skip to navigation
skip to content

Not Logged In

Kotti 0.1a5

A friendly, light-weight web content management system (WCMS). Written in Python, based on Pyramid and SQLAlchemy.

Package Documentation

Latest Version: 0.9.2

What is Kotti?

Kotti is a user-friendly web content management system (WCMS).


  • Support for pluggable authentication modules and single sign-on
  • Access control lists (ACL) for fine-grained security
  • Separation between public area and editor interface
  • Separation of basic and advanced functionality in the editor user interface, enabling a pleasant learning curve for editors
  • Easily extensible with your own look & feel with no programming required
  • Easily extensible with your own content types and views


At this point, Kotti is experimental. You're encouraged to try it out and give us feedback, but don't use it in production yet. We're likely to make fundamental changes to both Kotti's API and its database structure in weeks to come.

Issue tracker and development

Kotti is developed on Github. The issue tracker also lives there.

Kotti's mailing list for both users and developers is at

You can also find us on IRC: join the #kotti channel on

Installation using virtualenv

It's recommended to install Kotti inside a virtualenv.

Change into the directory of your Kotti download and issue:

$ python install

To run Kotti with the included development profile then type:

$ paster serve development.ini

To run all tests:

$ python nosetests

Installation using buildout

Alternatively, you can use the provided buildout configuration like so:

$ python
$ bin/buildout

To run Kotti with the included development profile then type:

$ bin/paster serve development.ini

To run all tests:

$ bin/test

Configuring Kotti

Kotti includes two Paste Deploy configuration files in production.ini and development.ini.

kotti.authn_policy_factory and kotti.authz_policy_factory

You can override the authentication and authorization policy that Kotti uses. By default, Kotti uses these factories:

kotti.authn_policy_factory = kotti.authtkt_factory
kotti.authz_policy_factory = kotti.acl_factory

These settings correspond to pyramid.authentication.AuthTktAuthenticationPolicy and pyramid.authorization.ACLAuthorizationPolicy being used.


kotti.secret and kotti.secret2 (optional) are used as salts for various hashing functions. Also, kotti.secret is the password of the default admin user. (Which you should change immediately.)

An example:

kotti.secret = qwerty
kotti.secret2 = asdfgh

With these settings, to log in as admin, you would log in as admin with the password qwerty.

kotti.secret is used as a salt to the passwords in the default user database. Changing it will result in the user database's passwords becoming invalid.


The kotti.session_factory configuration variable allows the overriding of the default session factory, which is pyramid.session.UnencryptedCookieSessionFactoryConfig.


Kotti comes with a default user database implementation in You can use the kotti.principals configuration variable to override the implementation used. The default looks like this:

kotti.principals =

kotti.templates.master_view and kotti.templates.master_edit

The default configuration for these two variables is:

kotti.templates.master_view = kotti:templates/view/
kotti.templates.master_edit = kotti:templates/edit/

You may override these to provide your own master templates.

kotti.templates.base_css, kotti.templates.view_css, and kotti.templates.edit_css

These variables define the CSS files used by the default master templates. The defaults are:

kotti.templates.base_css = kotti:static/base.css
kotti.templates.view_css = kotti:static/view.css
kotti.templates.edit_css = kotti:static/edit.css


The default configuration here is:

kotti.includes = kotti.views.view kotti.views.edit kotti.views.login kotti.views.manage

These point to modules that contain an includeme function. An includeme function that registers an edit view for an Event resource might look like this:

def includeme(config):

Examples of views and their registrations are in Kotti itself. Take a look at kotti.views.view and kotti.views.edit. XXX Need example extension package.

Changing the kotti.includes configuration allows you to register your own views or event handlers instead of Kotti's defaults. As an example, consider a scenario where you want to implement your own management views. This could be because you're using a user database implementation that is very different to Kotti's own. Your configuration would look something like this:

kotti.includes = kotti.views.view kotti.views.edit kotti.views.login mypackage.manage
kotti.principals = mypackage.manage.principals

Note that it's also possible to set these options directly from your Python package by use of the kotti.configurators configuration variable.


