Permission Manager in Open Event API Server

Open Event API Server uses different decorators to control permissions for different access levels as discussed here. Next challenging thing for permissions was reducing redundancy and ensuring permission decorators are independent of different API views. They should not look to the view for which they are checking the permission or some different logic for different views.

In API Server, we have different endpoints that leads to same Resource this way we maintain relationships between different entities but this leads to a problem where permission decorators has to work on different API endpoints that points to different or same resource and but to check a permission some attributes are required and one or more endpoints may not provide all attributes required to check a permission.

For instance, PATCH /session/id` request requires permissions of a Co-Organizer and permission decorator for this requires two things, user detail and event details. It is easy to fetch user_id from logged in user while it was challenging to get “event_id”. Therefore to solve this purpose I worked on a module named “” situated at “app/api/helpers/” in the codebase

Basic Idea of Permission Manager

Permission manager basically works to serve the required attributes/view_kwargs to permission decorators so that these decorators do not break

Its logic can be described as:

    1. It first sits in the middle of a request and permission decorator
    2. Evaluates the arguments passed to it and ensure the current method of the request (POST, GET, etc ) is the part of permission check or not.
    3. Uses two important things, fetch and fetch_as
      fetch => value of this argument is the URL parameter key which will be fetched from URL or the database ( if not present in URL )
      fetch_as => the value received from fetch will be sent to permission decorator by the name as the value of this option.
    4. If the fetch key is not there in URL, It uses third parameter model which is Model if the table from where this key can be fetched and then passes it to permission decorator
    5. Returns the requested view on passing access level and Forbidden error if fails

This way it ensures that if looks for the only specific type of requests allowing us to set different rules for different methods.

if 'methods' in kwargs:
        methods = kwargs['methods']

    if request.method not in methods:
        return view(*view_args, **view_kwargs)

Implementing Permission Manager

Implementing it was a simple thing,

  1. Firstly, registration of JSON API app is shifted from app/api/ to app/api/ so that this module can be imported anywhere
  2. Added permission manager to the app_v1 module
  3. Created in app/api/helpers
  4. Added it’s usage in different APIs

An example Usage:

decorators = (api.has_permission('is_coorganizer', fetch='event_id', fetch_as="event_id", methods="POST",
                                     check=lambda a: a.get('event_id') or a.get('event_identifier')),)

Here we are checking if the request has the permission of a Co-Organizer and for this, we need to fetch event_id  from request URI. Since no model is provided here so it is required for event_id in URL this also ensures no other endpoints can leak the resource. Also here we are checking for only POST requests thus it will pass the GET requests as it is no checking.

What’s next in permission manager?

Permission has various scopes for improving, I’m still working on a module as part of permission manager which can be used directly in the middle of views and resources so that we can check for permission for specific requests in the middle of any process.

The ability to add logic so that we can leave the check on the basis of some logic may be adding some lambda attributes will work.


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Decorators in Open Event API Server

One of the interesting features of Python is the decorator. Decorators dynamically alter the functionality of a function, method, or class without having to directly use subclasses or change the source code of the function being decorated.

Open Event API Server makes use of decorator in various ways. The ability to wrap a function and run the decorator(s) before executing that function solves various purpose in Python. Earlier before decoupling of Orga Server into API Server and Frontend, decorators were being used for routes, permissions, validations and more.

Now, The API Server mainly uses decorators for:

  • Permissions
  • Filtering on the basis of view_kwargs or injecting something into view_kwargs
  • Validations

We will discuss here first two because validations are simple and we are using them out of the box from marshmall-api

The second one is custom implementation made to ensure no separate generic helpers are called which can add additional database queries and call overheads in some scenarios.

Permissions Using Decorators

Flask-rest-jsonapi provides an easy way to add decorators to Resources. This is as easy as defining this into Resource class

  1. decorators = (some_decorator, )

On working to event role decorators to use here, I need to follow only these 3 rules

  • If the user is admin or super admin, he/she has full access to all event roles
  • Then check the user’s role for the given event
  • Returns the requested resource’s view if authorized unless returns Forbidden Error response.

One of the examples is:

def is_organizer(view, view_args, view_kwargs, *args, **kwargs):
  user = current_identity
  if user.is_staff:
      return view(*view_args, **view_kwargs)
  if not user.is_organizer(kwargs['event_id']):
      return ForbiddenError({'source': ''}, 'Organizer access is required').respond()
  return view(*view_args, **view_kwargs)

From above example, it is clear that it is following those three guidelines

Filtering on the basis of view_kwargs or injecting something into view_kwargs

This is the main point to discuss, starting from a simple scenario where we have to show different events list for different users. Before decoupling API server, we had two different routes, one served the public events listing on the basis of event identifier and other to show events to the event admins and managers, listing only their own events to their panel.

