Version 25 (modified by Chris Long, 13 years ago) (diff)




What are Row Level Permissions?

An example of row level permissions would be: "User A has read-access to article 234" or "User D has read, write access to article 234".

Why do we need this?

An example of where this would be useful is a forum or message board. With the current permission system, a user is capable of editing all the posts or unable to edit any posts. After implementing a row level permission, it can be modified so a user is capable of editing only their own personal posts.

Current Status

Row level permissions is now working, it should still be considered beta but it can be used. Please see below for more details on how to utilize row levle permissions.


  • More unit tests
  • Tidy up the admin interface
  • Caching the row level permissions when checking

Using Row Level Permissions

Basic Idea

There are a few things you need to know about row level permissions before working with them:

  • Row level permissions use the permissions table to determine an objects possible permissions, you need to create permissions in the permissions table before using them in row level permissions.
  • Row level permissions can be negative, this is determined by an attribute called "negative".
  • The order of checking permissions will work in the following order: User Row Level Permission -> Group Row Level Permission -> User Model Level Permission -> Group Model Level Permission. The checking will stop either at the first positive or negative, and if no permission is found will return a negative.

Enabling Row Level Permissions

Enabling row level permissions is done by using the Meta class, you enable row level permissions by setting the "row_level_permissions" attribute to true. By default, row level permissions are assumed to be disabled.

Example: To enable row level permissions for the mineral model, the model would look like:

class Mineral(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(maxlength=150)
    hardness = models.PositiveSmallIntegerField()
    class Admin:
    class Meta:
        unique_together = (('name', 'hardness'),)
        row_level_permissions = True
    def __str__(self):

Accessing Row Level Permissions from a Model

The relation name for row level permissions from a model is "row_level_permissions", this will return all row level permissions related to the instance of the object. For example, this will return all row level permissions related to the object quartz:

rlp_list = quartz.row_level_permissions.all()

Accessing the Owner and Model of a Row Level Permission

To return the owner of a row level permission use the attribute "owner". For example:

user = row_level_permission.owner

To return the instance of a row level permission use the attribte "model". For example:

object = row_level_permission.model

Creating a Row Level Permission

There are two helper methods to create row level permissions. These can be accessed by using the Row Level Permissions manager (e.g. RowLevelPermission.objects)

The first is create_row_level_permission:

def create_row_level_permission(self, object_instance, owner_instance, permission, negative=False):

The permission parameter can either be the codename of the permission or a permission instance. The negative param is optional and will default to false. You must pass an instance of the object and owner to this method.

The second is create_default_row_permissions:

def create_default_row_level_permissions(self, object_instance, owner_instance, change=True, delete=True, negChange=False, negDel=False):

This will set up a row level permission with the default permissions set up for an object. The default permissions are: add, change and delete.

An example of it's use is, this creates a change row level permission on the quartz object:

RowLevelPermissions.objects.create_default_row_level_permissions(quartz, user, delete=False)

Checking Permissions

In the next week, GenericAuthorization and row level permissions will be merged. Therefore, I have shown two different methods of checking for permissions, one using the generic authorization and the currently implemented technique.

The current method uses the has_perm method in the User model. Note: The object parameter is optional, this is to allow backwards compatibility, so if you do not want to check for row level permissions do not include the object parameter.


user.has_perm("can_mine", object=mineral)

This will return either True or False depending on if the user has the correct permission. It will return false if the user has a negative row level permission on the object.

This will also check group row level permissions. If the user is in two groups, the first having a positive row level permission and the second having a negative row level permission, it will take the positive row level permission over the negative.

Second method using GenericAuthorization will be written after the merge. It will follow the documentation written on GenericAuthorization

Checking Permissions in a Template

In a template, you can use the tag if_has_perm to check for permissions. The tag has the following syntax: {% load auth %} {% if_has_perm [not] (permission codename) [object] %} ... {% else %} ... {% end_if_has_perm %} The parameters in square brackets are optional and the normal brackets are required. The else statement is optional. The permission codename should be in the format: app_label.codename.


You can set up row level permissions to be created automatically by the admin interface when a user creates an object by using the options: grant_change_row_level_perm and grant_delete_row_level_perm. By default these are turned off. An example:

class Mineral(models.Model):
    class Admin:
    class Meta:
        row_level_permissions = True

Implementation Notes

Please see RowLevelPermissionsDeveloper for more information on how row level permissions are implemented.

Known Bugs

  • Connecting more then one "owner" to the RLP model causes a M2M conflict, this is a bug with the generic relation code. Work around for now is to rename the related_name for each different owner.
  • Row level permissions can not have row level permissions enabled
  • Error message in admin interface is displayed with a checkmark not an error icon
  • When doing "Apply Selected" in the admin interface any errors caused do not show, only the "good" messages


Row Level Permissions are currently hosted in a branch on Django SVN. Please use: svn co to download the current code.

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