Best way to make Django's login_required the default


I'm working on a large Django app, the vast majority of which requires a login to access. This means that all throughout our app we've sprinkled:

def view(...):

That's fine, and it works great as long as we remember to add it everywhere! Sadly sometimes we forget, and the failure often isn't terribly evident. If the only link to a view is on a @login_required page then you're not likely to notice that you can actually reach that view without logging in. But the bad guys might notice, which is a problem.

My idea was to reverse the system. Instead of having to type @login_required everywhere, instead I'd have something like:

def public_view(...):

Just for the public stuff. I tried to implement this with some middleware and I couldn't seem to get it to work. Everything I tried interacted badly with other middleware we're using, I think. Next up I tried writing something to traverse the URL patterns to check that everything that's not @public was marked @login_required - at least then we'd get a quick error if we forgot something. But then I couldn't figure out how to tell if @login_required had been applied to a view...

So, what's the right way to do this? Thanks for the help!

1/29/2010 6:08:37 PM

Accepted Answer

Middleware may be your best bet. I've used this piece of code in the past, modified from a snippet found elsewhere:

import re

from django.conf import settings
from django.contrib.auth.decorators import login_required

class RequireLoginMiddleware(object):
    Middleware component that wraps the login_required decorator around
    matching URL patterns. To use, add the class to MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES and
    LOGIN_REQUIRED_URLS is where you define URL patterns; each pattern must
    be a valid regex.

    LOGIN_REQUIRED_URLS_EXCEPTIONS is, conversely, where you explicitly
    define any exceptions (like login and logout URLs).
    def __init__(self):
        self.required = tuple(re.compile(url) for url in settings.LOGIN_REQUIRED_URLS)
        self.exceptions = tuple(re.compile(url) for url in settings.LOGIN_REQUIRED_URLS_EXCEPTIONS)

    def process_view(self, request, view_func, view_args, view_kwargs):
        # No need to process URLs if user already logged in
        if request.user.is_authenticated():
            return None

        # An exception match should immediately return None
        for url in self.exceptions:
            if url.match(request.path):
                return None

        # Requests matching a restricted URL pattern are returned
        # wrapped with the login_required decorator
        for url in self.required:
            if url.match(request.path):
                return login_required(view_func)(request, *view_args, **view_kwargs)

        # Explicitly return None for all non-matching requests
        return None

Then in, list the base URLs you want to protect:


As long as your site follows URL conventions for the pages requiring authentication, this model will work. If this isn't a one-to-one fit, you may choose to modify the middleware to suit your circumstances more closely.

What I like about this approach - besides removing the necessity of littering the codebase with @login_required decorators - is that if the authentication scheme changes, you have one place to go to make global changes.

7/27/2013 6:10:34 PM

There is an alternative to putting a decorator on each view function. You can also put the login_required() decorator in the file. While this is still a manual task, at least you have it all in one place, which makes it easier to audit.


    from my_views import home_view

    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        # "Home":
        (r'^$', login_required(home_view), dict(template_name='my_site/home.html', items_per_page=20)),

Note that view functions are named and imported directly, not as strings.

Also note that this works with any callable view object, including classes.

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