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Project Description

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Hierarchical template overriding on a per request basis.

**Deprecation Notice:** This project is no longer actively maintained, and will not be
updated for future Django versions. You may be interested in similar projects such as
[django-waffle][] or [gargoyle][].



![Alt text](finial.png "Example of a finial in architecture.")

1. A distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or
similar structure.
2. An ornament at the top, end, or corner of an object such as a post,
piece of furniture, etc.

You might see the relation given that this project's goal is to create a
sparse branch of templates for each override, thus "decorating" the
"top" of your existing templates hierarchy.

What's it for?

Any circumstance in which you wish to do A/B testing, or do dark-launches, or even
include user-specified theming (although, it's a bit heavy for general purpose use),
you can use django-finial to do that for you.

It's especially nice when you're not able or not willing to have multiple versions
of your software stack deployed in order to get A/B. This allows you to do all of your
A/B testing on the same branch/checkout.

How it works

Principally, Finial works at the middleware layer of the request/response cycle.
If request.user is logged in and said user has overrides defined, finial will rearrange
the order of ```STATICFILES_DIRS```, and ```TEMPLATE_DIRS``` such that their resources
will be loaded before the 'default' ones.

There are other features which enable you to override URL paths to views, template_tags to
specify URLS for certain assets in your templates, and helpers that will build the URLConf
settings necessary to host static assets locally for all of your overrides.

How to install it

Installation is easy to get started, but can be quite customized.

For basic use:

* Install the package ```(virtualenv)# pip install django-finial```
* Add ```finial``` to your list of INSTALLED_APPS in ``````
* Add ```finial.middleware.TemplateOverrideMiddleware``` to your project's middleware tuple
(someplace after Session and Authentication)
* Add ```finial.context_processors.asset_url``` to your ```TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS``` tuple.
* Run ```python migrate``` to pick up migrations and table creations

This allows you to override template loading. But it only gets you so far -- you may need
to have an override-prefix for finial to use to find your tempalte directories.

Put this in your `````` to have finial look in ```/path/to/django/overrides/<override_name>_templates/```

FINIAL_TEMPLATE_DIR_PREFIX = '/overrides' # This is the directory prefix from your PROJECT_PATH
See `````` for other common settings

Getting Started

There are three different systems at work in Finial:

1. Template Overrides -- short circuit template loader to load your overridden template first.
2. URLConf Overrides -- create a request.urlconf which puts the override url patterns first.
3. Staticfiles Overrides -- short circuit staticfiles loaders to load contents from override dirs.

**Template Overrides**

These are the most straight forward of the three mechanisms. Basically, it takes advantage of the fact that django
will return the first template whose name matches the one requested by a view's response constructor. It does this
by shuffling the order of the ```TEMPLATE_DIRS``` in settings on a per request basis in Finial's ``middleware``. Finial will
look for users who have overrides enabled; when it finds them it takes all of the overrides for the given user and
rearranges the directory structure for ```TEMPLATE_DIRS``` in override priority order.

Priority, in our case, assumes that lower is more important. So an override with a priority of 1 should always win out.

**URLConf Overrides**

These are a little more complex, but you can opt to use these when you need to have fundamental changes to view logic
for a given url endpoint. It allows you to (again on a per request basis) shuffle the ordering of urlpatterns so
an overridden view can be used in place of the default view for a given url pattern.

We do this using the django machinery which checks each request object for a ```request.urlconf``` attribute. If it finds
this, then it ignores the root URLConf.