In API server there are no two different routes for this. We manage this with a single route and served both cases using the decorator. This below is the magic decorator function for this purpose

def accessible_role_based_events(view, view_args, view_kwargs, *args, **kwargs):
  if 'POST' in request.method or 'withRole' in request.args:
      user = current_identity
      if 'GET' in request.method and user.is_staff:
          return view(*view_args, **view_kwargs)
      view_kwargs['user_id'] =
  return view(*view_args, **view_kwargs)

It works simply by looking for ‘withRole’ in requests and make a decision to include user_idinto kwargs as per these rules

  1. If the request is POST then it has to be associated with some user so add the user_id
  2. If the request is GET and ‘withRole’ GET parameter is present in URL then yes add the user_id. This way user is asking to list the events in which I have some admin or manager role
  3. If the request is GET and ‘withRole’ is defined but the logged in user is admin or super_adminthen there is no need add user_id since staff can see all events in admin panel
  4. The last one is GET and no ‘withRole’ parameter is defined therefore ignores and continues the same request to list all events.

The next work is of query method of EventList Resource

if view_kwargs.get('user_id'):
          if 'GET' in request.method:
              query_ = query_.join(Event.roles).filter_by(user_id=view_kwargs['user_id']) \
                  .join(UsersEventsRoles.role).filter( != ATTENDEE)

This query joins the UsersEventsRoles model whenever user_id is defined. Thus giving role-based events only.

The next interesting part is the Implementation of permission manager to ensure permission decorators doesn’t break at any point. We will see it in next post.


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Relationships and its usage in Open Event Orga Server

JSON API is a specification for writing RESTFul APIs (CRUD interfaces). This specification basically sets the standard for a client to request the resources and how a server is supposed to response minimizing the redundancy and number of requests.

If we look at the general implementation of RESTful APIs, we see that we are working on creating every endpoint manually, there are no relations. Sometimes different endpoints are being created for some slightly different business logic than other. We solve this purpose specifically the relationships using JSON API spec.

Features of JSON API

Apart from CRUD interface, JSON-API-Spec provides

  • Fetching Resources
  • Fetching Relationships
  • Inclusion of Related Resources
  • Sparse Fieldsets
  • Sorting
  • Pagination
  • Filtering

For Open Event API Server we need these below

  • Proper relationship definitions
  • Sorting
  • Filtering
  • Pagination

So JSON-API spec is a good choice for us at Orga Server since it solves our every basic need.

Overview of Changes

Firstly the main task was shifting to the library flask-rest-jsonapi because this library stands to our four needs in API. The changes included:

  • ensuring JSON-API spec in our requests and responses (although the most of the work is done by the library)
  • Reusing the current implementation of JWT authorization.
  • To locate the new API to /v1. Since Orga server is going to be API server with Open Event system following the API-centric approach, therefore, there is no need to have /api/v1
  • Now out timestamps in response and request will be timezone aware thus following ISO 8601 with timezone information (Eg. 2017-05-22T09:12:44+00:00)

Media type to use: application/vnd.api+json

A Relationship in JSON API

To begin with APIs, I started working on Sessions API of Orga server and the relation of a session with the event was represented as one of the attribute of Schema of the Session API like this below,

event = Relationship(attribute='event',
                        self_view_kwargs={'id': '<id>'},
                        related_view_kwargs={'session_id': '<id>'},

  • attribute: name of the attribute with which this will be referenced in response API
  • self_view: A view name which represents the view of this relationship. This is a relationship endpoint of sessions API.
  • self_view_kwargs: view_kwargs for self_view, this is used to provide ID of the specific record to the relationship endpoint.
  • related_view: An endpoints to the related API/Object. Here the related object is ‘event’ so I have provided the endpoint to get the event detail.
  • related_view_kwargs: Here we can provide kwargs to the related object’s endpoint. Here we are sending the value of <Session_id> URL parameter on the related endpoint by mapping it with “id” of the current session object.
  • Schema: this is the schema of the related object. Since we have related object is event, therefore, added EventSchema of it.
  • type_: this is the type of related object which is event here.

After defining them, the magic here is no need to define and inject the relationship endpoints in the responses. We just need to add one route to v1.event_detail and we have relationship ready.

