Classes / Content Types


Use classes to generate content types and portal tools.


By default, when you create a class in your class diagram, it represents an Archetypes content type. You can add operations in your model to generate methods on the class, and attributes to generate fields in the schema. The quick reference at the end of this tutorial will tell you which field types you can use. You should also browse the "Archetypes quick reference documentation":/documentation/manual/archetypes-developer-manual/fields to see what properties are available for each field and widget type. You may set these using tagged values (see below).

There are three basic ways in which you can alter the way your content types are generated:

  • You may set one or more stereotypes on your class, which alters the "type" of class. A stereotype <<portal_tool>>, for example means you are generating a portal tool rather than just a simple content type.
  • You can use tagged values in your model to configure many aspects of your classes, their attributes and their methods. A list of recognised tagged values acting on classes, fields and methods are found in the "quick reference":archgenxmlquickref at the end of this tutorial.

When reading tagged values, ArchGenXML will generally treat them as strings, with a few exceptions where only non-string values are permitted, such as the required tagged value. If you do not wish your value to be quoted as a string, prefix it with python:. For example, if you set the tagged value default to python:["high", "low"] on a lines attribute, you will get default=["high", "low"] in a LinesField in your schema.

  • ArchGenXML is clever about aggregation and composition. If your class aggregates other classes, it will be automatically made into a folder with those classes as the allowed content types. If you use composition (signified by a filled diamond in the diagram) rather than aggregation, the contained class will only be addable inside the container, otherwise it will be addable globally in your portal by default.

Variants of Content Types

Simple Classes

A simple class is what we had in HelloWorld in the previous chapter. A simple class is based on BaseContent and BrowserDefault. This is the default if no other options override.

Folderish Classes

The easiest way to make a content type folderish is to introduce composition or aggregation in your model - the parent class will become folderish and will be permitted to hold objects of the child classes. You can also make a class folderish just by giving it the <<folder>> stereotype. Both of these approaches will result in an object derived from BaseFolder.

You can also give a class the <<ordered>> stereotype (possibly in addition to <<folder>>) in order to make it derive from OrderedBaseFolder and thus have ordering support. Alternatively, you can set the base_class tagged value on the class to OrderedBaseFolder. This is a general technique which you can use to override the base folder should you need to. As an aside, the additional_parents tagged value permits you to derive from multiple parents.

Another option is to derive from ATFolder (from ATContentTypes) by giving the class the stereotype <<atfolder>>.

Other tagged values which may be useful when generating folders are:

filter_content_types -- Set this to 0 or 1 to turn on/off filtering of content types. If content types are not filtered, the class will act as a general folder for all globally addable content.

allowed_content_types -- To explicitly set the allowable content types, for example to only allow images and documents, set this to: 'Image, Document'. Note that if you use aggregation or composition to create folderish types as described above, setting the allowed content types manually is not necessary.

Portal tools

A portal tool is a unique singleton which other objects may find via getToolByName and utilise. There are many tools which ship with Plone, such as portal_actions or portal_skins. To create a portal tool instead of a regular content type, give your class the <<portal_tool>> stereotype. Tools can hold attributes and provide methods just like a regular content type. Typically, these hold configuration data and utility methods for the rest of your product to use. Tools may also have configlets - configuration pages in the Plone control panel. See the quick reference at the end of this document for details on the tagged values you must set to generate configlets.

Abstract mixin classes

By marking your class as abstract in your model (usually a separate tick-box), you are signifying that it will not be added as a content type. Such classes are useful as mixin parents and as abstract base classes for more complex content types, and will not have the standard Archetypes registration machinery, factory type information or derive from BaseClass.

Stub classes

By giving your class the <<stub>> stereotype, you can prevent it from being generated at all. This is useful if you wish to show content types which are logically part of your model, but which do not belong to your product. For instance, you could create a stub for Plone's standard Image type if you wish to include this as an aggregated object inside your content type - that is, your content type will become folderish, with Image as an allowable contained type.

Deriving/Subclassing Classes

Deriving or subclassing a class is used to extend existing classes, or change their behavior. Using generalisation arrows in your model, you can inherit the methods and schema from another content type or mixin class in your class.

Simple Derivation

All content types in Archetypes are derived from one of the base classes - BaseContent, BaseFolder, OrderedBaseFolder and so on. If you wish to turn this off, for example because the base class is being inherited from a parent class, you can set the base_class tagged value to 0.

Multiple Derivation

You can of course use multiple inheritance via multiple generalisation arrows in your model. However, if you need to use a base class that is not on your model, you can set the additional_parents tagged value on your class to a comma-separated list of parent classes.

Deriving from other Products

If you want to derive from a class of an other product create a stub class with a tagged value import_from: This will generate a import line from VALUE import CLASSNAME in classes derived from this class.

Deriving form ATContentTypes

To derive from ATDocument just use a stereotype <<atdocument>>. Also possible with <<atfile>>, <<atevent>> and <<atfolder>>.

Packages - bring order to your code

Packages are both a UML concept and a Python concept. In Python, packages are directories under your product containing a set of modules (.py files). In UML, a package is a logical grouping of classes, drawn as a large "folder" with classes inside it. To modularise complex products, you should use packages to group classes together.