Providing marker interfaces

How to use behaviors to set marker interfaces on instances of a given type.

Sometimes, it is useful for objects that provide a particular behavior to also provide a specific marker interface. For example, you can register a viewlet for a particular marker and use a behavior to enable that marker on all instances of a particular content type. The viewlet will then only show up when the behavior is enabled. The same principle can be applied to event handlers, views and other components.


There is usually no need to use markers to enable a custom adapter since a standard behavior is already a conditional adapter. However, in certain cases, you may want to provide one or more adapters to an interface that is not the behavior interface. E.g. to use a particular extension point provided by another component. In this case, it may easier to set a marker interface and provide an adapter from this marker.

plone.behavior’s marker support can be used in two ways:

  • As the behavior interface itself. In this case, there is no behavior adapter factory. The behavior interface and the marker interface are one and the same.
  • As a supplement to a standard behavior adapter. In this case, a factory is provided, and the behavior interface (which the behavior adapter factory implements) is different to the marker interface.

Primary marker behaviors

In the first case, where the behavior interface and the marker interface are the same, you can simply use the <plone:behavior />*directive without a *factory. For example:

    title="Pony viewlet"
    description="Shows a pony next to the content"

One could imagine a viewlet based on plone.pony registered for the IWantAPony marker interface. If the behavior is enabled for a particular object, IWantAPony.providedBy(object) would be true.

Supplementary marker behaviors

In the second case, we want to provide a behavior interface with a behavior adapter factory as usual (e.g. with some form fields and a custom storage or a few methods implemented in an adapter), but we also need a custom marker. Here, we use both the provides and marker attributes to <plone:behavior /> to reference the two interfaces, as well as a factory.

To a more interesting example, here is a behavior from a project that lets content authors with particular permissions (iz.EditOfficialReviewers and iz.EditUnofficialReviewers), nominate the “official” and any “unofficial” reviewers for a given content item. The behavior provides the necessary form fields to support this. It also sets a marker interface that enables

  • an ILocalRoleProvider adapter to automatically grant local roles to the chosen reviewers,
  • a custom indexer that lists the reviewers.

The ZCML registration looks like this:

    description="The ability to assign a list of official and/or unofficial reviewers to an item, granting those users special powers."

Notice the use of the AnnotationStorage factory. This is a re-usable factory that can be used to easily create behaviors from schema interfaces that store their values in annotations. We’ll describe this in more detail later. We could just as easily have provided our own factory in this example.

The module contains the following:

"""Behavior to enable certain users to nominate reviewers

Includes form fields, an indexer to make it easy to find the items with
specific reviewers, and a local role provider to grant the Reviewer and
OfficialReviewer roles appropriately.

from Products.ZCatalog.interfaces import IZCatalog
from borg.localrole.interfaces import ILocalRoleProvider
from iz.behaviors import MessageFactory as _
from plone.autoform import directives
from plone.autoform.interfaces import IFormFieldProvider
from plone.formwidget.autocomplete.widget import AutocompleteMultiFieldWidget
from plone.indexer.interfaces import IIndexer
from plone.supermodel import model
from zope import schema
from zope.component import adapter
from zope.interface import Interface
from zope.interface import provider

class IReviewers(model.Schema):
    """Support for specifying official and unofficial reviewers


    official_reviewers = schema.Tuple(
            title=_(u'Official reviewers'),
                u'People or groups who may review this item in an official '
            missing_value=(), # important!

    unofficial_reviewers = schema.Tuple(
            title=_(u'Unofficial reviewers'),
                u'People or groups who may review this item in a supplementary '
            missing_value=(), # important!

class IReviewersMarker(Interface):
    """Marker interface that will be provided by instances using the
    IReviewers behavior. The ILocalRoleProvider adapter is registered for
    this marker.

class ReviewerLocalRoles(object):
    """Grant local roles to reviewers when the behavior is used.

    def __init__(self, context):
        self.context = context

    def getRoles(self, principal_id):
        """If the user is in the list of reviewers for this item, grant
        the Reader, Editor and Contributor local roles.

        c = IReviewers(self.context, None)
        if c is None or (not c.official_reviewers and not c.unofficial_reviewers):
            return ()

        if principal_id in c.official_reviewers:
            return ('Reviewer', 'OfficialReviewer',)
        elif principal_id in c.unofficial_reviewers:
            return ('Reviewer',)

        return ()

    def getAllRoles(self):
        """Return a list of tuples (principal_id, roles), where roles is a
        list of roles for the given user id.

        c = IReviewers(self.context, None)
        if c is None or (not c.official_reviewers and not c.unofficial_reviewers):

        seen = set ()

        for principal_id in c.official_reviewers:
            yield (principal_id, ('Reviewer', 'OfficialReviewer'),)

        for principal_id in c.unofficial_reviewers:
            if principal_id not in seen:
                yield (principal_id, ('Reviewer',),)

@adapter(IReviewersMarker, IZCatalog)
class ReviewersIndexer(object):
    """Catalog indexer for the 'reviewers' index.

    def __init__(self, context, catalog):
        self.reviewers = IReviewers(context)

    def __call__(self):
        official = self.reviewers.official_reviewers or ()
        unofficial = self.reviewers.unofficial_reviewers or ()
        return tuple(set(official + unofficial))

Note that the iz.EditOfficialReviewers and iz.EditUnofficialReviewers permissions are defined and granted elsewhere.

We need to register these components in configure.zcml:

<adapter factory=".reviewers.ReviewerLocalRoles" name="iz.behaviors.reviewers" />
<adapter factory=".reviewers.ReviewersIndexer" name="reviewers" />

This is quite a complex behavior, but hopefully you can see what’s going on:

  • There is a standard schema interface, which includes form hints using plone.autoform.directives and is marked as an IFormFieldProvider. It uses plone.formwidget.autocomplete and plone.principalsource to implement the fields.
  • We define a marker interface (IReviewersMarker) and register this with the marker attribute of the <plone:behavior /> directive.
  • We define and register an adapter from this marker to ILocalRoles from borg.localrole.
  • Similarly, we register a multi-adapter to IIndexer, as provided by plone.indexer.

Although this behavior provides a lot of functionality, it is no more difficult for integrators to use than any other: they would simply list the behavior interface (iz.behaviors.reviewers.IReviewers in this case) in the FTI, and all this functionality comes to life. This is the true power of behaviors: developers can bundle up complex functionality into re-usable behaviors, which can then be enabled on a per-type basis by integrators (or the same developers in lazier moments).