To make this work, I added these on routes file:

  • ‘/sessions/<int:session_id>/event’ to the v1.event_detail
  • api.route(SessionRelationship, ‘session_event’,

And we have Relationship ready as Session -> Event in the API ready. We can use these relationships to Get the relationship Object(s), Updated them or Delete them. This helps Orga Server is a very efficient scale since many of our endpoints are related with events directly so instead of separately defining relationships we are able to do this with the help of JSON API and flask-rest-jsonapi

An Example Response

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/vnd.api+json

  "data": {
    "relationships": {
      "event": {
        "links": {
          "self": "/v1/speakers-calls/3/relationships/event",
          "related": "/v1/speakers-calls/3/event"
    "attributes": {
      "announcement": "Google",
      "ends-at": "2023-05-30T09:30:10+00:00",
      "hash": null,
      "starts-at": "2022-05-30T09:30:10+00:00",
      "privacy": "public"
    "type": "speakers-call",
    "id": "3",
    "links": {
      "self": "/v1/speakers-calls/3"
  "jsonapi": {
    "version": "1.0"
  "links": {
    "self": "/v1/speakers-calls/3"

Above example shows the relationships in the response object. We can directly check in the application using these APIs that to which type of objects this object is related with and endpoints to get related data.

Next steps in the implementation are Docs for APIs, permissions implementations to secure the endpoints and setting up unit testing of the endpoints which will be discussed in next posts.

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Using HTTMock to mock Third Party APIs for Development of Open Event API server

In the process of implementing the connected social media in Open Event API server, there was a situation where we need to mock third party API services like Google OAuth, Facebook Graph API. In mocking, we try to run our tests on APIs Simulation instead of Original API such that it responds with dummy data similar to original APIs.

To implement this first we need the library support in our Orga Server to mock APIs, so the library that was used for this purpose is the httmock library for Python. One of my mentors @hongquan helped me to understand the approach that we will follow to get this implemented. So according to implementation, when we make a HTTP request to any API through tests then our implementation with httmock will be such that it

  • stands in the middle of the request,
  • Stops the request from going to the original API,
  • and returns a dummy response as if the response is from original API.

The content of this response is written by us in the test case. We have to make sure that it is same type of object as we receive from original API.

Steps to follow ( on mocking Google OAuth API )

  1. Look for response object on two requests (OAuth and profile details).
  2. Create the dummy response using the sample response object.
  3. Creating endpoints using the httpmock library.
  4. During test run, calling the specific method with HTTMock

Sample object of OAuth Response from Google is:


and from the sample object of Google Profile API we needed the link of profile for our API-server:



Creating the dummy response

Creating dummy response was easy. All I had to do is provide proper header and content in response and use @urlmatch decorator

# response for getting userinfo from google

def google_profile_mock(url, request):
   headers = {'content-type': 'application/json'}
   content = {'link':''}
   return response(200, content, headers, None, 5, request)

def google_auth_mock(url, request):
   headers = {'content-type': 'application/json'}
   content = {
   return response(200, content, headers, None, 5, request)


So now we have the end points to mock the response. All we need to do is to use HTTMock inside the test case.

To use this setup all we need to do is:

with HTTMock(google_auth_mock, google_profile_mock):
                self.assertTrue('Open Event' in'/gCallback/?state=dummy_state&code=dummy_code',
            self.assertEqual('/gCallback/?state=dummy_state&code=dummy_code').status_code, 302)
            self.assertEqual('/gCallback/?state=dummy_state&code=dummy_code').status_code, 302)

And we were able to mock the Google APIs in our test case. Complete implementation in FOSSASIA API-Server can be seen here


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Connecting Social Apps with Open Event Orga API Server

Orga API Server serves the organizer with many features but there was need of one feature which will allow us to provide Organizer an option to connect with their social media audience directly from API server. This will also allow the Orga Server users to share their experience for different events on their social media platforms.

For this feature, some of the social media platforms added are:

  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google+

    Before connecting with these social media platforms, we have to implement and test The Auth Tool – OAuth 2.0

Without going on introductory introduction to OAuth 2.0, Let’s focus on its implementation in Orga API Server

OAuth Roles

OAuth defines four roles:

  • Resource Owner
  • Client
  • Resource Server
  • Authorization Server

Let’s look at the responsibility of these roles when you connect your social apps with API server

> Resource Owner: User/Organizer ( You )

You as User or Organizer connection your accounts with API server are the resource owners who authorize API server to access your account. During authorization, you provide us access to read your account details like Name, Email, Profile photo, etc.

