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First official Dexterity release

by Martin Aspeli last modified Jul 25, 2009 07:27 AM

Over a year in the making, this is the first complete, integrator-friendly release of the Dexterity content type system.

As some readers of this blog will be aware, I've been working with other Plone developers - notably Laurence Rowe, Alec Mitchell, David Glick, Nathan van Gheem, Wichert Akkerman, Matthew Wilkes, and a few others - on the Dexterity content type framework.

Today, we finally see the first outward-facing release of the Dexterity system: 1.0a1. This is a culmination of more than a year's work, a lot of testing, a few brave early adopters using it in real projects, and a lot of great discussion and research by a great bunch of developers.

Some highlights for me, personally:

  • It is feasible to build types through-the-web entirely, using a GUI in Plone's Site Setup. Note that the GUI is still quite rudimentary and doesn't yet expose all available options.
  • When working on the filesystem, Dexterity types required significantly less boilerplate and repetition than what you're probably used to. The aim is to avoid the need for code generators or copy-and-paste programming.
  • You don't need to write any ZCML if you don't want to.
  • There is a very comprehensive reference manual, covering not only the specifics of Dexterity types, but a range of common tasks, including security, workflow, testing, and more.

But more importantly: I have a lot more fun working with Dexterity than I did working with Archetypes. Hopefully your experiences will be similar.

Please note that it is an alpha release, with the usual caveats. Think - and test - carefully if you intend to use it in a production environment. Some of the components in the stack have been used for longer than others. More than anything, the alpha status signifies that we reserve the right to make backwards-incompatible changes to the API in response to feedback from early adopters, although we will of course try to minimise the disruption.

My hope is that we'll see one or two more alpha releases over the next few weeks, and then move into a longer beta phase where we'll have stronger commitment to API compatibility.

Getting started

You can read more about Dexterity on the project page on If you're wondering how to install it, check out this how-to. If you're wondering how Dexterity is related to Archetypes, there is an FAQ to answer your question.

Please note that the documentation assumes you are working with Plone 3.3 (currently at rc4, although a final release is nearing). It should work with Plone 3.2 as well, but you will need to upgrade five.localsitemanager to version 1.1 at least.

Getting involved

Dexterity is a volunteer effort. We need your help!

If you're interested in getting involved, take a look at the enhancements tabled in the issue tracker.

Document Actions

Congrats, Martin!

Posted by at Jul 25, 2009 12:24 PM
(and David, Laurence, Alec, Nathan, et al!)

Dexterity is a huge advance in the "state of the art" for Plone. Thanks especially for shipping with fantastic documentation, it will really help people get their feet wet quickly!


Posted by at Jul 25, 2009 04:25 PM
This is a great step towards a sane and usable types story.

And the documentation is great, just wanted to echo Jon's appreciation for this — it's crucial for adoption, as well as forces you to think through how easy things are to use. They are unit tests for developer approachability. :)
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