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Added doc/sessions.txt

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adrianholovaty committed Aug 17, 2005
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How to use sessions
Django provides full support for anonymous sessions. The session framework lets
you store and retrieve arbitrary data on a per-site-visitor basis. It stores
data on the server side and abstracts the sending and receiving of cookies.
Cookies contain a session ID -- not the data itself.
Enabling sessions
Session functionality is enabled by default.
You can turn session functionality on and off by editing the
``MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES`` setting. To activate sessions, make sure
``MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES`` contains ``"django.middleware.sessions.SessionMiddleware"``.
If you're dealing with an admin site, make sure the ``SessionMiddleware`` line
appears before the ``AdminUserRequired`` line. (The middleware classes are
applied in order, and the admin middleware requires that the session middleware
come first.)
If you don't want to use sessions, you might as well remove the
``SessionMiddleware`` line from ``MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES``. It'll save you a small
bit of overhead.
Using sessions in views
Each ``HttpRequest`` object -- the first argument to any Django view function --
has a ``session`` attribute, which is a dictionary-like object. You can read
it and write to it.
It implements the following standard dictionary methods:
* ``__getitem__(key)``
Example: ``fav_color = request.session['fav_color']``
* ``__setitem__(key, value)``
Example: ``request.session['fav_color'] = 'blue'``
* ``__delitem__(key)``
Example: ``del request.session['fav_color']``
* ``get(key, default=None)``
Example: ``fav_color = request.session.get('fav_color', 'red')``
It also has these two methods:
* ``set_test_cookie()``
Sets a test cookie to determine whether the user's browser supports
cookies. Due to the way cookies work, you won't be able to test this
until the user's next page request. See "Setting test cookies" below for
more information.
* ``test_cookie_worked()``
Returns either ``True`` or ``False``, depending on whether the user's
browser accepted the test cookie. Due to the way cookies work, you'll
have to call ``set_test_cookie()`` on a previous, separate page request.
See "Setting test cookies" below for more information.
You can edit ``request.session`` at any point in your view. You can edit it
multiple times.
This simplistic view sets a ``has_commented`` variable to ``True`` after a user
posts a comment. It doesn't let a user post a comment more than once::
def post_comment(request, new_comment):
if request.session.get('has_commented', False):
return HttpResponse("You've already commented.")
c = comments.Comment(comment=new_comment)
request.session['has_commented'] = True
return HttpResponse('Thanks for your comment!')
This simplistic view logs a user in::
def login(request):
u = users.get_object(username__exact=request.POST['username'])
if u.check_password(request.POST['password']):
request.session['user_id'] =
return HttpResponse("You're logged in.")
return HttpResponse("Your username and password didn't match.")
...And this one logs a user out, according to ``login()`` above::
def logout(request):
del request.session['user_id']
except KeyError:
return HttpResponse("You're logged out.")
Setting test cookies
As a convenience, Django provides an easy way to test whether the user's
browser accepts cookies. Just call ``request.session.set_test_cookie()`` in a
view, and call ``request.session.test_cookie_worked()`` in a subsequent view --
not in the same view call.
This awkward split between ``set_test_cookie()`` and ``test_cookie_worked()``
is necessary due to the way cookies work. When you set a cookie, you can't
actually tell whether a browser accepted it until the browser's next request.
Here's a typical usage example::
def login(request):
if request.POST:
if request.session.test_cookie_worked():
return HttpResponse("You're logged in.")
return HttpResponse("Please enable cookies and try again.")
t = template_loader.get_template("foo/login_form")
c = Context(request)
return HttpResponse(t.render(c))
Using sessions out of views
Internally, each session is just a normal Django model. The ``Session`` model
is defined in ``django/models/``. Because it's a normal model, you can
access sessions using the normal Django database API::
>>> from django.models.core import sessions
>>> s = sessions.get_object(pk='2b1189a188b44ad18c35e113ac6ceead')
>>> s.expire_date
datetime.datetime(2005, 8, 20, 13, 35, 12)
Note that you'll need to call ``get_decoded()`` to get the session dictionary.
This is necessary because the dictionary is stored in an encoded format::
>>> s.session_data
>>> s.get_decoded()
{'user_id': 42}
Technical details
* The session dictionary should accept any pickleable Python object. See
`the pickle module`_ for more information.
* Session data is stored in a database table named ``core_sessions`` .
* Django only sends a cookie if it needs to. If you don't set any session
data, it won't send a session cookie.
.. _`the pickle module`:

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