User Profiles

Plone Intranet is designed to provide an out-of-the-box user profile which provides the following:

  • Authentication (using dexterity.membrane)
  • Customisable profile fields (using dexterity behaviours which can be disabled or overriden)
  • Support for external data sources (e.g. AD/LDAP)

The following key design decisions were made to fit the use cases of Plone Intranet:

  • Users as content

    Rather than using default plone members, we use dexterity.membrane to create real dexterity content that can be managed in the same way as all other content, whilst still providing authentication.

  • Username as Userid

    The default membrane implementation uses UUIDs as the unique id that Plone uses to grant roles and permissions (userid). We use the username instead, to ensure compatibility with external authentication sources such as AD/LDAP which have no knowledge of Plone’s UUIDs.

    This means that userprofile.username is and always should be equal to the userid userprofile.getId(). Neither should ever be changed. Profiles should never get a new content id, this is not supported and will trigger bugs. Note that getUserName() will return a value different from .username in case logging in by email is enabled. See ‘Login by email’ below and developer notes further down.

    The default membrane implementation uses email addresses as login names. We default to using the userid as stored in the username field, as login name. It is possible to configure your site to do login-by-email, see below.

User Management

You should not use the Zope rescue user for anything else, than creating users as documented here.

Warning

You should not create users via the Plone control panel. Also, directly creating user profiles in Barceloneta is invalid - this will appear to work but it will trigger bugs, like not being able to add such profiles as members to workspaces.

Use an external data source (Active Directory / LDAP) to manage your users, see below. Or use the bulk upload facility to create user profiles, as documented below.

Bulk Upload

There is a bulk upload from CSV option. Column names are mapped to field names, and the data is validated before users are created:

To use the bulk upload, visit the @@import-users browser view on the profiles folder in your site:

/plonesite/profiles/@@import-users

See this example csv file to get you started. Supported columns are listed in the @@import-users view.

If you check “Update details for existing users” existing user profiles are updated with the values provided in the csv file.

If you omit values in the password column, a password is auto-generated for new users, and the password of existing users will be kept.

Warning

Don’t upload the example CSV into a production site without changing at least the passwords...

Role assignments

After creating users with bulk upload, you can manage role assignments in the Plone control panel by using the Theme Switcher

http://cms.localhost:8080/Plone/@@usergroup-userprefs

Please do not add users in this control panel, it won’t work.

If you’re using AD/LDAP to manage users, you may want to manage roles and groups via LDAP instead. YMMV.

Avatar images

After creating users with bulk upload, you can add avatar images as follows:

  • In the siteroot, via the Barceloneta interface on cms.localhost:8080, add a Folder ‘avatars’ to the portal root

  • Upload images into this folder with ids like ‘johndoe.jpg’ matching userid ‘johndoe’

    (As plone does not allow ids containing dots, use ‘john_doe.jpg’ as avatar image for userid ‘john.doe’)

  • Run http://portal_url/avatars/@@import-avatars

Login by email

By default, the userid is the username is the login name.

If you’d like to provide users with a different login name, the only supported option is to enable logging in by email address. Any change to the email attribute on a userprofile, will then result in a different login name for the user on the login page. To enable login by email, change the following dexterity.membrane registry setting in registry.xml from the ploneintranet default False to True:

<record name="dexterity.membrane.behavior.settings.IDexterityMembraneSettings.use_email_as_username">
  <value>True</value>
</record>

If you’re changing this in an existing site, you then need to either reindex the exact_getUserName and getUserName indexes in membrane_tool.

Warning

In addition to the dexterity use_email_as_username setting, there’s a plone setting use_email_as_login as well. You should not touch this when using LDAP: it has an event handler which is not LDAP aware and will error out trying to update non-existant ZODB acl_users.

Our login and password page overrides retrieve the dexterity setting, not the plone setting to determine whether logging in by email is enabled. This will result in some textual adjustments on those pages.

External authentication and/or data sources (e.g. AD/LDAP)

The Plone Intranet UI always uses the membrane profile data as the source of user data, to ensure a consistent experience when assigning roles, searching or browsing users.

However there are various features in place to support external authentication and user data sources.

For instructions on installing LDAP, see Optional: LDAP

Automatic profile creation

If a user authenticates to the site using an alternative authentication system, the login event triggers the automatic creation of a matching membrane profile.

Manual profile creation

The sync-users browser view is available on the profiles directory, and can be used to synchronise the profiles on the site with a list of users provided by an external data source such as AD/LDAP.

To use this view, first load the Plone Intranet : Suite : LDAP profile in the ZMI in generic_setup.

