Creating a buildout for your project


How to create a new buildout for a project, adding Plone and other third party products as dependencies

We are now ready to create a new buildout. The "buildout" is a directory containing all the parts that make up a project, including a Zope instance, the Plone sources, custom configuration options, and your our project's source code.


As of Plone 3.2, all of the Plone installers are buildout based. You can get the latest installer and run it to have a working buildout without having to follow these steps. However, these steps are still valid if you want to create the buildout manually with ZopeSkel.

Create one like this:

$ paster create -t plone3_buildout myproject

This will ask a series of questions. If you want to use an existing installation of Zope rather than have buildout download and compile one for you, specify an absolute path as the zope2_install. Similarly, if you do not want buildout to download the core Plone products, you can point it to an existing directory containing all the products (it will still download Plone 3's eggs, but as we will see later, it is possible to share an eggs directory among multiple buildouts). You will need to enter a Zope administrator username and password, and you may want to turn debug mode and verbose security on during development.

Now, enter the newly created myproject directory, and run the buildout bootstrap script. NOTE: Python 2.4 is currently required to Plone 3.x:

$ cd myproject
$ python2.4

This will create a number of directories and scripts and download the latest version of the zc.buildout egg. This step should be needed only once.

To get started straight away, run:

$ ./bin/buildout

This reads the generated buildout.cfg file and executes its various "parts", setting up Zope, creating a Zope instance, downloading and installing Plone. We will explain this file in more detail shortly.

You will need to run ./bin/buildout again each time you change buildout.cfg. If you do not want buildout to go online and look for updated versions of eggs or download other archives, you can run it in non-updating, offline mode, with;

$ ./bin/buildout -No

To start Zope in foreground and debug mode, run:

$ ./bin/instance fg

The instance script is analogous to zopectl as found in a standard Zope instance. You can use ./bin/instance start to run Zope in daemon mode. It can also be used to run tests:

$ ./bin/instance test -s plone.portlets


bin/instance console

is equivalent to bin/instance fg, but does not implicitly turn on debug mode but respects the debug-mode setting in buildout.cfg. This can be useful to run Zope in non-development mode with daemon-control programs like supervisord.

Once your buildout installation is up and running, you will still need to install a Plone site. Log in to the Zope Management Interface (ZMI) and from "select type to add..." choose Plone Site. Fill in the required details and submit. Now you have a Plone site at the ID that you specified.

Directories in the buildout

Before we dive into buildout.cfg, let us take a quick look at the directories that buildout has created for us:

Contains various executables, including the buildout command, and the instance Zope control script.
Contains eggs that buildout has downloaded. These will be explicitly activated by the control scripts in the bin/ directory.
Contains non-egg downloads, such as the Zope source code archive.
Contains the log files (in var/log/) and the file storage ZODB data (in var/filestorage/Data.fs). Buildout will never overwrite these. If you want to import a .zexp file, place it in the var/instance/imports folder. Previously one had to put that file into parts/instance/import, but this folder gets wiped and regenerated when running bin/buildout, so the import location was changed.
Initially empty. You can place your own development eggs here and reference them in buildout.cfg. More on that later.
This is analogous to a Zope instance's Products/ directory (note the difference in capitalisation). If you are developing any old-style Zope 2 products, place them here. We will see how buildout can automatically download and manage archives of products, but if you want to extract a product dependency manually, or check one out from Subversion, this is the place to do so.
Contains code and data managed by buildout. In our case, it will include the local Zope installa TRUNCATED! Please download pandoc if you want to convert large files.


You can check in a buildout directory to a source code repository to share it among developers. In this case, you should ignore the directories bin/, eggs/, downloads/, var/, and parts/. Each developer can run to get these back, and will normally need local copies anyway. All your configuration should be in the buildout.cfg file, and all custom code in src/ or products/.