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Code for having different access levels for content

Project description

Provides a mechanism for restricting access to models inside Armstrong.


Make sure that armstrong.core.arm_content is installed in your environment and has been added to your INSTALLED_APPS. You will also need to make sure the models have been installed in your database via armstrong syncdb. See the ‘Restricting Content’ and ‘User Memberships’ sections for more information.

Restricting Content

Content objects can have access restricted to certain levels by having them inherit from the armstrong.core.arm_access.mixins.AccessMixin class. This will allow for the association of armstrong.core.arm_access.models.Assignment’s which specify levels that grant access to that object for a specific time frame.

For the basic paywall scenario where some stories are always premium and others are always public, create two armstrong.core.arm_access.models.Level’s. One will be your premium level which will have is_protected set to True while the other will be your public level which will have is_protected set to False. When publishing an article, assign one of the two levels to the content.

For content which is premium for a period and then becomes public, create two levels as before. Assign new content to the premium level with an immediate start_date, and also assign it to the public level with a start_date when you would like the content to become freely available.

To restrict access to your archives to only premium subscribers you would add content to the public level with an immediate start_date and an end_date of when you want to no longer offer free access. You will then need to add the content to the premium level with an immediate start_date and no end_date (which will default to datetime.datetime.max).

User Memberships

Users are granted access to Levels via armstrong.core.arm_access.models.AccessMembership’s. Each membership has a start_date and end_date which defines the time frame for which the membership is valid. Each memrbership also has an active boolean field which can be set to False to invalidate the membership. A user’s active memberships can be queried with user.access_memberships.current()


The actual process of preventing a user from accessing a piece of content is handled via the paywalls in the armstrong.core.arm_access.paywalls package. Currently the only provided paywall is armstrong.core.arm_access.paywalls.subscription.SubscriptionPaywall which checks for current memberships. The SubscriptionPaywall only works on a view which returns a TemplateResponse.

To use the SubscriptionPaywall in the demo app, you would use code like the following:


paywall = SubscriptionPaywall()
protected_detail = paywall.protect(object_detail)


url(r'^article/(?P<slug>[-\w]+)/', protected_detail, {

An AccessDenied would be raised any time a user visited an article that was protected with an access Level that they didn’t have a membership for. SubscriptionPaywall takes an additional argument permission_denied that determines what action to take on failure. The argument must be a callable that takes one argument, a TemplateResponse, and returns a Response object representing what to do on access denied. For example:

# to redirect to a new url entirely
from armstrong.core.arm_access.paywalls import redirect_on_deny
redirecting_paywall = SubscriptionPaywall(

# to render the request's context with a new template (to provide teaser
# content)
from armstrong.core.arm_access.paywalls import render_on_deny
rendering_paywall = SubscriptionPaywall(

If you wanted to only render ads for users without a premium access level, you could use the SubscriptionPaywall with a default template that doesn’t render ads and a render_on_deny that does.

To only allow an anonymous user a certain number of full article views and then display the paywall, you would need to build a custom paywall implementation, but the SubscriptionPaywall should provide a decent template. If you do implement it, it would be an excellent candidate for inclusion in this package.

Installation & Configuration

You can install the latest release of armstrong.core.arm_access using pip:

pip install armstrong.core.arm_access

Make sure to add armstrong.core.arm_access to your INSTALLED_APPS. You can add this however you like. This works as a copy-and-paste solution:

INSTALLED_APPS += ["armstrong.core.arm_access", ]

Once installed, you have to run either syncdb, or migrate if you are using South.


  • Create something awesome – make the code better, add some functionality, whatever (this is the hardest part).
  • Fork it
  • Create a topic branch to house your changes
  • Get all of your commits in the new topic branch
  • Submit a pull request

State of Project

Armstrong is an open-source news platform that is freely available to any organization. It is the result of a collaboration between the Texas Tribune and Bay Citizen, and a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

To follow development, be sure to join the Google Group.

armstrong.core.arm_access is part of the Armstrong project. You’re probably looking for that.


Copyright 2011 Bay Citizen and Texas Tribune

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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