This registers the ID of a PAS plugin as your main user source using the ploneintranet.userprofile.primary_external_user_source registry entry:

<record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.primary_external_user_source">
  <field type="plone.registry.field.ASCIILine">
    <title>Primary External User Source</title>
    <description>
      The ID of the PAS plugin that will be treated as the primary source of external users.
    </description>
  </field>
  <value>ldap-plugin</value>
</record>

This PAS plugin will be used as the canonical set of user accounts that are supported on the site. Running the sync-users view will:

  • Add missing membrane profiles for any users found in the primary PAS plugin
  • Disable existing membrane profiles for any users missing from the primary PAS plugin.

This view is designed to be run periodically using a clock server or cron task.

The view requires Manager privileges.

/plonesite/profiles/@@sync-users

Property sheet mapping

It is also possible to configure specific membrane properties to be regularly synchronised with an external data source (such as AD/LDAP) using Plone’s PAS properties infrastructure.

The registry entry ploneintranet.userprofile.property_sheet_mapping allows each user profile field to be mapped to a specific PAS plugin (using the id of the PAS plugin inside acl_users):

<record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.property_sheet_mapping">
  <field type="plone.registry.field.Dict">
    <title>Property sheet mapping</title>
    <description>
      A mapping of a user property to a specific property sheet which
      should be used to obtain the data for this attribute.
    </description>
    <key_type type="plone.registry.field.ASCII" />
    <value_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine" />
  </field>
  <value>
    <element key="username">ldap_plugin</element>
    <element key="email">another_pas_plugin</element>
  </value>
</record>

External property synchronisation

The sync-user-properties browser view is available on the profiles directory, and will use the above mapping to copy the relevant properties from the relevant PAS plugin property sheet, and store it on the membrane profile.

It supports any PAS plugin that provides PAS properties for a user, and will update all existing membrane profiles every sync, so could be expensive depending on the number of users in your site.

This view is designed to be run periodically using a clock server or cron task.

The view requires Manager privileges.

/plonesite/profiles/@@sync-user-properties

You can also sync an individual user profile using the sync view. This view also requires Manager privileges.

/plonesite/profiles/joe-bloggs/@@sync

Specific AD/LDAP synchronisation

If you have plone.app.ldap installed, a separate AD/LDAP view is provided that will query the AD server for any users that have changed since the last sync (using the whenChanged AD attribute).

This significantly improves the performance of the sync:

/plonesite/profiles/@@sync-user-properties-ldap

Customising User Profiles

User profiles are expected to be highly customised for each Plone Intranet deployment. As such, the profile views are built dynamically from dexterity behaviours, and support extra options such as hidden or read-only fields.

Vocabularies

The following vocabularies can be customised using their corresponding plone.app.registry entries (e.g. using GenericSetup).

  • Primary Location : ploneintranet.userprofile.locations

Adding/Removing fields

The User Profile comes with a base set of fields that are required by the Plone Intranet templates. These fields are as follows:

interface ploneintranet.userprofile.content.userprofile.IUserProfile[source]

The core user profile schema.

Most of the plone intranet UI relies on these fields.

username = <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object>

Username

first_name = <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object>

First name

last_name = <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object>

Last name

person_title = <zope.schema._bootstrapfields.TextLine object>

Person title

portrait = <plone.namedfile.field.NamedBlobImage object>

Photo

recent_contacts = <zope.schema._field.List object>

Last Contacts

email = <ploneintranet.userprofile.content.userprofile.Email object>

Email

There is also an additional set of (optional) fields. The optional fields are provided by the behaviour IUserProfileAdditional

You can remove the optional fields by disabling the IUserProfileAdditional behaviour in your GenericSetup profile. For more information on adding/removing behaviours using GenericSetup, see docs.plone.org.

To add new fields, simply create a new behaviour and assign it to the ploneintranet.userprofile.userprofile type. For more information on adding custom field behaviours, see the Behaviours manual.

Hiding fields

To hide fields from the UI, add the relevant field name to the ploneintranet.userprofile.hidden_fields registry entry using GenericSetup:

<record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.hidden_fields">
  <field type="plone.registry.field.Tuple">
    <title>Hidden fields</title>
    <description>
      User profile fields that are hidden from the profile editing page
    </description>
    <value_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine" />
  </field>
  <value>
    <element>first_name</element>
    <element>MyCustomBehaviour.my-hidden-fieldname</element>
  </value>
</record>

Read-only fields

To mark a field as ‘read only’ in the UI (but leave the field editable via code), add the relevant field name to the ploneintranet.userprofile.read_only_fields registry entry using GenericSetup.

