Plone 4: CSS and RSS Challenges

The new Plone default theme – Sunburst – is a nice upgrade from previous Plones. The themes are one of the ongoing weaknesses of Plone. In fact, when discussing possible site options for a simple site, Plone would have been a good option but WordPress ended up being the better choice because of its theme choices. Since activating the Sunburst theme, I’ve found the styles far more tricky to tweak than any other CSS I’ve worked on. I’ve also had some weird problems making an RSS portlet.

Cascading Style Sheets

Normally, when I have worked on style sheets, I could identify the content area and apply the necessary styles. So, for example, if I wanted to style my portlet footer, I would add .portletFooter to my ploneCustom.css file and I’d be done.

But that isn’t working with some of the styles in Sunburst. I was trying to style the portlet headers. I finally stumbled on:

dl.portlet dt.portletHeader a.tile { styles }

I am slowly figuring out which ones need to be nested and which ones don’t. But it’s slower than I expected. The caching seems to be catching 2 ploneCustom.css files so occasionally my site reverts to the default Sunburst theme, then back to the correct style.

Really Simple Syndication

I use Google Reader for RSS reading and occasionally share items I read. I wanted to add the RSS feed of shared items but the portlet would not pick up the Reader feed. I ended up running the Google Reader RSS feed through a Yahoo! Pipe feed. The new feed URL works fine in the portlet, so I’m not sure what the original RSS feed does (or doesn’t do – it has a long URL, so perhaps Plone doesn’t pick it up) but it looks like sometimes you need to rinse it through another RSS tool.

    David Whelan

    I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.