Dict with a list as value in plone.app.registry

This article is a short example of how to use a list as a value of a dict when using plone.app.registry. Perhaps a similar example is already in the docs, but I could not find it when I was looking for it. And since it took me some trial and error to get it right, I figured I could just as well post my solution.

My goal is to be able to store something similar to this in the registry:

{u'foo': [u'one.html',
 u'bar': [u'three.html',

My registry.xml file:

<record name="my.package.example">
  <field type="plone.registry.field.Dict">
    <title>Verification filesnames</title>
    <key_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine">
    <value_type type="plone.registry.field.List">
      <title>Value list</title>
      <value_type type="plone.registry.field.TextLine">
  <value purge="false" />

Note the <value> tag in the second to last line. By adding it, you are sure that an empty dict is already in place so you can manipulate its content straight away (e.g. add items). This is what you will get when you leave out the <value> tag, the record is None:

>>> from zope.component import getUtility
>>> from plone.registry.interfaces import IRegistry
>>> registry = getUtility(IRegistry)
>>> registry['my.package.example'][u'foo'] = [u'one.html', u'two.html']
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: 'NoneType' object does not support item assignment

You may want to include the purge attribute on the <value> tag (like the example), otherwise the dictionary might be reset to the values as stored in your registry.xml file (e.g. when you reinstall the product).


You’ll also want to make sure you are using plone.supermodel version 1.0b7 or later. That version adds support for serialization of nested dicts/lists.

If you don’t, exporting/importing your values will be messed up. For example, you will get this XML upon export with a version before 1.0b7:

  <element key="foo">[u'one.html', u'two.html']</element>

Which results in:

>>> registry['my.package.example']
{u'foo': [u'[', u'u', u"'", u'o', u'n', u'e', u'.', u'h', u't', u'm', u'l', u"'", u',', u' ', u"'", u't', u'w', u'o', u'.', u'h', u't', u'm', u'l', u"'", u']']}

But what you want is this (plone.supermodel 1.0b7 and up):

  <element key="foo">

Which translates to:

>>> registry['my.package.example']
{u'foo': [u'one.html', u'two.html']}

Again: use a recent version of plone.supermodel. The current version, 1.0.3, is the one I worked with.