This is useful for field data that comes from a separate source (e.g. AD/LDAP)

<record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.read_only_fields">
  <field type="plone.registry.field.Tuple">
    <title>Read only fields</title>
    <description>
      User profile fields that are read-only
      (shown on profile editing page but not editable)
    </description>
    <value_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine" />
  </field>
  <value>
    <element>username</element>
    <element>MyCustomBehaviour.my-read-only-fieldname</element>

  </value>
</record>

LDAP: Putting it all together

Plugin activation

If you’d like to configure that directly in ldap_plugin.xml be aware that it’ll by default be configured update="False" which means you’d have to delete the LDAP plugin before loading the settings would take effect.

Attribute mapping

The variable names used in Plone may be different from the attribute names in your LDAP schema. plone.app.ldap maintains a mapping of the “LDAP key” to “Plone key” which you can inspect in the ZMI under “LDAP Schema” (direct ZMI URL: http://localhost:8080/Plone/acl_users/ldap-plugin/acl_users/manage_ldapschema )

The default mapping looks like this:

../../_images/ldap_schema.png

You can change this mapping in GenericSetup by changing ldap_plugin.xml. (ZMI portal_setup: plone.app.ldap.ploneldap.exportimport.exportLDAPSettings).

But even if you don’t need to change it you’ll need to be aware of this name mapping in order to understand how the registry configuration below interacts with your LDAP schema.

registry.xml

To use LDAP, you will typically need to add the following registry config to your own policy GenericSetup. The below reflects the default plone.app.ldap setup - you may wish to remove or change certain fields, depending on your own LDAP schema.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<registry xmlns:i18n="http://xml.zope.org/namespaces/i18n"
          i18n:domain="ploneintranet">
    <record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.primary_external_user_source">
    <field type="plone.registry.field.ASCIILine">
      <title>Primary External User Source</title>
      <description>
        The ID of the PAS plugin that will be treated as the primary source of external users.
      </description>
    </field>
    <value>ldap-plugin</value>
  </record>
  <record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.property_sheet_mapping">
    <field type="plone.registry.field.Dict">
      <title>Property sheet mapping</title>
      <description>
        A mapping of a user property to a specific property sheet which
        should be used to obtain the data for this attribute.
      </description>
      <key_type type="plone.registry.field.ASCII" />
      <value_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine" />
    </field>
    <value>
      <element key="username">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="first_name">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="last_name">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="email">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="department">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="telephone">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="address">ldap-plugin</element>
      <element key="primary_location">ldap-plugin</element>
    </value>
  </record>
  <record name="ploneintranet.userprofile.read_only_fields">
    <field type="plone.registry.field.Tuple">
      <title>Read only fields</title>
      <description>
        User profile fields that are read-only
        (shown on profile editing page but not editable)
      </description>
      <value_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine" />
    </field>
    <value>
      <element>username</element>
      <element>first_name</element>
      <element>last_name</element>
      <element>email</element>
      <element>IUserProfileAdditional.department</element>
      <element>IUserProfileAdditional.telephone</element>
      <element>IUserProfileAdditional.address</element>
      <element>IUserProfileAdditional.primary_location</element>
    </value>
  </record>
</registry>

There’s a gotcha: fullname is a calculated property, so don’t try to set that directly.

User identifier versus login name, oh my

TL;DR: Of all the possible user-identifierish attributes and accessors: use getId() by default. Unless you need an actual login name for authentication, in which case you should use .getUserName().

The problem: for our membrane userprofiles id == getId() == getUserId() == username == getUserName() except when logging in by email, in which case: id == getId() == getUserId() == username != getUserName() == email. Non-membrane acl_users like admin and test users behave differently again.

In Plone, semantically the username is the login name the user inputs in the login form. The userid is a stable user identifier the code uses to refer to a user object.

If you set dexterity.membrane.settings.IDexterityMembraneSettings.use_email_as_username to True, then it becomes possible for users to change email addresses, hence login names as returned by getUserName() - and in this scenario you want to keep the userid unchanges so you retain user profile history. Note that in this scenario getUserName() will be different from username which must remain equal to userid.

The confusion between username and userid is endemic throughout the Plone stack, including the ploneintranet code base. In many many instances username syntax is use for what semantically is a userid. It’s impossible to search-and-replace that, since the upstream API’s of e.g. dexterity.membrane and plone.api already hardcode the mistake.

To make this even more of a mission impossible, much of our code and test code mixes membrane user profiles with addressing acl_users members. Which are different beasts, with different APIs, even though they’re facets of the same actual user profile object.

