There are several ways to use Diazo:

  • If you want to theme Plone, you should use plone.app.theming

  • If you want to theme a Python WSGI application, you can use the WSGI middleware component described here and in more detail in Deployment.

  • If you want to theme just about anything, you can deploy a compiled theme to nginx or another web server

To test Diazo, however, the easiest way is to set up a simple proxy. The idea is to run a local webserver that applies the Diazo theme to a response coming from an existing website, either locally or somewhere on the internet.

To set up the proxy, we will use Buildout.

  1. Create a directory for the buildout:

    $ mkdir diazo-test
  2. Download the latest Buildout bootstrap.py and put it in this directory:

    $ cd diazo-test
    $ wget http://downloads.buildout.org/2/bootstrap.py
  3. Create a buildout.cfg in this directory with the following contents. Please read the inline comments and adjust your copy as necessary:

    versions = versions
    # Uncomment the `lxml` line if you are on OS X or want to compile your
    # own lxml binary egg on Linux. This will not work on Windows.
    parts =
    #   lxml
    recipe = zc.recipe.egg
    eggs =
        diazo [wsgi]
    recipe = z3c.recipe.staticlxml
    egg = lxml
  4. Bootstrap the buildout (this is only required once):

    $ python bootstrap.py

    Note: You should use a Python binary version 2.6 or above. Python 3 is currently untested and may not work.

  5. Run the buildout (this is required each time you change buildout.cfg):

    $ bin/buildout

    You should now have the binaries bin/paster, bin/diazocompiler, bin/diazorun and maybe a few others.

  6. Place the theme in a directory. The theme is a static HTML design, usually with placeholder content and images, stylesheets and JavaScript resources included via relative links. You would normally be able to test the theme by opening it from the filesystem.

    For the purposes of this quick-start guide, we’ll create a very simple theme:

    $ mkdir theme

    In the theme directory, we place a theme.html:

            <title>My own Diazo</title>
            <link rel="stylesheet" href="./theme.css" />
            <h1 id="title">My own Diazo home page</h1>
            <div id="content">
                <!-- Placeholder -->
                Lorem ipsum ...

    We also create theme.css:

    h1 {
        font-size: 18pt;
        font-weight: bold;
    .headerlink {
        color: #DDDDDD;
        font-size: 80%;
        text-decoration: none;
        vertical-align: top;
    .align-right {
        float: right;
        margin: 0 10px;
        border: dotted #ddd 1px;
  7. Create the rules file. The rules file contains the Diazo directives that merge the content (the thing we are applying the theme to) into the theme, replacing placeholders with real content.

    For this example, we’ll theme diazo.org, copying in the .content area and dropping the indices and tables.

    We create rules.xml at the top level (next to buildout.cfg):

        <theme href="theme/theme.html" />
        <drop css:content="#indices-and-tables" />
        <replace css:theme-children="#content" css:content-children=".content" />

See Basic syntax for details about the rules syntax.

Hint: Use tools like Firefox’s Firebug or Chrome’s Developer Tools to inspect the theme and content pages, looking for suitable ids and classes to build the rules from.

  1. Create the configuration file for the proxy server. This uses the Paste Deploy toolset to set up a WSGI application.

    At the top level (next to buildout.cfg), we create proxy.ini:

    use = egg:gearbox#wsgiref
    host =
    port = 5000
    use = egg:rutter#urlmap
    /static = static
    / = default
    # Serve the theme from disk from /static (as set up in [composite:main])
    use = egg:webobentrypoints#staticdir
    path = %(here)s/theme
    # Serve the Diazo-transformed content everywhere else
    pipeline = theme
    # Reference the rules file and the prefix applied to relative links
    # (e.g. the stylesheet). We turn on debug mode so that the theme is
    # re-built on each request, making it easy to experiment.
    use = egg:diazo
    rules = %(here)s/rules.xml
    prefix = /static
    debug = true
    # Proxy the diazo docs hosted at http://docs.plone.org as content
    # not using http://docs.diazo.org since there's a redirect in place
    use = egg:webobentrypoints#proxy
    address = http://docs.plone.org/external/diazo/docs/index.html
    suppress_http_headers = accept-encoding
  2. Run the proxy:

    $ bin/gearbox serve --reload -c proxy.ini
  3. Test, by opening up http://localhost:5000/ in your favourite web browser.