Defining a Minimum Viable Plone Theme Standard (A proposal)

In the process of thinking about porting themes to Plone I thought it would be important to define
a baseline for quality. Below is my first attempt at defining a standard for Plone themes. Hopefully this will help with GSOC discussions as well. Themes that don't meet these standards could be flagged and placed in a "pipeline" for improvement.

What is expected of a Minimum Viable Plone Theme

This defines the baseline quality needed to certify a theme for the community, I've suggested an A and an AA level of certification.

All of the following components should render with good quality on Desktop, Tablet and Phone sizes.
(eventually we will need to be more explicit about what we mean by "good quality"):

A designation

  • search results page (including the filtering)
  • site map
  • search box
  • typography (all the typographic elements that show up on Plone's test_rendering view)
  • form widgets (all the form elements that show up on Plone's test_rendering view including the labels)
  • login modal and login form
  • portalMessage (info, error and warning see test_rendering view)
  • portlets (news, calendar, events, login portlet)
  • batching navigation
  • navigation bar
  • listing view
  • tabular view
  • full view
  • album view
  • summary view
  • news item view

AA designation

  • styles are consistent also in TinyMCE
  • theme passes WCAG AA
  • provides mosaic layouts

We also need to make sure that the themes we port are not encumbered by restrictive licenses.

My very low level observations on themes:

  1. I noticed that the default Plone theme does not copy cleanly. I tried to duplicate it and set the copy as default and it did not display correctly IIRC

  2. the default Plone theme is not self contained: see

  3. I tried a third party theme (sunrain from quintagroup) and it does not have the aforementioned problems but it displays a warning in the control panel (can't be uninstalled). In fact I did not install it even if it works (??) so it may not be serious but it should not happen no ?

For me, the main problem with themes is not any of this, I think the big improvement should be to get the existing themes in pypi to be tagged with something like 'Plone 5' or 'Plone 5.1' and the theme control panel should be able to search for them, present them to the user, download and install them directly. That would be very nice. If the downloaded theme has problems the user can always uninstall it
If the Plone foundation has the means (human resources) to grade the available themes with your criteria or even mine, why not; but I am extremely dubitative on the existing themes to be evaluated by the organisations or persons creating them. That's a lot of work. A simpler way to evaluate themes could be collaborative (likes or dislikes).
Plone should have more available themes out of the box, quality could come after.

Off topic: I forgot to thank you for your help about the forum. Sorry about that.

If I had to choose I'd prefer 6 high quality out-of-the-box themes to a mixture of 40 okay and mediocre themes.

(and you're welcome about the forum help).

At the moment we have 1 high quality (barceloneta), and just a few others, so I agree with the 'quality comes after'.

Would be nice if it was possible to have a page with links ( maybe an 'demo content for themes add on) to 'whatever needs to be styled).

1 Like

Definitely... something similar to this:

The demo has sample layout variations for common use cases:
home page, service page, blog, portfolio, other (including contact, pricing, faq, coming soon, style guide)

For Plone we need to have sample content/layouts for all the default content types. I'd actually push for mosaic layouts rather than layouts for each content type.