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Authentication Backend for Mezzanine that allows site registration via alphanumeric invite codes.

Project description

A Mezzanine application that allows site registration via alphanumeric invite codes. It is designed to enable a quick sign up process for invited potential site users.

Development -


Has been tested with Django 1.7 and the latest Mezzanine 3.1.* development branch (master) using both Python 2.7 and Python 3.3.

Mezzanine versions 3.1.10 and earlier may also work if you can ignore or workaround Issue 1114.


A site admin creates an Invite Code linked with at least the invitee’s email address and possibly also their full name and phone number. This code’s key (a short alphanumeric token) is sent to the invitee and, if they choose to use it, the first login with the code will create a new site user.

An Invite Code must be used to register within the number of days given by the INVITE_CODE_USAGE_WINDOW setting (default 14 days), and once registered, the code is valid for the number of days given by INVITE_CODE_EXPIRY_DAYS (default 30 days).

The code is always of the form:

<Three or more uppercase letters><three digits>

For example, ABCXYZ123. The default code length is 9 but this is configurable via the INVITE_CODE_LENGTH setting.

The send_invite view

Include invites.urls in your URL_CONF to get a staff-only view called send-invite which will display a form with email, name and phone fields. Click Send Invite to send an email with the unique code to the recipient.

The invite management command

Create a code with the Django management command invite:

./bin/django invite

which will prompt for an email address for the invitee.

You can also specify the email as a paramter:

./bin/django invite

Invitation Codes are associated with a given Site, so if there are multiple sites,then you need to specify which by domain name:

./bin/django invite

Once created you will be asked if you want to send the invitation right away. If you decline then the code will simply be printed out.

Email Backend

To send emails, an appropriate email backend must be configured. See the Django email docs for more information.


The INVITE_CODE_LENGTH setting determines the length of the invite code. It ought to be an integer greater than or equal to 6 and less than or equal to 30.

The INVITE_CODE_USAGE_WINDOW setting determines how many days before an Invite Token must be used.

Once used to register with a site the INVITE_CODE_EXPIRY_DAYS setting determines how many days before the Invite Token becomes invalid as a login token.

In order for the invite code to be acceptable as a login token, add the InviteAuthBackend to the list of AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS in settings:


You can in fact just have InviteAuthBackend as the sole backend since it is a subclass of the MezzanineBackend and will fall back to the latter’s authentication:


The difference between the two setups is that if MezzanineBackend is picking up the standard username/password login then it won’t authenticate the first use of an Invite Code or, obviously, create the newly-registered user, whereas InviteAuthBackend will do both of those things.

Note, however, that if you have mezzanine.accounts in your INSTALLED_APPS setting, then MezzanineBackend will be added to the list of backends anyway by the set_dynamic_settings call in your settings module.


The following templates are required.

  • invites/send_invite.html

  • invites/send_invite_email.txt

  • invites/send_invite_email.html

There are further templates to handle the default login scenario - a login page that has two forms, one a standard username/password/captcha form, and the other a quick login form requiring only the invite code.

  • accounts/account_form.html

  • accounts/account_login.html


To create a demo project with a sqlite backend run:

$ make demo

Then create an invite code with an associated (not necessary valid) email:

$ make invite

Copy the six character Invite Code that is printed out.

Next run a test server with:

$ make serve

and navigate to the login page. You should see two login forms - a standard username/password/captcha form and another “Quick” form requiring only an Invite Code.

You should be able to login with either form.


This is an inherently less secure means of authentication compared to the regular username/password flow. The Invite Code Token gives immediate site access and yet:

  • may have been sent in a plain text email

  • exists in the database in plain text form

  • does not require knowledge of the associated username

  • may not be very strong cryptographically

This inherent risk is mitigated by the INVITE_CODE_EXPIRY_DAYS setting. In strict environments, both the INVITE_CODE_EXPIRY_DAYS and INVITE_CODE_USAGE_WINDOW settings should be low numbers. Once expired, a user will still be registered and active but will not be able to login until they have set up their own password by the standard means, eg. via a Forgotten Password form.

Setting INVITE_CODE_EXPIRY_DAYS to 0 will cause Invite Codes to be effectively “one-shot” tokens.

To expire a code that becomes invalid while that code’s user is logged-in and has an active session, a middleware component might be implemented to check code expiry on each request and logout the user if necessary.

Source and Issues

Source is on github.

Testing with tox/pytest

Run tests with:

make test

which is just an alias for:

python test

Project details

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