The default configuration here is:

kotti.available_types = kotti.resources.Document

You may replace or add your own types with this variable. An example:

kotti.available_types =

kotti.resources.Document is itself a class that's suitable as an example of a Kotti content type implementation:

class Document(Node):
    type_info = Node.type_info.copy(

    def __init__(self, body=u"", mime_type='text/html', **kwargs):
        super(Document, self).__init__(**kwargs)
        self.body = body
        self.mime_type = mime_type

documents = Table('documents', metadata,
    Column('id', Integer, ForeignKey(''), primary_key=True),
    Column('body', UnicodeText()),
    Column('mime_type', String(30)),
mapper(Document, documents, inherits=Node, polymorphic_identity='document')


Requiring users of your package to set all the configuration variables by hand in pasteserve.ini is not ideal. That's why Kotti includes a configuration variable through which extending packages can set all other configuration options through Python. Here's an example of a function that configures Kotti:

# in mypackage/
def kotti_configure(config):
    config['kotti.includes'] += ' mypackage.views'
    config['kotti.principals'] = ''
    config['kotti.authn_policy_factory'] = ''

And this is how you'd hook it up in the pasteserve.ini:

kotti.configurators = mypackage.kotti_configure

Authentication and Authorization

We're currently working on a user interface for user management.

Authentication in Kotti is pluggable. See kotti.authn_policy_factory.


Auhorization in Kotti can be configured through kotti.authz_policy_factory. The default implementation uses inherited access control lists. The default install of Kotti has a root object with this ACL that's defined in

    ['Allow', 'system.Authenticated', ['view']],
    ['Allow', 'role:viewer', ['view']],
    ['Allow', 'role:editor', ['view', 'add', 'edit']],
    ['Allow', 'role:owner', ['view', 'add', 'edit', 'manage']],

You can see how viewing the site is locked down to authenticated users. You can set the ACL through the Node.__acl__ property to your liking. To open your site so that everyone can view, do:

from kotti.resources import get_root
root = get_root(request)
root.__acl__ = root.__acl__ + [('Allow', 'system.Everyone'), ['view']]

Roles and groups

The default install of Kotti maps the role:admin role to the admin user. The effect of which is that the admin user gains ALL_PERMISSIONS throughout the site.

Principals can be assigned to roles or groups by use of the function, which needs to be passed a context to work with:

from import set_groups
set_groups(bobsfolder, 'bob', ['role:owner'])

To list roles and groups of a principal, use Although you're more likely to be using Pyramid's security API in your code.

Under the hood

Kotti is written in Python and builds upon on the two excellent libraries Pyramid and SQLAlchemy. Kotti tries to leverage these libraries as much as possible, thus:

  • minimizing the amount of code and extra concepts, and
  • allowing users familiar with Pyramid and SQLAlchemy to feel right at home since Kotti's API is mostly that of Pyramid and SQLAlchemy.

For storage, you can configure Kotti to use any relational database for which there is support in SQLAlchemy. There's no storage abstraction apart from that.

Have a question? Join our mailing list at or read this blog post for more implementation details.


Kotti thanks the University of Coimbra for their involvement and support.



  • Add sharing screen.

    This allows you to set roles for groups and users on individual folders. This also considers roles that are inherited from higher up in the hierarchy, and those that are inherited from groups that the user belongs to.

  • Refined available system roles in We now have:

    • Viewer: view
    • Editor: view, add, edit
    • Owner: view, add, edit, manage
    • Admin: all permissions


  • Added login form.

    With the development profile in development.ini, log in with user 'admin' and password 'qwerty'. User management and sharing tab is a TODO.

  • Add a default user database implementation in

    Override with kotti.principals configuration setting.

  • Add inheritbale, nested groups support.

    Groups are stored in Node.__groups__. The API is and

File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
Kotti-0.1a5.tar.gz (md5) Source 2011-02-23 34KB
  • Downloads (All Versions):
  • 228 downloads in the last day
  • 1387 downloads in the last week
  • 6873 downloads in the last month