Builder pattern for creating Plone objects in tests

ftw, builder, plone
pip install ftw.builder==2.0.0



Create Plone objects in tests with the Builder Pattern.

The builder pattern simplifies constructing objects. In tests we often need to create Plone objects, sometimes a single object, sometimes a whole graph of objects. Using the builder pattern allows us to do this in a DRY way, so that we do not need to repeat this over and over again.

from ftw.builder import create
from ftw.builder import Builder

def test_foo(self):
    folder = create(Builder('folder')
                    .titled('My Folder')


Add ftw.builder as (test-) dependency to your package in

tests_require = [

      extras_require={'tests': tests_require})


Setup builder session in your testcase:

from ftw.builder import session

class TestPerson(unittest.TestCase):

    def setUp(self):
        session.current_session = session.factory()

    def tearDown(self):
        session.current_session = None

In plone projects you can use the BUILDER_LAYER which your testing layer should base on. So the the session management is handled by the BUILDER_LAYER:

from ftw.builder.testing import BUILDER_LAYER

class MyPackageLayer(PloneSandboxLayer):


Use the builder for creating objects in your tests:

from ftw.builder import Builder
from ftw.builder import create
from my.package.testing import MY_PACKAGE_INTEGRATION_TESTING
from unittest import TestCase

class TestMyFeature(TestCase)


    def test_folder_is_well_titled(self):
        folder = create(Builder('folder')
                        .titled('My Folder')

        self.assertEquals('My Folder', folder.Title())


The BuilderSession keeps configuration for multiple builders. It is set up and destroyed by the BUILDER_LAYER and can be configured or replaced by a custom session with set_builder_session_factory.

Auto commit

When using a functional testing layer ( and doing browser tests it is necessary for new objects to be committed in the ZODB. However, when using a IntegrationTesting it is essential that nothing is committed, since this would break test isolation.

The session provides the auto_commit option (disabled by default), which commits to the ZODB after creating an object. Since it is disabled by default you need to enable it in functional test cases.

A default session factory functional_session_factory that enables the auto-commit feature is provided:

def functional_session_factory():
    sess = BuilderSession()
    sess.auto_commit = True
    return sess

You can use set_builder_session_factory to replace the default session factory in functional tests. Make sure to also base your fixture on the BUILDER_LAYER fixture:

from ftw.builder.session import BuilderSession
from ftw.builder.testing import BUILDER_LAYER
from ftw.builder.testing import functional_session_factory
from ftw.builder.testing import set_builder_session_factory
from import FunctionalTesting
from import IntegrationTesting
from import PLONE_FIXTURE
from import PloneSandboxLayer

class MyPackageLayer(PloneSandboxLayer):


    bases=(MY_PACKAGE_FIXTURE, ),


Plone object builders

When creating Plone objects (Archetypes or Dexterity) there are some methods for setting basic options:

  • within(container) - tell the builder where to create the object
  • titled(title) - name the object
  • having(field=value) - set the value of any field on the object
  • in_state(review_state) - set the object into any review state of the workflow configured for this type
  • providing(interface1, interface2, ...) - let the object provide interfaces
  • with_property(name, value, value_type='string') - set a property

Default builders

The ftw.builder ships with some builders for some of the default Plone content types, but the idea is that you can easily craft your own builders for your types or extend existing builders.

The built-in builders are:

  • folder - creates a Folder
  • page (or document) - creates a Page (alias Document)
  • file - creates a File
  • image - creates an Image
  • collection (or topic) - creates a Collection
  • link - creates a Link

There are two builder implementations, an Archetypes (Plone < 5) and a Dexterity (Plone >= 5) implementation. When using with Plone 4, you may want to switch the builders to dexterity:

from ftw.builder.content import at_content_builders_registered
from ftw.builder.content import dx_content_builders_registered
from ftw.builder.content import register_at_content_builders
from ftw.builder.content import register_dx_content_builders

# permanently

# temporary
with dx_content_builders_registered():
    # do stuff

Attaching files

The default Archetypes file builder lets you attach a file or create the file with dummy content. The archetypes image builder provides a real image (1x1 px GIF):

file1 = create(Builder('file')

file2 = create(Builder('file')
               .attach_file_containing('File content', name='filename.pdf')

image1 = create(Builder('image')

Users builder

There is a "user" builder registered by default.

By default the user is named John Doe:

john = create(Builder('user'))
john.getId() == "john.doe"
john.getProperty('fullname') == "Doe John"
john.getProperty('email') == ""
john.getRoles() == ['Member', 'Authenticated']

Changing the name of the user changes also the userid and the email address. You can also configure all the other necessary things:

folder = create(Builder('folder'))
hugo = create(Builder('user')
              .named('Hugo', 'Boss')
              .with_roles('Editor', on=folder))

hugo.getId() == 'hugo.boss'
hugo.getProperty('fullname') == 'Boss Hugo'
hugo.getProperty('email') == ''
hugo.getRoles() == ['Contributor', 'Authenticated']
hugo.getRolesInContext(folder) == ['Contributor', 'Authenticated', 'Editor']

Groups builder

The "group" builder helps you create groups:

folder = create(Builder('folder'))
user = create(Builder('user'))
group = create(Builder('group')
               .with_roles('Site Administrator')
               .with_roles('Editor', on=folder)

Creating new builders

The idea is that you create your own builders for your application. This might be builders creating a single Plone object (Archetypes or Dexterity) or builders creating a set of objects using other builders.