Finial knows to setup this request.urlconf by looking at your override urlconf module (has to be its own module) path in
``````. We look for a dictionary of override names to urlconf import strings like the following:


'my_override': 'my_project.my_override_finial_patterns'

**Staticfiles Overrides**

Oddly, this is the most complex of the three situations. While traditional HTTP servers were designed only with static
contents in mind -- django's highly dynamic nature puts it at odds with static media.

We have two areas in which we have to do pretty radically different things. In development, we need django so serve
our content. In production we generally have static media hosted by a different domain entirely (S3, CDNs, etc.). To
address these differences we have a couple of helper methods to sort things out:

**Local Development with Staticfiles Overrides**

In this situation people often setup custom django url endpoints to serve the static media from a checkout of their
project locally.

if settings.DEBUG:
urlpatterns += patterns('',
url(r'^static/(?P<path>.*)$', 'django.views.static.serve', {
'document_root': settings.MEDIA_ROOT}),

So, to get do the same for all of the overrides we're testing locally, we need a separate url endpoint for each one:


if settings.DEBUG:
# Remember to do this BEFORE regular staticfiles serving.
urlpatterns = finial_shortcuts.create_local_override_urls(urlpatterns)
urlpatterns += patterns('',
url(r'^static/(?P<path>.*)$', 'django.views.static.serve', {
'document_root': settings.MEDIA_ROOT}),
You'll notice that a lot of whether you're developing locally or working in production is determined by the ```settings.DEBUG``` flag.
If you use some other variable for this, make sure that it mimics DEBUG.

However, there's still one more thing you must do to get your static media to load properly for local development.
Make sure to prepend your ```settings.STATICFILES_FINDERS``` with ```finial.finders.FinialFileSystemFinder```.

Your `````` should look something like this for staticfiles configurations:


PROJECT_PATH = '/path/to/django/root/'

_Note_: If we want to not require all of our overrides directories to live in our project root, we need to specify
a ```FINIAL_TEMPLATE_DIR_PREFIX``` which is applied after the ```PROJECT_PATH``` variable. The 'root' override directory
from the example above would be ```/path/to/django/root/overrides/```.

**Production with Staticfiles Overrides**

Again, we know we're in production based on the ```settings.DEBUG``` value being ```False```. In that case instead of using local paths,
we construct a URL using ```settings.FINIAL_STATIC_URL_PREFIX```, the override name, and optionally a deploy version (
specified with ```settings.FINIAL_URL_VERSION_PREFIX```

The URLs for these assets are determined by the template context processor that we installed in our ```settings.TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS```
back in the begining.

**Directory Structure**

Since templates and staticfiles are so totally different, we keep them in separate directory structures.

~/path/to/django/overrides/$ tree
├── test_or_staticfiles
│   └── images
│   ├── configure-image.png
│   └── docs-image.png
└── test_or_template
├── apps
│   └── view.html
└── base.html

4 directories, 4 files

Or, alternatively, you can actually put your static media in a 'chroot' inside the test of your static media
by defining the ``FINIAL_URL_PREFIX``:

FINIAL_URL_PREFIX = 'overrides/'
Then you could have a directory structure like so:
~/path/to/django/static$ tree
└── overrides
└── test_or
└── apps
├── configure-image.png
└── docs-image.png

3 directories, 2 files

This is particularly nice because it enables us to differentiate between overrides on the same CDN.
We don't need to deploy to separate S3 buckets for each override.

Creating/Assigning Overrides
**Simple Override Creation**
The easy, straightforward way is to simply enter form fields using the Admin interface.
This works great for adding singular individuals, or for getting a test override setup in
your development environment.

Basically, each row in the overrides table defines four things:

- Who
- Name of the overrides (used in things like urlconf keynames, etc.)
- Directory path of the overrides (may be used in conjunction with `FINIAL_TEMPLATE_DIR_PREFIX`).
- Priority (how should this override be rated vs. others?)

**Programmatic Override Creation**

This is mostly filesystem stuff and some configs. If you've completed the settings assignments above, then
we're one step closer.

Taking our ``FINIAL_TEMPLATE_DIR_PREFIX`` into account, we can create a structure like this:

mdkir $PROJECT_ROOT/overrides/test_override_template

Now you can copy the specific templates over that you'd like to change. These should be picked up before
"regular" templates for those users who have the override.

**Assigning the Override to a User**

Inside your `` shell``:


>>> from finial import models
>>> from django.contrib.auth.models import User
>>> me = User.objects.get(username='gavin') # whichever username here.
>>> my_override = models.UserTemplateOverride()
>>> my_override.user = me
>>> my_override.priority = 10 # In case there are more overrides later
>>> # These two are always the same in our system; we may do away with one someday...
>>> my_override.override_name = 'test_override'
>>> my_override.override_dir = 'test_override'

Now login as this user, ``gavin`` in this case, and see if the templates loaded for this user are different
as you expect.

Producing Results: Context Processors

There are two primary ways of surfacing the differences within template data to users. Both of these make use of
Django's Context Processors. As such, you'll need to make sure that views you're attempting to override
provide the template with a ``RequestContext`` context type (the default for ```http.render()`` now).

**Changing Your Media URLs with asset_url**

If you just need to modify the ``MEDIA_URL`` or ``STATIC_URL``, then you'll want to use the ``asset_url``.

The ``asset_url`` assumes you have a request context (because there's data we tack onto the request object
about which override we're selecting). You'll use this method in situations in which the static media
linked to in the template are different than they are for the rest of the site. It works in two parts;
first, you'll need to define which override is "active" for a given view using a decorator;
second, you'll need to make sure that the ``asset_url`` context processor is setup (only needs to happen once).
Usually, this is necessary when you're doing ``URLConf`` overrides.


from django.conf.global_settings import TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS


In your view:

from finial.decorators import active_override

def override_view(request, *args, **kwargs):
# Sometimes it's easiest just to proxy back to the original view.
return original_view(request, *args, **kwargs)


Now the template returned by ``original_view`` will automatically have their
``MEDIA_URL``, and ``STATIC_URL`` converted to the appropriate URL for
local development, or for production (as defined by ``settings.DEBUG``).

**Informing Javascript of Overrides with override_names**

Sometimes your Javascript code will be pretty divorced from your Django deployment. In those cases,
you cannot rely on Finial to do the right thing. Instead finial comes with the ability to just inform
Javascript code of which overrides are present for a given user. For this we use the ``override_names``
context processor.

Consider the following template code (note: this is mean to always be rendered for a site, not just in an override).

<div id="finial" data-set="{{ FINIAL_POINTS }}"></div>
{% endif %}

This way, javascript gets a string which it can parse using a JSON parser to get a list of override_names (in priority order),
and can make the appropriate choices with which functions to include/run, or templates to render.
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