Adapters make it possible to extend the behavior of a class without modifying the class itself. This allows more modular, readable code in complex systems where there might be hundreds of methods per class. Some more advantages of this concept are:

  • The class interface itself is more readable (less visible clutter);
  • class functionality can be extended outside the class source code;
  • add-on products may extend or override parts of the class functionality. Frameworks use adapters extensively, because adapters provide easy integration points. External code can override adapters to retrofit/modify functionality. For example: a theme product might want to override a searchbox viewlet to have a search box with slightly different functionality and theme-specific goodies.

The downside is that adapters cannot be found by "exploring" classes or source code. They must be well documented in order to be discoverable.

Read more about adapters in the zope.component README.

Adapter ZCML.

Adapters are matched by:

  • Provider interface (what functionality adapter provides).
  • Parameter interfaces.

There are two kinds of adapters:

  • Normal adapters that take only one parameter.
  • Multi-adapters take many parameters in the form of a tuple.

Registering an adapter

Registering using ZCML

An adapter provides functionality to a class. This functionality becomes available when the interface is queried from the instance of class.

Below is an example how to make a custom "image provider". The image provider provides a list of images for arbitrary content.

This is the image provider interface:

from zope.interface import Interface

class IProductImageProvider(Interface):

    def getImages(self):
        """ Get Images associated with the product.

        @return: iterable of Image objects

This is our content class:

class MyShoppableItemType(folder.ATFolder):
    """ Buyable physical good with variants of title and price and multiple images

    meta_type = "VariantProduct"
    schema = VariantProductSchema

This is the adapter for the content class:

import zope.interface

from getpaid.variantsproduct.interfaces.multiimageproduct import IProductImageProvider

class FolderishProductImageProvider(object):
    """ Mix-in class which provide product image management functions.

    Assume the content itself is a folderish archetype content type and
    all contained image objects are product images.


    def __init__(self, context):
        # Each adapter takes the object itself as the construction
        # parameter and possibly provides other parameters for the
        # interface adaption
        self.context = context

    def getImages(self):
        """ Return a sequence of images.

        Perform folder listing and filter image content from it.

        images = self.context.listFolderContents(
                        contentFilter={"portal_type" : "Image"})
        return images

Register the adapter for your custom content type MyShoppableItemType in the configure.zcml file of your product:


Then we can query the adapter and use it. Unit testing example:

def test_get_images(self):
    self.portal.invokeFactory("MyShoppableItemType", "product")
    product = self.portal.product
    image_provider = IProductImageProvider(product)
    images = image_provider.getImages()

    # Not yet any uploaded images
    self.assertEqual(len(images), 0)

Registering using Python

Register to Global Site Manager using registerAdapter().


from zope.component import getGlobalSiteManager

layer = klass.layer

gsm = getGlobalSiteManager()
gsm.registerAdapter(factory=MyClass, required=(layer,),
                    name=klass.__name__, provided=IWidgetDemo)
return klass

More info

Generic adapter contexts

The following interfaces are useful when registering adapters:

Adapts to any object
Adapts to any Plone content object
Adapts to any BrowserView(context, request) object

Multi-adapter registration

You can specify any number of interfaces in the <adapter for="" /> attribute. Separate them with spaces or newlines.

Below is a view-like example which registers against:

  • any context (zope.interface.Interace);
  • HTTP request objects (zope.publisher.interfaces.browser.IBrowserRequest).

Emulate view registration (context, request):


Getting the adapter

There are two functions that may be used to get an adapter:

  • zope.component.getAdapter will raise an exception if the adapter is not found.
  • zope.component.queryAdapter will return None if the adapter is not found.

getAdapter/queryAdapter arguments:

# Tuple consisting of: (Object implementing the first interface,
object implementing the second interface, ...) The interfaces are in the order in which they were declared in the <adapter for=""> attribute.

# Adapter marker interface.

Example registration:

<!-- Register header animation picking logic - override this for your custom logic -->

Corresponding query code, to look up an adapter implementing the interfaces:

from zope.component import getUtility, getAdapter, getMultiAdapter

# header implements IHeaderBehavior
# doc implements Products.CMFCore.interfaces.IContentish
# request implements zope.publisher.interfaces.browser.IBrowserRequest

from Products.CMFCore.interfaces import IContentish
from zope.publisher.interfaces.browser import IBrowserRequest


# Throws exception if not found
picker = getMultiAdapter((header, doc, self.portal.REQUEST), IHeaderAnimationPicker)


You cannot get adapters on module-level code during import, as the Zope Component Architecture is not yet initialized.

Listing adapter registers

The following code checks whether the IHeaderBehavior adapter is registered correctly:

from zope.component import getGlobalSiteManager
sm = getGlobalSiteManager()

registrations = [a for a in sm.registeredAdapters() if a.provided == IHeaderBehavior ]
self.assertEqual(len(registrations), 1)

Alternative listing adapters

Getting all multi-adapters (context, request):

from zope.component import getAdapters
adapters = getAdapters((context, request), provided=Interface)


This does not list locally-registered adapters such as Zope views.

Local adapters

Local adapters are effective only inside a certain container, such as a folder. They use five.localsitemanager to register themselves.