Creating python builders

Define a simple builder class for your python object and register it in the builder registry

class PersonBuilder(object):

    def __init__(self, session):
        self.session = session
        self.children_names = []
        self.arguments = {}

    def of_age(self):
        self.arguments['age'] = 18
        return self

    def with_children(self, children_names):
        self.children_names = children_names
        return self

    def having(self, **kwargs):
        return self

    def create(self, **kwargs):
        person = Person(

        for name in self.children_names:
                create(Builder('person').having(name=name, age=5))

        return person

builder_registry.register('person', PersonBuilder)

Creating Archetypes builders

Use the ArchetypesBuilder base class for creating new Archetypes builders. Set the portal_type and your own methods.

from ftw.builder.archetypes import ArchetypesBuilder
from ftw.builder import builder_registry

class NewsBuilder(ArchetypesBuilder):
    portal_type = 'News Item'

    def containing(self, text):
        self.arguments['text'] = text
        return self

builder_registry.register('news', NewsBuilder)

Creating Dexterity builders

Use the DexterityBuilder base class for creating new Dexterity builders. Set the portal_type and your own methods.

from ftw.builder.dexterity import DexterityBuilder
from ftw.builder import builder_registry

class DocumentBuilder(DexterityBuilder):
    portal_type = 'dexterity.document'

    def with_dummy_content(self):
        self.arguments["file"] = NamedBlobFile(data='Test data', filename='test.doc')
        return self


You can do things before and after creating the object:

class MyBuilder(ArchetypesBuilder):

    def before_create(self):
        super(NewsBuilder, self).before_create()

    def after_create(self):
        super(NewsBuilder, self).after_create()

Overriding existing builders

Sometimes it is necessary to override an existing builder. For re-registering an existing builder you can use the force flag:

builder_registry.register('file', CustomFileBuilder, force=True)

Ticking frozen clock forward on create

With ftw.testing it is possible to freeze the time.

When freezing the time and creating multiple objects, they will all end up with the same creation date. This can cause an inconsistent sorting order.

In order to solve this problem, ftw.builder provides a ticking_creator, which moves the clock forward every time an object is created. This means we have distinct, consistent creation dates.

Usage example:

from datetime import datetime
from ftw.builder import Builder
from ftw.builder import ticking_creator
from ftw.testing import freeze

with freeze(datetime(2010, 1, 1)) as clock:
    create = ticking_creator(clock, days=1)
    self.assertEquals(DateTime(2010, 1, 1),
    self.assertEquals(DateTime(2010, 1, 2),
    self.assertEquals(DateTime(2010, 1, 3),

It is convenient to install the ticking creator globally, so if builder creates objects with another builder, it also ticks the clock for the nested builder call. This can be achieved by using the ticking creator as context manager:

from datetime import datetime
from ftw.builder import Builder
from ftw.builder import create
from ftw.builder import ticking_creator
from ftw.testing import freeze

with freeze(datetime(2010, 1, 1)) as clock:
    with ticking_creator(clock, days=1):
        self.assertEquals(DateTime(2010, 1, 1),
        self.assertEquals(DateTime(2010, 1, 2),
        self.assertEquals(DateTime(2010, 1, 3),

Other builders

Python package builder

The Python package builder builds a python package on the file system.

  • creates a
  • namespace packages are supported
  • builds the egg-info
  • creates a configure.zcml on demand


>>> import tempfile
>>> tempdir = tempfile.mkdtemp()

>>> package = create(Builder('python package')
...                  .at_path(tempdir)
...                  .named('my.package')
...                  .with_root_directory('docs')
...                  .with_root_file('docs/HISTORY.txt', 'CHANGELOG...')
...                  .with_file('resources/print.css', 'body {}', makedirs=True)
...                  .with_subpackage(Builder('subpackage')
...                                   .named('browser')))
>>> with package.imported() as module:
...     print module
<module 'my.package' from '...../tmpcAZhM2/my/package/'>

It is also possible to create / load ZCML, all you need is a stacked configuration context. Plone's testing layers provide a configuration context, but be aware that the component registry is not isolated. You may want to isolate the component registry with plone.testing.zca.pushGlobalRegistry.

package = create(
    Builder('python package')


        .with_file('', '"Hello World"')
                        **{'name': 'hello-world.json',
                           'template': '',
                           'permission': 'zope2.View',
                           'for': '*'})))

with package.zcml_loaded(self.layer['configurationContext']):
    self.assertEqual('"Hello World"',

Generic Setup profile builder

The "genericsetup profile" builder helps building a profile within a python package:

create(Builder('python package')

       .with_profile(Builder('genericsetup profile')
                     .with_file('types/MyType.xml', '<object></object>',

Plone upgrade step builder

Builds a Generic Setup upgrade step for a package:

create(Builder('python package')

       .with_profile(Builder('genericsetup profile')
                     .with_upgrade(Builder('plone upgrade step')
                                   .upgrading('1000', '1001')
                                   .titled('Add some actions...')
                                   .with_description('Some details...'))))

ZCML file builder

The ZCML builder builds a ZCML file:


       .include('Products.GenericSetup', file='meta.zcml')

       .with_node('i18n:registerTranslations', directory='locales'))

Portlet builder

The ftw.builder ships with a few builders for Plone portlets, but the idea is that you can easily craft your own builders for your portlets or extend existing builders.


from ftw.builder import builder_registry
from ftw.builder.portlets import PlonePortletBuilder
from my.package.portlets import my_portlet

class MyPortletBuilder(PlonePortletBuilder):
    assignment_class = my_portlet.Assignment

builder_registry.register('my portlet', MyPortletBuilder)

The built-in builders are:

  • static portlet - creates a static portlet
  • navigation portlet - creates a navigation portlet

Development / Tests

$ git clone
$ cd ftw.builder
$ ln -s development.cfg buildout.cfg
$ python2.7
$ ./bin/buildout
$ ./bin/test



This package is copyright by 4teamwork.

ftw.builder is licensed under GNU General Public License, version 2.