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Django invitation

This is a fairly simple user-invitation application for Django, designed to make allowing user signups as painless as possible with quota restrictions: you need to be invited by someone else and the number of invitations is limited by user.

Overview

This application enables a common user-invitation workflow:

  1. User fills out an invitation form, entering an email address.
  2. An invitation key is created, and an invitation link is sent to the user's email address.
  3. User clicks the invitation link, the user is able to register in and begin contributing to your site.

Various methods of extending and customizing the invitation process are also provided.

Installation

In order to use django-invitation, you will need to have a functioning installation of Django 1.0 or newer; due to changes needed to stabilize Django's APIs prior to the 1.0 release, django-invitation will not work with older releases of Django.

The django-registration application is required in order to use django-invitation.

Installing from a Mercurial checkout

If you have Mercurial installed on your computer, you can also obtain a complete copy of django-invitation by typing:

hg clone http://code.welldev.org/django-invitation/

Inside the resulting "django-invitation" directory will be a directory named "invitation", which is the actual Python module for this application; you can symlink it from somewhere on your Python path. Using a symlink offers easy upgrades: simply running hg pull -u inside the django-invitation directory will fetch updates from the main repository and apply them to your local copy.

Basic use

To use the invitation system with all its default settings, you'll need to do the following:

  1. Add invitation to the INSTALLED_APPS setting of your Django project.

  2. Add the setting ACCOUNT_INVITATION_DAYS to your settings file; this should be the number of days invitation keys will remain valid after an invitation is sent. Add also the INVITATIONS_PER_USER setting.

  3. Create the necessary templates (see the section on templates below for details).

  4. Add this line to your site's root URLConf before registration urls:

    (r'^accounts/', include('invitation.urls')),
    
  5. Link people to /accounts/invite/ so they can start inviting.

Templates used by django-invitation

The views included in django-invitation make use of five templates:

  • invitation/invitation_form.html displays the invitation form for users to invite contacts.
  • invitation/invitation_complete.html is displayed after the invitation email has been sent, to tell the user his contact has been emailed.
  • invitation/invitation_email_subject.txt is used for the subject of the invitation email.
  • invitation/invitation_email.txt is used for the body of the invitation email.
  • invitation/invited.html is displayed when a user attempts to register his/her account.
  • invitation/wrong_invitation_key.html is displayed when a user attempts to register his/her account with a wrong/expired key.

Examples of all of these templates are not provided; you will need to create them yourself.

Additionally, the URLConf provided with django-invitation includes URL patterns for useful views in Django's built-in authentication application -- this means that a single include in your root URLConf can wire up invitation process.

How it works

Using the recommended default configuration, the URL /accounts/invite/ will map to the view invitation.views.invite, which displays an invitation form (an instance of invitation.forms.InvitationKeyForm); this form asks for an email address. It then does three things:

  1. Validates the form to be sure that's a valid email address.
  2. Creates an instance of invitation.models.InvitationKey, stores an activation key (a SHA1 hash generated from the new user's username plus a randomly-generated "salt").
  3. Sends an email to the user (at the address they supplied) containing a link which can be clicked to register a new account.

For details on customizing this process, including use of alternate invitation form classes, read the code (or django-registration documentation).

After the activation email has been sent, invitation.views.invite issues a redirect to the URL /accounts/invite/complete/. By default, this is mapped to the direct_to_template generic view, and displays the template invitation/invitation_complete.html; this is intended to show a short message telling the user his/her contact has been emailed.

The invitation link will map to the view invitation.views.invited, which will attempt to verify the activation key. If the activation key has expired (this is controlled by the setting ACCOUNT_INVITATION_DAYS, as described above), the register page will not be reachable (see the section on maintenance below for instructions on cleaning out expired keys which have not been used).

Alternatively, you can directly redirect the user to the registration view with the registration_key argument as a GET (or POST) parameter in order to verify if this user is allowed to register.

Maintenance

Inevitably, a site which uses a two-step process for user invitation -- invitation followed by acceptation -- will accumulate a certain number of keys which were created but never used. These keys clutter up the database, so it's desirable to clean them out periodically. For this purpose, a Django command, cleanupinvitation, is provided, which is suitable for use as a regular cron job.

Dependencies

This application is built on top of django-registration, you need to install this application (currently 0.7) and to resolve dependencies of this application.

If you spot a bug

Head over to this application's project page on Bitbucket and check the issues list to see if it's already been reported. If not, open a new issue and I'll do my best to respond quickly.

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