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Installing Plone Help Center on Plone 4

Plone Help Center (PHC) is a Plone module used on the Plone site to handle community documentation and support site. The module comes with predefined FAQ, How-to, Tutorial, Reference Manuals, Error Reference, Links, and Glossary Definitions.

PHC has compatibility issues with Plone version 4. This information is no readily apparent on the PHC project page. Installing PHC on a Plone 4 installation running on a Mac OS X 10.6.5 server took quite a while due to tracking down errors.

PHC will work with Plone 4 if you install PHC as a development egg using the SVN trunk. Development eggs override eggs listed in the eggs section of the buildout.cfg file.

Background

According to posts found on the Plone Product Developers list, the released, final version of Plone Help Center (PHC) listed on the project page is not compatible with Plone 4. (Cyn.in, a Plone 3-based environment, also has problems running PHC.)

If you try to install PHC using buildout or non-buildout methods (i.e., in the Products folder), you will most likely receive the following error message: AttributeError: type object 'BrowserDefaultMixin' has no attribute '__implements__'.

Requirements

To get Plone Help Center working with Plone 4, you will need:

  • Access to the Plone 4 installation with permissions to edit files
  • An available text editor
  • The address of the SVN PHC trunk: http://svn.plone.org/svn/collective/Products.PloneHelpCenter/trunk/

Procedure

This procedure assumes that you have a running, properly configured Plone 4 installation, are familiar with editing files and using a Unix terminal. While this procedure is written for OS X, it should be compatible with other Unix or Linux. Commands used for Windows will be different, however, the general method should still work.

Instructions for adding the development eggs are based upon Plone’s Installing a third party product article.

In the example procedure below, Plone was installed as a stand-alone instance (non ZEO Cluster).

  1. Log on to the Plone server.
  2. Change directory to the Plone installation folder (replace with the appropriate username: cd /Users//Plone/zinstance
  3. Stop Plone: ./instance stop
  4. Change directories to src and checkout a copy of the PHC from SVN.

    cd src
    svn co https://svn.plone.org/svn/collective/Products.PloneHelpCenter/trunk/

    Note: You may need to change the folder name from “trunk” to Products.PloneHelpCenter.
  5. Move up one directory: cd ..
  6. Create a a backup of the buildout.cfg file: cp buildout.cfg buildout.backup
  7. Edit the buildout.cfg file. Add the Products.PloneHelpCenter to the eggs section and the development egg location created earlier to the develop section:

    [buildout]
    ...
    eggs =
    ...
    Products.PloneHelpCenter

    develop =
    src/Products.PloneHelpCenter

  8. Save the file and exit the text editor.
  9. Run the buildout command from the zinstance directory to update Plone: ./bin/buildout
  10. Start Plone: ./bin/instance fg
  11. Log on to Plone’s Zope Management Interface (ZMI) by opening a browser to http://your.site.address/manage.
  12. On the left side, expand the tree under the name of your site.
  13. Click on portal_quickinstaller and click the checkbox next to PloneHelpCenter under Installable Products. Press Install.
  14. Log on to the Plone site. Help Center should be listed as one of the options under the Add New menu.

(This article originally appeared on my other blog, ceffyl.net.)

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