> Resource / Authorization Server: Social Apps

The resource server here is your social platforms/apps where you have your account registered. These Apps provide us limited access to fetch details of your account once you authorize our application to do so. They make sure the token we provide match with the authorization provided before through your account.

> Client: Orga API Server

Orga API Server acts as the client to access your account details. Before it may do so, it must be authorized by the user, and the authorization must be validated by the API.

The process to add

A simple work plan to follow:

  1. Understanding how OAuth is implemented.
  2. Test OAuth implementation on all 4 social medias.
  3. After Necessary correction. Make sure we have all views(routes) to connect these 4 social medias.
  4. Implementing the same feature on the template file.
  5. Make sure these connect buttons are shown only when Admin has registered its client credentials in Settings.
  6. Creating a view to unlink your social media account.

Understanding how OAuth is implemented.

Current Implementation of Oauth is very simple and interesting on API server. We have Oauth helper classes which provide all necessary endpoints and different methods to get the job done.

Test OAuth implementation on all 4 social medias.

Now we can work on testing on the callbacks of all 4 social apps. We have callback defined in views/ For this, I picked up the auth OAuth URLs and called them directly on my browsers and testing their callback. Now on callback, those methods required some change to save user data on database thus connecting their accounts with API server. This lead to changes in update_user_details and on callback methods.

def update_user_details(first_name=None,

Make sure we have all views(routes) to connect these 4 social medias

This has to be done on views/users/ Addition of one method

@profile.route('/google_connect/', methods=('GET', 'POST'))
def google_connect():
    return redirect(gp_auth_url)

and testing, correction on other 3 methods

Implementing the same feature on template file.

Updating gentelella/users/settings/pages/applications.html to add changes required to add this feature. This included ability to show URLs of connected accounts and functioning connect and disconnect button

Make sure these connect buttons are shown only when Admin has registered its client credentials in Settings.

    fb = get_settings()['fb_client_id'] != None and get_settings()['fb_client_secret'] != None

The addition of such snippet provides data to the template to decide whether to show those fields or not. It will not make any sense if there is no application created to connect those accounts by Admin.

Creating a view to unlink your social media account.

def unlink_social(social):
    if login.current_user is not None and login.current_user.is_authenticated:

A method is created to unlink the connected accounts so that users can anytime disconnect their accounts from API server.

Where to connect?

Settings > Applications


How it Works (GIF below )

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Using Cloud storage for event exports

Open-event orga server provides the ability to the organizer to create a complete export of the event they created. Currently, when an organizer triggers the export in orga server, A celery job is set to complete the export task resulting asynchronous completion of the job. Organizer gets the download button enabled once export is ready.

Till now the main issue was related to storage of those export zip files. All exported zip files were stored directly in local storage and that even not by using storage module created under orga server.

local storage path

On a mission to solve this, I made three simple steps that I followed to solve this issue.

These three steps were:

  1. Wait for shutil.make_archive to complete archive and store it in local storage.
  2. Copy the created archive to storage ( specified by user )
  3. Delete local archive created.

The easiest part here was to make these files upload to different storage ( s3, gs, local) as we already have storage helper

def upload(uploaded_file, key, **kwargs):
    Upload handler

The most important logic of this issue resides to this code snippet.

    dir_path = dir_path + ".zip"
     storage_path = UPLOAD_PATHS['exports']['zip'].format(
         event_id = event_id
     uploaded_file = UploadedFile(dir_path, dir_path.rsplit('/', 1)[1])
     storage_url = upload(uploaded_file, storage_path)
    if get_settings()['storage_place'] != "s3" or get_settings()['storage_place'] != 'gs':
        storage_url = app.config['BASE_DIR'] + storage_url.replace("/serve_","/")
    return storage_url

From above snippet, it is clear that we are extending the process of creating the zip. Once the zip is created we will make storage path for cloud storage and upload it. Only one thing will take the time to understand here is the last second and third line of above snippet.

if get_settings()['storage_place'] != "s3" or get_settings()['storage_place'] != 'gs':
        storage_url = app.config['BASE_DIR'] + storage_url.replace("/serve_","/")

Initial the plan was simple to serve the files through “serve_static” but then the test cases were expecting a file at this location thus I had to remove “serve_” part for local storage and then it works fine on those three steps.

Next thing on this storage process need to be discussed is the feature to delete old exports. I believe one reason to keep them would be an old backup of your event will be always there with us at our cloud storage.

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