As a solution I offer you the following meditation on syntax versus semantics:

  • A userprofile.id is the content object’s id in the userprofiles folder. This will be the same as the userid - see ploneintranet.api.userprofile.create, and the assumption that the two are identical plays out in our code base. Changing content ids of userprofiles later on is not possible, see the tests in ploneintranet.userprofile that try to do that.
  • A userprofile does not have a userid attribute. The dx.membrane behaviors do provide .getId() and .getUserId() accessors. These are identical.
  • A userprofile has a .username attribute. The value of this will be identical to the user id, since this is what ploneintranet.api.userprofile.create does on creating the profile. DO NOT CHANGE THE USERNAME. This attribute is used as an alias for userid throughout our code base, never mind that the name does not match the meaning. Changing the username invites disaster.
  • A user profile also has an email attribute. Here it gets interesting. If you enable use_email_as_username, the actual login name is the email address as returned by getUserName() - which is only available on a behavior, not directly on a userprofile. And this may, for some users, be an updated email address different from the username they were created with.
  • A acl_users member is a different thing again. It has a getUserName() accessor, and sometimes it has a working getUserId() accessor (when it’s backed by a membrane user) and sometimes it doesn’t (e.g. admin acl_user). It always has a getId() accessor and that’s what we’re using.

Further reading:

Dos and donts

  • When working with authentication code, use getUserName() instead of username to get the actual login name, as opposed to the user identifier.
  • In all other code paths, user references typically are user ids. For clarity, it’s best to use getId(), which is safer than getUserId() but for legacy compatibility username is also fine, because that should always match the userid. Just remember that username syntax is userid semantics, not the login name.
  • Never use getUserName() syntax for userid semantics. It will appear to work, until you toggle use_email_as_username and then you’re in a world of pain, where only those users whose email address is different from their user id suffer obscure bugs.

User Profile API

ploneintranet.api.userprofile.avatar_tag(username=None, link_to=None)[source]

Get the tag that renders the user avatar wrapped in a link

Parameters:username (string) – Username for which to get the avatar url
Returns:HTML for the avatar tag
Return type:string
ploneintranet.api.userprofile.avatar_url(username=None)[source]

Get the avatar image url for a user profile

Parameters:username (string) – Username for which to get the avatar url
Returns:absolute url for the avatar image
Return type:string
ploneintranet.api.userprofile.create(username, email=None, password=None, approve=False, properties=None)[source]

Create a Plone Intranet user profile.

Parameters:
  • username (string) – [required] The userid for the new user. WTF? see #1043.
  • email (string) – [required] Email for the new user.
  • password (string) – Password for the new user. If it’s not set we generate a random 12-char alpha-numeric one.
  • approve (boolean) – If True, the user profile will be automatically approved and be able to log in.
  • properties (dict) – User properties to assign to the new user.
Returns:

Newly created user

Return type:

ploneintranet.userprofile.content.userprofile.UserProfile object

ploneintranet.api.userprofile.get(userid)[source]

Get a Plone Intranet user profile by userid. userid == username, but username != getUsername(), see #1043.

Parameters:userid (string) – Usernid of the user profile to be found
Returns:User profile matching the given userid
Return type:ploneintranet.userprofile.content.userprofile.UserProfile object
ploneintranet.api.userprofile.get_current()[source]

Get the Plone Intranet user profile for the current logged-in user

Returns:User profile matching the current logged-in user
Return type:ploneintranet.userprofile.content.userprofile.UserProfile object
ploneintranet.api.userprofile.get_user_suggestions(context=None, full_objects=True, min_matches=5, **kwargs)[source]

This is a wrapper around get_users with the intent of providing staggered suggestion of users for a user picker: 1. Users from the current context (workspace)

If not enough users, add:
  1. Users followed by the current logged-in user If not enough combined users from 1+2, fallback to:
  2. All users in the portal.

List users from catalog, avoiding expensive LDAP lookups.

Parameters:
  • context (Content object) – Any content object that will be used to find the UserResolver context
  • full_objects (boolean) – A switch to indicate if full objects or brains should be returned
  • min_matches (int) – Keeps expanding search until this treshold is reached
Returns:

user brains or user objects

Return type:

iterator

ploneintranet.api.userprofile.get_users(context=None, full_objects=True, **kwargs)[source]

List users from catalog, avoiding expensive LDAP lookups.

Parameters:
  • context (Content object) – Any content object that will be used to find the UserResolver context
  • full_objects (boolean) – A switch to indicate if full objects or brains should be returned
Returns:

user brains or user objects

Return type:

iterator

ploneintranet.api.userprofile.get_users_from_userids_and_groupids(ids=None)[source]

Given a list of userids and groupids return the set of users

FIXME this has to be folded into get_users