Commercial Plone 4 project


Now that you have come this far, this chapter should feel like a walk in the park. Without further ado, let’s get started.

The guide is using an imaginary client eBar Ltd. that needs a website on Imaginary Plone consultancy firm is still Plone Boutique Ltd..

Code skeleton


Create a new project with Subversion repository (use ebar for project id). Give all your colleagues permissions on this project.

Now prepare your new Unfuddle Subversion repository by adding base folders:

~$ svn mkdir{trunk,branches,tags} -m 'Added base folders'

Cloud server

Login to and navigate to Cloud Server and click Add Server. Choose CentOS 5.5 for distro and 265 MB for instance size. For Server Name enter ebar.

Write down server’s IP and root password. You’ll need it for generating a project skeleton with ZopeSkel.


Prepare ZopeSkel

Install/Upgrade ZopeSkel to latest version.

$ sudo easy_install -U ZopeSkel

Install/Upgrade zopeskel.niteoweb to latest version.

$ sudo easy_install -U zopeskel.niteoweb

Generate code

Run ZopeSkel to generate a skeleton based on niteoweb_project template (the one we use for all Plone Boutique projects).

$ cd ~/work
$ bin/paster create -t niteoweb_project boutique.ebar

Expert Mode? (What question mode would you like? (easy/expert/all)?) ['easy']: easy
Description (One-line description of the project) ['Plone Boutique commercial project for']:
Hostname (Domain on which this project will run on.) ['']:
IP (IP of production server. Leave default if you don't have one yet) ['']:
Temporary root password (Temporary password for root user on production server. Leave default if you don't have one yet) ['root_password_here']: ebarM4Q8fsN90
Maintenance users (Usernames of administrators that will have access to your production server, separated with commas.) ['bob,jane']: bob,jane
Headquarters hostname (Domain on which your Headquarters server is running.) ['']:
Maintenance IP (IP on which your Headquarters server is listening.) ['']:

Commit project skeleton

Ok, skeleton is ready. Commit it to Subversion and continue working on it:

# Checkout Unfuddle's Subversion repository for this project
work$ cd boutique.headquarters/
boutique.ebar$ svn co ./

# Commit code skeleton
boutique.ebar$ svn add *
boutique.ebar$ svn ci -m "added project skeleton"

# Set svn:ignore, instructions how to do this are also in svnignore files
boutique.ebar$ svn propset svn:ignore -F svnignore ./
boutique.ebar$ svn propset svn:ignore -F docs/svnignore ./docs
boutique.ebar$ svn propset svn:ignore -F etc/svnignore ./etc
boutique.ebar$ svn up
boutique.ebar$ svn ci -m "set svn:ignore"

Plone Development

Development environment

Use zc.buildout to prepare your development environment for you:

.. sourcecode:: bash

     # Create symlink to development.cfg so you don't have to append '-c buildout.cfg' all the time
     boutique.ebar$ ln -s development.cfg buildout.cfg
     boutique.ebar$ svn add buildout.cfg && svn ci -m "added soft-link to development.cfg"

     # Make an isolated Python environment
     boutique.ebar$ virtualenv -p python2.6 --no-site-packages ./

     # Bootstrap zc.buildout
     boutique.ebar$ bin/python

     # Build development/deployment environment
     boutique.ebar$ bin/buildout


Pin down egg versions by copying the last lines of output into versions.cfg. This makes sure that if you run this buildout in a year you will get the same versions of packages.


Before you start developing and deploying Plone, add this project to Sphinx and Hudson on Headquarters server:

boutique.ebar$ bin/buildout -c development.cfg
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab add_project_to_sphinx
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab add_project_to_hudson

Start it up!

You are now ready to start Zope in development mode, create your first Plone site and hack away:

boutique.ebar$ bin/zope fg

Plone Development

You are now ready to start customizing Plone to your needs.


Open src/boutique/ebar/profiles/default/properties.xml and set some site properties. Read more about these XMLs: (TODO: links and pointers to GenericSetup documentation)


Add your custom CSS and JS to ebar.css and ebar.js that you have in src/boutique/ebar/skins/ebar_css/ebar.css and src/boutique/ebar/skins/ebar_js/ebar.js. Both files are already registered with Plone, for your convenience. Plone theming is a broad subject and is out of scope of this guide. Read more about theming:

Testing your code

Test if your product is correctly installed in Plone by running bin/test -s boutique.ebar. Testing your Plone codeis a broad subject and is out of scope of this guide. Read more about testing:

Plone Deployment

Now here is where true fun begins and the value of zopeskel.niteoweb ZopeSkel template shows it’s value. You will deploy your Plone site to a Rackspace Cloud server running CentOS in a matter of minutes without ever connecting to the server.

Bootstrap the server

Re-generate Fabric command file and deploy on server:

boutique.ebar$ bin/buildout
boutique.ebar$ bin/deploy

Set local DNS settings

You don’t have to use DNS yet, having IP’s mapped to hostnames in your local machine is enough for now. Adding the lines below to /etc/hosts does the trick. Note that you may have to restart your browser for changes to be applied:

boutique.headquarters$ sudo nano /etc/hosts

You should be able to open in your browser and see a your Plone site.


Every time you do changes to your code, configuration or data, you simply use one of Fabric commands to perform deployment or update on the server:

boutique.ebar$ bin/fab reload_nginx_config
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab update_static_files
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab update_code
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab run_buildout
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab upload_data
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab download_data
boutique.ebar$ bin/fab restart supervisor_command