Plone with a clean development environment on Leopard

I still have a G5 PowerMac. It runs Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. I know it’s old, but since it’s a PowerPC I can’t upgrade the MacOS. It’s still very relevant for doing Plone development, as Apple has a long history of installing old libraries anyway, so managing that stuff is just part of life with Apple. Here’s how I set it up to do development for Plone in a clean way:

When you install Plone using the installers with default options you get a virtual environment. Changes you make to your buildout in there generally don’t affect your operating system. When you want to develop a Plone product or do core development, however, you’ll be working from a Subversion working copy, not a normally-installed Plone setup. The development environment instructions gets you set up with some nice tools, but there are a couple of additional steps you can do to keep your development environment nice and tidy.

Things you’ll need to have a sane development situation on OS X:

  • XCode Tools – Version 3.1.4 seems to be the last PPC-compatible version. It’s there, but you’ll need to register and dig for it. XCode 3.1.4 includes…
  • Subversion – version 1.4.4, [update: Plone now uses git] which seems to be just new enough to work. If you are reading this later on and 1.4.4 doesn’t work anymore, install a new version using…
  • Homebrew – or another package manager of some kind. I’ve used MacPorts, Fink, Gentoo Prefix, and now I’m on the PowerPC branch of Homebrew. I got this idea from David Glick. However, I almost gave up when complications arose from removing MacPorts. I’m sure you can adapt these instructions to whatever package manager you want. I like Homebrew because it doesn’t duplicate what the OS provides, such as…
  • Python – but Plone doesn’t work with Python 2.5, so you’ll need to install Python manually, because Homebrew doesn’t duplicate what the OS provides. You’ll want Python 2.6 for Plone 4 and Python 2.4 for Plone 3. For 2.4 you’ll want to compile it with a special MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET=10.5 flag. Whatever Python you have, you’ll want…
  • PIP – You can get by with easy_install, but despite OS X having surprisingly good segregation for site-packages, who wants to live without uninstall? Just easy_install pip, and never use easy_install again. Then use pip to install…
  • virtualenv – Creates silos in which to put Plone setups so they don’t contaminate your system and your system doesn’t contaminate your Plone. You can pip install this with the system Python and point it to a specific Python version later, when you use it.

How to set up a virtualized Plone development environment:

Set up a virtual environment.
$ virtualenv -v -p /usr/local/bin/python2.6 --no-site-packages --distribute ./py26env
Check out the Plone development buildout.
$ svn co ./plone41devel

[Update: Plone now uses git.]

Change directories into your working copy.
$ cd ./plone41devel
Invoke with the virtualenv’s python.
$ ../py26env/bin/python && bin/buildout

Set up a local buildout configuration

The buildout configuration files for Plone are in Subversion. If you are a core developer and make a change you run the risk of accidentally committing that change to the core. A file named ‘local.cfg’ should be in svn:ignore, which means you can create it and edit it to your heart’s content without worrying about it getting caught up in your feverish fixing. It needs to hook back into the real buildout.cfg though, so it should look something like this:

extends =

Then you just run bin/buildout -c local.cfg and after that you can use bin/develop rb.

Fixing PIL and lxml for OS X

Plone 4.1 needs PIL and lxml to be truly happy, but OS X makes it particularly challenging to install these. Fortunately, others have solved this problem, so I’m just going to give you my local.cfg that takes care of it. PIL is easy: Alex Clark’s Pillow does all the work for us. The real trick is the redefinition of the [instance] part with an arbitrary dependency on [lxml]. That’s necessary to force the lxml part to be run before anything else, which is the only way it will work.

extends =
eggs +=
parts +=

recipe = z3c.recipe.staticlxml
egg = lxml
build-libxslt = true
build-libxml2 = true
static-build = true
libxml2-url =
libxslt-url =

recipe = plone.recipe.zope2instance
user = admin:admin
http-address = 8080
eggs = ${buildout:eggs}
environment-vars =
	zope_i18n_compile_mo_files true
	_dummy ${lxml:egg}

Finally, if you want to check out a package, you can modify [sources] in local.cfg. Just add a sources part:

extends =
my.product = svn svn://uri

and run bin/develop co my.product && bin/develop rb to check out and install most eggifiable repositories.

2 thoughts on “Plone with a clean development environment on Leopard”

  1. Thanks for this post, especially the part on lxml is very useful. Can’t remember how often I was struggling with this beast…

    1. Glad you found it helpful. There are a handful of libraries that are challenging for Python for various reasons: lxml, openldap, and PIL come to mind.

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