Users and Authentication

The chirpradio applications use custom middleware to enforce access controls. It will automatically take care of details like blocking inactive users or redirecting unauthenticated users to the login page.


Roles are a light-weight substitute for the standard Django auth module’s notion of groups.

The list of valid roles is hard-wired into auth/, so adding a new role requires an updated version of the app to be pushed into production.

Access Policy

With only a very few exceptions, all of the URLs that are part of the chirpradio applications are only accessible to signed-in users. If an unauthenticated user tries to visit such a URL, they will be redirected to a login page, and then redirected back to the originally-requested page after they have successfully signed in. This behavior is controlled by custom middleware defined in auth/

Access can be further restricted based on role using the decorators defined in auth/ For example, this is how to define a view that is only accessible to a user who has the role “volunteer coordinator”:

from auth import roles
from auth.decorators import require_role

def my_view(request):
    ... etc ...

User Information

Our User object is defined in auth/ It is similar, but not identical, to the stock Django User object.

For any incoming HttpRequest, the user attribute is automatically populated with the logged-in user’s User object.

def my_hello_world_view(request):
    return HttpResponse('Hello %s!' % request.user)

Users are keyed on their email addresses:

some_user = User.get_by_email(email_addr)

However, users are allowed to change their email address. Applications should not put them in the datastore or otherwise assume that they are invariant.

Unit Testing

To simplify unit testing, the CHIRP authentication system is integrated with Django’s django.test.client module. You can use the login method to test against fake users with various characteristics.

from django.test.client import Client

my_client = Client()
# You can set any of the User object's attributes here.
my_client.login(email="", roles=[role1, role2])
response = my_client.get("/some/page/to/test")

For more information on unit testing in Django, please see