Interfaces define what methods an object provides. Plone extensively uses interfaces to define APIs between different subsystems. They provide a more consistent and declarative way to define bridges between two different things, when duck-typing is not enough.

An interface defines the shape of a hole where different pieces fit. The shape of the piece is defined by the interface, but the implementation details like color, material, etc. can vary.

See zope.interface package README.

Common interfaces

Some interfaces are commonly used throughout Plone.

The usual use case is that a context directive for a view is provided, specifying where the view is available (e.g. for which content types).

Base class of all interfaces. Also used as a * wildcard when registering views, meaning that the view applies on every object.
All content items on the site. In the site root, this interface excludes Zope objects like acl_users (the user folder) and portal_skins which might otherwise appear in the item listing when you iterate through the root content.
All folders in the site.
The Plone site root object. import INavigationRoot
Navigation top object - where the breadcrumbs are anchored. On multilingual sites, this is the top-level folder for the current language.

Implementing one or multiple interfaces

Use zope.interface.implements() in your class body. Multiple interfaces can be provided as arguments.


from zope.interface import implements
from collective.mountpoint.interfaces import ILocalSyncedContent
from ora.objects.interfaces import IORAResearcher

class MyContent(folder.ATFolder):
    """A Researcher synchronized from ORA"""
    implements(IORAResearcher, ILocalSyncedContent)

Removing parent class interface implementations

implementsOnly() redeclares all inherited interface implementations. This is useful if you, for example, want to make z3c.form widget bindings more accurate.



Checking whether object provides an interface


In Python you can use code:

from yourpackage.interfaces import IMyInterface

if IMyInterface.providedBy(object):
    # do stuff
    # was not the kind of object we wanted


In page templates you can use plone_interface_info helper view:

<div tal:define="iinfo context/@@plone_interface_info">
    <span tal:condition="python:iinfo.provides('your.dotted.interface.IName')">
        Do stuff requiring your interface.

See also

Interface resolution order

Interface resolution order (IRO) is the list of interfaces provided by the object (directly, or implemented by a class), sorted by priority.

Interfaces are evaluated from zero index (highest priority) to the last index (lowest priority).

You can access this information for the object for debugging purposes using a magical attribute:



Since adapter factories are dynamic (adapter interfaces not hardcoded on the object), the object can still adapt to interfaces which are not listed in __iro__.

Getting interface string id

The interface id is stored in the __identifier__ attribute.

Example file yourpackage/

import zope.interface

class IFoo(zope.interface.Interface).

# id is yourpackage.interfaces.IFoo
id = IFoo.__identifier__

Note that this attribute does not respect import aliasing.

Example: Products.ATContentTypes.interfaces.IATDocument.__identifier__ is Products.ATContentTypes.interfaces.document.IATDocument.

Getting interface class by its string id

Use the zope.dottedname package.


import zope.interface
from zope.dottedname.resolve import resolve

class IFoo(zope.interface.Interface).

# id is yourpackage.interfaces.IFoo
id = IFoo.__identifier__
interface_class == resolve(id)
assert IFoo == interface_class

Applying interfaces for several content types

You can apply marker interfaces to content types at any time.

Example use cases:

  • You want to assign a viewlet to a set of particular content types.
  • You want to enable certain behavior on certain content types.


A marker interface is needed only when you need to create a common nominator for several otherwise unrelated classes. You can use one existing class or interface as a context without explicitly creating a marker interface. Places accepting zope.interface.Interface as a context usually accept a normal Python class as well (isinstance behavior).

You can assign the marker interface for several classes in ZCML using a <class> declaration. Here we're assigning ILastModifiedSupport to documents, events and news items:

<!-- List of content types where "last modified" viewlet is enabled -->
<class class="Products.ATContentTypes.content.document.ATDocument">
  <implements interface=".interfaces.ILastModifiedSupport" />

<class class="Products.ATContentTypes.content.event.ATEvent">
  <implements interface=".interfaces.ILastModifiedSupport" />

<class class="Products.ATContentTypes.content.newsitem.ATNewsItem">
  <implements interface=".interfaces.ILastModifiedSupport" />

Then we can have a viewlet for these content types only using the following (grok example):

from five import grok
from interfaces import ILastModifiedSupport
from import IBelowContent

class LastModified(grok.Viewlet):
    """ Viewlet to show the document last modification time.

    This is enabled on Page, Event and News Item which implement
    ILastModifiedSupport marker interface.



  • zope.dottedname allows you to resolve dotted names to Python objects manually

Dynamic marker interfaces

Zope allows to you to dynamically turn on and off interfaces on any content objects through the ZMI. Browse to any object and visit the Interfaces tab.

Marker interfaces might need to be explicitly declared using the ZCML <interface> directive, so that Zope can find them:

<!-- Declare marker interface, so that it is available in ZMI -->
<interface interface="" />


The interface dotted name must refer directly to the interface class and not to an import from other module, like

Setting dynamic marker interfaces programmatically

Use the mark() function from Products.Five.


from Products.Five.utilities.marker import mark

mark(portal.doc, interfaces.IBuyableMarker)


This marking persists with the object: it is not temporary.

Under the hood: mark() delegates to zope.interface.directlyProvides() — with the result that a persistent object (e.g. content item) has a reference to the interface class you mark it with in its __provides__ attribute; this attribute is serialized and loaded by ZODB like any other reference to a class, and zope.interface uses object specification descriptor magic (just like it does for any other object, persistent or not) to resolve provided interfaces.

To remove a marker interface from an object, use the erase() function from Products.Five.


from Products.Five.utilities.marker import erase

erase(portal.doc, interfaces.IBuyableMarker)

Tagged values

Tagged values are arbitrary metadata you can stick on zope.interface.Interface subclasses. For example, the plone.autoform package uses them to set form widget hints for zope.schema data model declarations.