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A Django module for the University of Cambridge Lookup service

Project description


django-ucamlookup is a library which provides useful methods and templates to integrate your Django application with the University of Cambridge University Lookup service.


The following parameters are optional configurations that you can use in your django settings.

  • UCAMLOOKUP_HOST. Optional. Default: "". Specifies the hostname used for the IbisClientConnection. This is the connection object that will be used to make all API calls related to lookup.
  • UCAMLOOKUP_PORT. Optional. Default: 443. Specifies the port used for the IbisClientConnection. This is the connection object that will be used to make all API calls related to lookup.
  • UCAMLOOKUP_URL_BASE. Optional. Default: "". Specifies the URL base used for the IbisClientConnection. This is the connection object that will be used to make all API calls related to lookup.
  • UCAMLOOKUP_CHECK_CERTS. Optional. Default: True. Indicates if the client should check if the server side certificates are valid.
  • UCAMLOOKUP_USERNAME. Optional. Default: None. Specifies the username used for the IbisClientConnection. This is the connection object that will be used to make all API calls related to lookup. We recommend the use of Lookup groups for authentication instead of an individual Raven account.
  • UCAMLOOKUP_PASSWORD. Optional. Default: None. Specifies the password used for the IbisClientConnection. This is the connection object that will be used to make all API calls related to lookup. We recommend the use of Lookup groups passwords for authentication instead of an individual Raven account password.


Install django-ucamlookup using pip:

pip install django-ucamlookup

Add django-ucamlookup to your installed applications in your project configuration


and the urls entries in the file:

    urlpatterns = patterns(
        # lookup/ibis urls
        url(r'^ucamlookup/', include('ucamlookup.urls')),


Lookup contains personal data of University of Cambridge members. Make sure that you are only showing this data to users with rights to see this data.


If no optional settings are specified, django-ucamlookup will use anonymous as username and no password when setting up an IbisClientConnection and executing Lookup APIs. This type of anonymous conneciton is only available inside the Cambridge University Network (CUDN). If your application is deployed outside the CUDN you should use the optional authentication with UCAMLOOKUP_USERNAME and UCAMLOOKUP_PASSWORD.

We do not recommend the use of individual Raven accounts and instead to set up a Lookup group. Users can generate a password for the group and use the group short name as a username for authentication.

Lookup User

django-ucamlookup modifies a User object each time is going to be saved, either new or update. It assigns to its last_name and email the visible name and email from lookup. If lookup's email is not accessible, create the User email as It also sets the User first name to '' to not get updated by social auth pipelines. The username is used to search for this user in lookup.

Lookup Group

django-ucamlookup includes a new model called LookupGroup that it is used to cache lookup models. It is used to store the lookup group id and its name, and therefore used to reduce the number of call to the lookup service. It can also be used to create relation with other models. For example, let's say we have a model called Secret and we only want to let access to it to users inside a certain group or groups. We will create a ManyToMany relation from Secrets to LookupGroup.

The name of the group is retrieve from the lookup service each time the group is saved (new or updated). The name is stored in the name property of the class and the id of the lookup group is stored in lookup_id.

It is important to say that this model is not used to cache relations between lookup users and lookup groups. These relations are always queried to the live lookup service. The model is only used to let the developer make relations between models that include lookup groups and cache the name of the group.

Template macros

Two macros are available to be used in a template: ucamlookup_users, and ucamlookup_groups. These macros have javascript functions that will tranform an html select tag into an interactive selection control which will interact with the lookup service and will let the user use autocomplete and search for lookup users and groups.

To include a selection control that can search and add a single or list of users, use the ucamlookup_users macro. You should pass the html select id as a parameter to the macro. If you want the control to add more than one user you should set the multiple parameter.

    <select id="authors_id" name="authors" multiple="multiple"></select>

    {% include 'ucamlookup_users.html' with input_tag_id="authors_id" multiple=true placeholder='Select an author' %}

As seen in the example you can set the placeholder text with placeholder parameter.

If you want to show existing User records in the input tag you should use the option tag in the template as in the following example:

    <select id="authors_id" name="authors" multiple="multiple">
        {% for user in authors %}
            <option selected=selected value="{{ user.username }}">
                {{user.last_name}} ({{ user.username }})
        {% endfor %}

    {% include 'ucamlookup_users.html' with input_tag_id="authors_id" multiple=true %}

You will also have to include the following macro in the html header of your template to load the js and css files associated. These macros require jquery if you want to include your own jquery library or you are already using it in your template use the parameter jquery to specify it.

    {% include 'ucamlookup_headers.html' with jquery=True %}

Your select tag will be transform into a selection control that allows the user to search for users with either using their username or complete name. When the form is submitted, a list of crsids will be sent with the request as with any normal select tag.

If you need to customise the style of the control, you can use the ucamlookup-user-container class for the container part and the ucamlookup-user-dropdown class for the dropdown parrt of the control.

The same approach will also work for lookup groups, as in the following example:

    <select id="groups_id" name="groupids" multiple="multiple">
        {% for group in groups %}
            <option selected=selected value="{{ group.lookup_id }}">
        {% endfor %}
    {% include 'ucamlookup_groups.html' with input_tag_id="groups_id" multiple="true" %}

Admin interface

The admin interface is tunned to add managing options for the LookupGroup model. The add option will show the same ajax-lookup-integrated-input as the template macros described above.

It also changes the add form for the user and it also shows an interactive ajax lookup-integrated input form when the admin wants to add a new user to the app.

These input forms allow to search for name and crsid in the case of a new user and for name in the case of a lookup group.

Available functions

The module also provides some useful functions to use in your app that do all the calls to the lookup service needed.

get_group_ids_of_a_user_in_lookup(user): Returns the list of group ids of a user

user_in_groups(user, lookup_groups): Check in the lookup webservice if the user is member of any of the groups in the LookupGroup list passed by parameter. Returns True if the user is in any of the groups or False otherwise

get_institutions(user=None): Returns the list of institutions using the lookup ucam service. The institutions of the user passed by parameters will be shown first in the list returned

validate_crsid_list(crsids): It receives a list of crsids (from the select tag from the template macros described previously) and returns a list of User objects corresponding to the crsids passed.

get_or_create_user_by_crsid(crsid): Returns the User object corresponding to the crsid passed. If it does not exists in the database, it is created.

validate_groupid_list(groupids): It receives a list of groupids (from the select tag from the template macros described previously) and returns a list of LookupGroup objects corresponding to the crsids passed.

get_or_create_group_by_groupid(groupid): Returns the LookupGroup object corresponding to the groupid passed. If it does not exists in the database, it is created.

get_institution_name_by_id(institution_id, all_institutions=None): Returns the name of an institution by the id passed. If all_institutions is passed (the result from get_institutions) then the search is done locally using this list instead of a lookup call.

The last two methods can be used to add institutions to a model and show the name instead of the code in the admin interface

class MyModelAdmin(ModelAdmin):
    all_institutions = get_institutions()
    model = MyModel
    list_display = ('institution', )
    list_filter = ('institution_id', )

    def institution(self, obj):
        return get_institution_name_by_id(obj.institution_id, self.all_institutions)
    institution.admin_order_field = 'institution_id'


Run tests

Tox is configured to run on a container with a matrix execution of different versions of python and django combined. It will also show the coverage and any possible PEP8 violations.

$ docker-compose up

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