Course Planner Authentication Libraries

Feb 11 2012

Just working on this project yesterday, I discovered the Facebook login was no longer working. I noticed from my other projects Facebook changed their API and the library needed to be upgraded. ┬áBack in 2009, the best library available was socialauth. Now I’m using social_auth in my newer projects. There’s more documentation at first glance. Although problems showed up from time to time, upgrading always fixed them. So I would recommend social_auth.

It turns out I could use an independent login module, already a part of the shared codebase for 2 other projects, at a cost. The cost is to add the login button to keep the logic flow the same. Later, I used a dependent observable to automatically save after the authentication state changes. Simply pass the load or save function as an argument to the login decorator (Python term, same concept in JavaScript):

loginRequired: function (action) {
        if (viewModel.authenticated()) {
            return false;
        } else {
            viewModel.setMessage(loginPrompt, 'warning');
            viewModel.afterLogin = action;
            return true;

The save function begins by checking if the user is logged in:

save: function () {
        if (viewModel.loginRequired( return;

afterLogin is called in the observable:

ko.dependentObservable(function() {
    if (viewModel.authenticated() && viewModel.message() == loginPrompt) {

After a hectic few minutes of upgrading the site with about 3 different kinds of server errors and many email debug messages, I finished upgrading the database and the settings file.

Maybe next time I will use if DEBUG statements in my settings file so it can be copied straight to server. But the main reason I opted not to was because of the facebook, twitter, and google keys which had to be set differently. On the other hand, those can be in a conditional debug statement, too.
Overall, it was a thrill to work with the project again, bring back the gifts from more recent projects, and see the brilliantly written code.

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