Event handlers

Adding custom event handlers for your type

So far, we have mainly been concerned with content types’ schemata and forms created from these. However, we often want to add more dynamic functionality, reacting when something happens to objects of our type. In Zope, that usually means writing event subscribers.

Zope’s event model is synchronous. When an event is broadcast (via the notify() function from the zope.event package), for example from the save action of an add form, all registered event handlers will be called. There is no guarantee of which order the event handlers will be called in, however.

Each event is described by an interface, and will typically carry some information about the event. Some events are known as object events, and provide zope.component.interfaces.IObjectEvent. These have an object attribute giving access to the (content) object that the event relates to. Object events allow event handlers to be registered for a specific type of object as well as a specific type of event.

Some of the most commonly used event types in Plone are shown below. They are all object events.

fired by the standard add form just after an object has been created, but before it has been added on the container. Note that it is often easier to write a handler for IObjectAddedEvent (see below), because at this point the object has a proper acquisition context.
fired by the standard edit form when an object has been modified.
fired when an object has been added to its container. The container is available as the newParent attribute, and the name the new item holds in the container is available as newName.
fired when an object has been removed from its container. The container is available as the oldParent attribute, and the name the item held in the container is available as oldName.
fired when an object is added to, removed from, renamed in, or moved between containers. This event is a super-type of IObjectAddedEvent and IObjectRemovedEvent, shown above, so an event handler registered for this interface will be invoked for the ‘added’ and ‘removed’ cases as well. When an object is moved or renamed, all of oldParent, newParent, oldName and newName will be set.
fired when a workflow event has completed. The workflow attribute holds the workflow instance involved, and the action attribute holds the action (transition) invoked.

Event handlers can be registered using ZCML with the <subscriber /> directive, but when working with Dexterity types, we’ll more commonly use the grok.subscriber() in Python code.

As an example, let’s add an event handler to the Presenter type that tries to find users with matching names matching the presenter id, and send these users an email.

First, we require a few additional imports at the top of presenter.py:

from zope.lifecycleevent.interfaces import IObjectAddedEvent
from Products.CMFCore.utils import getToolByName

Then, we’ll add the following event subscriber after the schema definition:

@grok.subscribe(IPresenter, IObjectAddedEvent)
def notifyUser(presenter, event):
    acl_users = getToolByName(presenter, 'acl_users')
    mail_host = getToolByName(presenter, 'MailHost')
    portal_url = getToolByName(presenter, 'portal_url')

    portal = portal_url.getPortalObject()
    sender = portal.getProperty('email_from_address')

    if not sender:

    subject = "Is this you?"
    message = "A presenter called %s was added here %s" % (presenter.title, presenter.absolute_url(),)

    matching_users = acl_users.searchUsers(fullname=presenter.title)
    for user_info in matching_users:
        email = user_info.get('email', None)
        if email is not None:
            mail_host.secureSend(message, email, sender, subject)

There are many ways to improve this rather simplistic event handler, but it illustrates how events can be used. The first argument to grok.subscribe() is an interface describing the object type. For non-object events, this is omitted. The second argument is the event type. The arguments to the function reflects these two, so the first argument is the IPresenter instance and the second is an IObjectAddedEvent instance.