Actions (buttons)

Defining form buttons and executing code when they are clicked

z3c.form defines a rich framework for defining, processing and executing actions, an abstraction of the “outcome” of a form. Actions are not necessarily related to form buttons, but for the vast majority of use cases, we can think of forms buttons as a special type of widget that represents an underlying action. Such “button actions” are usually the only type of action we will ever use. Actions are nearly always associated with a handler method, which will be called by the framework when a form was submitted in response to a click of a particular button.

The usual way to define actions and buttons is to use the @button.buttonAndHandler() decorator. This takes as a minimum the button title as an argument. We have already seen two examples of this in our pizza order form:

def handleApply(self, action):

def handleCancel(self, action):

The name of the method is not particularly important, so long as it is unique. The body of the handler function may react to the button however is appropriate for the form’s use case. It may perform a redirect or update form properties prior to re-rendering of the form. It should not return anything. Use the self.extractData() helper to return a tuple of the form’s submitted data and any errors, as shown in the preceding examples.

The action argument is the action that was executed. We normally ignore this, but it may be introspected to find out more about the action. The isExecuted() method can be used to determine if the corresponding button was indeed clicked, and would normally be True within any action handler that is called by the framework. The title attribute contains the button title as shown to the user.

Access keys

To define a HTML access key for a button, use the accessKey keyword argument:

@button.buttonAndHandler(_(u'Order'), accessKey=u"o")
    def handleApply(self, action):

Conditional actions

If a button should only be shown in some cases, we can use the condition keyword argument, passing a function that takes as its only parameter the form to which the button belongs. If this does not return True, the button will be omitted from the form:


import datetime

def daytime(form):
    hour =
    return hour >= 9 and hour <= 17:

class MyForm(form.SchemaForm)


    @button.buttonAndHandler(_(u'Give me a call'), condition=daytime)
    def handleCallBackRequest(self, action):

Updating button properties

As with regular widgets, it is sometimes useful to set properties on buttons after they have been instantiated by z3c.form. One common requirement is to add a CSS class to the button. The standard edit form in*plone.directives.form* does this, for example, to add Plone’s standard CSS classes. The usual approach is to override updateActions(), which is called during the form update cycle:

def updateActions(self):
    super(AddForm, self).updateActions()

Notice how we call the base class version first to ensure the actions have been properly set up. Also bear in mind that if a button is conditional, it may not be in self.actions at all.

Buttons are really just HTML input widgets, so you can set other properties too, including attributes like onclick or ondblclick to install client-side JavaScript event handlers.