        Prepopulate folder during the creation.

        Create five subfolders of "BigBlock" type, with title and id preset.
        folder.ATFolder.initializeArchetype(self, **kwargs)

        for i in range(0, 5):
            id = "container" + str(i)
            self.invokeFactory("BigBlock", id, title="Big block " + str(i+1))
            item = self[id]

            # Clear creation flag

Creating content from PloneFormGen

PloneFormGen is a popular add-on for Plone.

Below is a snippet for a Custom Script Adapter which allows to create content straight out of PloneFormGen in the pending review state (it is not public and will appear in the review list):

# Folder id where we create content is "directory" under site root
target = context.portal_url.getPortalObject()["directory"]

# The request object has an dictionary attribute named
# form that contains the submitted form content, keyed
# by field name
form = request.form

# We need to engineer a unique ID for the object we're
# going to create. If your form submit contained a field
# that was guaranteed unique, you could use that instead.
from DateTime import DateTime
uid = str(DateTime().millis())

# We use the "invokeFactory" method of the target folder
# to create a content object of type "Document" with our
# unique ID for an id and the form submission's topic
# field for a title.

# Field id have been set in Form Folder Contents view,
# using rename functionality
target.invokeFactory("Document", id=uid,

# Find our new object in the target folder
obj = target[uid]

# Trigger rename-after-creation behavior
# where actual id is generated from the title

# Make item to pending state
portal_workflow = context.portal_workflow
portal_workflow.doActionFor(obj, "submit")

More info:

Creating content using Generic Setup


You want your product to create default content in the site. (For example, because you have a product which adds a new content type, and you want to create a special folder to put these items in.)

You could do this programmatically, but if you don’t want anything fancy (see “Limitations” below), Generic Setup can also take care of it.

Step by step

  • In your product’s profiles/default folder, create a directory called structure.

  • To create a top-level folder with id my-folder-gs-created, add a directory of that name to the structure folder.

  • Create a file called .objects in the structure directory

  • Create a file called .properties in the my-folder-gs-created directory

  • Create a file called .preserve in the structure directory

  • .objects registers the folder to be created:

  • .properties sets properties of the folder to be created:

    description = Folder for imported Projects
    title = My folder (created by generic setup)
  • .preserve will make sure the folder isn’t overwritten if it already exists:



  • This will only work for Plone’s own content types
  • Items will be in their initial workflow state

If you want to create objects of a custom content type, or manipulate them more, you’ll have to write a setuphandler. See below under “Further Information”.


I don’t see titles in the navigation, only ids

You may notice that the new generated content’s title appears to be set to its id. In this case, the catalog needs to be updated. You can do this through the Management Interface, in portal_catalog.

You could automate this process by adding a GS import step in configure.zcml, which looks like this:

       title="Update catalog"
       description="After creating content (from profiles/default/structure), the catalog needs to be updated."
     <depends name="content"/>

This is the preferred way to define dependencies for import profiles: The import step declares its dependency on the content import step. ‘content’ is the name for the step which creates content from profiles/default/structure. You could then add a method which updates the catalog in the product’s

def updateCatalog(context, clear=True):
    portal = context.getSite()
    logger = context.getLogger('my.policy updateCatalog')'Updating catalog (with clear=%s) so items in profiles/default/structure are indexed...' % clear )
    catalog = portal.portal_catalog
    err = catalog.refreshCatalog(clear=clear)
    if not err:'...done.')
        logger.warn('Could not update catalog.')

Further information