General Resources

Via the projectroles app, SODAR Core provides optional features, APIs and templates for common functionality and layout regardless of the app type. These resources are described in this document.


To use icons in your apps, use the iconify class along with the collection and icon name into the data-icon attribute. See Iconify and django-iconify documentation for further information.


<i class="iconify" data-icon="mdi:home"></i>

Also make sure to modify the icon attribute of your app plugins to include the full collection:name syntax for Iconify icons.

In certain client side Javascript implementations in which icons are loaded or replaced dynamically, you may have to refer to these URLs as a direct img element:

<img src="/icons/mdi/home.svg" />

For modifiers such as color and size when using img tags, see here.

SODAR Core uses the Material Design Icons collection for its own apps. You can also use additional collections supported by Iconify on your site by retrieving them with the geticons management command. Multiple collections can be downloaded with a single command, as seen in the example below. Make sure to run collectstatic after this command.

$ ./ geticons -c collection1 collection2
$ ./ collectstatic


This section contains guidelines for implementing forms.

Form Base Classes

Although not required, it is recommended to use common SODAR Core base classes with built-in helpers for your Django forms. SODARForm and SODARModelForm extend Django’s Form and ModelForm respectively. These base classes can be imported from projectroles.forms. Currently they add logging to add_error() calls, which helps administrators track form issues encountered by users. Further improvements are to be added in the future.

SODAR User Selection Field

Projectroles offers a custom field, widget and accompanying Ajax API views for autocomplete-enabled selection of SODAR users in Django forms. The field will handle providing appropriate choices according to the view context and user permissions, also allowing for customization.

The recommended way to use the built-in user form field is by using the SODARUserChoiceField class found in projectroles.forms. The field extends Django’s ModelChoiceField and takes most of the same keyword arguments in its init function, with the exception of queryset, to_field_name, limit_choices_to and widget which will be overridden.

The init function also takes new arguments which are specified below:


Scope of users to include (string). Options:

  • all: All users on the site

  • project: Limit search to users in given project

  • project_exclude Exclude existing users of given project


Project object or project UUID string (optional)


List of User objects or User UUIDs to exclude (optional)


Parameters to forward to autocomplete view (optional)


Autocomplete ajax class override (optional)


Widget class override (optional)

Below is an example of the classes usage. Note that you can also define the field as a form class member, but the project or exclude values are not definable at that point. The following example assumes you are setting up your project app form with an extra project argument.

from projectroles.forms import SODARUserChoiceField

class YourForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        # ...
    def __init__(self, project, *args, **kwargs):
        # ...
        self.fields['user'] = SODARUserChoiceField(
            help_text='Select user for your thing here',

For more examples of usage of this field and its widget, see projectroles.forms. If the field class does not suit your needs, you can also retrieve the related widget to your own field with projectroles.forms.get_user_widget().

To provide required Javascript and CSS includes for DAL in your form, make sure to include in your template. Example:

<div class="container-fluid sodar-page-container">
  <form method="post">
    {{ }}
    {{ form | crispy }}
    {% ... %}

If using customized Javascript for your widget, the corresponding JS file can be provided in the javascript block. See the django-autocomplete-light documentation for more information on how to customize your widget.


For fields supporting markdown, it is recommended to use the SODARPagedownWidget found in projectroles.models.

Submit Multi-Click Protection

To avoid unwanted effects from a user clicking the submit button on a form multiple times, it is recommended to use the sodar-btn-submit-once class on the submit button in your server-side form templates. Introducing this class will disable the button after the initial click while the form is submitted. This is especially recommended for forms responsible for creating objects.

Invalid Form View Mixin

Adding projectroles.views.InvalidFormMixin to your create or update view displays a standardized Django message notifying the user of form submission failure. This is recommended to be used especially for long scrolling forms, where errors pinned to specific fields may be initially invisible to the user.

Template Includes and Helpers

This section details general template includes and helpers provided by SODAR Core. Unless otherwise mentioned, these can be imported from the projectroles app.

For common template tags, see Common Template Tags.

Pagination Template

A common template for adding navigation for list pagination can be found in projectroles/_pagination.html. This can be included to any Django ListView template which provides the paginate_by definition, enabling pagination. If a smaller layout is desired, the pg_small argument can be used. An example can be seen below:

{% include 'projectroles/_pagination.html' with pg_small=True %}

Project Badge

Projectroles provides a project badge which can be used to display a fixed-size link to a category or a project among text. It can be included in your template as follows:

{% include 'projectroles/_project_badge.html' with project=project color='info' can_view=True %}

The following arguments are expected:


Project object for the related project or category.


String for the badge color (must correspond to bootstrap classes, e.g. “info” or “success”).


Boolean for whether the current user should have access to view the project.

Tour Help

SODAR Core uses Shepherd to present an optional interactive tour for a rendered page. To enable the tour in your template, set it up inside the javascript template block. Within an inline javascript structure, set the tourEnabled variable to true and add steps according to the Shepherd documentation.


{% block javascript %}
  {{ block.super }}
  {# Tour content #}
  <script type="text/javascript">
    tourEnabled = true;
    /* Normal step */
    tour.addStep('id_of_step', {
        title: 'Step Title',
        text: 'Description of the step',
        attachTo: '#some-element top',
        advanceOn: '.docs-link click',
        showCancelLink: true
    /* Conditional step */
    if ($('.potentially-existing-element').length) {
        tour.addStep('id_of_another_step', {
            title: 'Another Title',
            text: 'Another description here',
            attachTo: '.potentially-existing-element right',
            advanceOn: '.docs-link click',
            showCancelLink: true
{% endblock javascript %}


Make sure you call {{ block.super }} at the start of the declared javascript block or you will overwrite the site’s default Javascript setup!

App Settings

SODAR Core offers a common framework and API for defining, setting and accessing modifiable settings from your apps. This makes it possible to introduce variables changeable in runtime for different purposes and scopes without the need to manage additional Django models in your apps. App settings are supported for plugins in project and site apps.

The settings are defined as Python dictionaries in your project or site app’s plugin. An example of a definition can be seen below:

class ProjectAppPlugin(ProjectAppPluginPoint):
    # ...
    app_settings = {
        'allow_public_links': {
            'scope': APP_SETTING_SCOPE_PROJECT,
            'type': 'BOOLEAN',
            'default': False,
            'label': 'Allow public links',
            'description': 'Allow generation of public links for files',
            'user_modifiable': True,

Each setting must define a scope. The options for this are as follows, as defined in SODAR_CONSTANTS:


Setting related to a project and displayed in the project create/update form.


Site-wide setting related to a user and displayed in the user profile form.


User setting related to a project, managed by your project app.


Site-wide setting similar to Django settings but modifiable in runtime.

The rest of the attributes are listed below:


Value type for the settings. Available options are BOOLEAN, INTEGER, STRING and JSON.


Default value for the setting. This is returned if no value has been set. Can alternatively be a callable with the signature callable(project=None, user=None).


Boolean for allowing/disallowing editing in target sites for synchronized projects.


Label string to be displayed in forms for PROJECT and USER scope settings (optional).


Placeholder string to be displayed in forms for PROJECT and USER scope settings (optional).


Description string shown in forms for PROJECT and USER scope settings (optional).


List of selectable options for INTEGER and STRING type settings. Can alternatively be a callable with the signature callable(project=None, user=None) returning a list of strings or key/label tuples (optional).


Boolean value for whether this setting should be displayed in project or user forms. If false, will be displayed only to superusers. Set to true if your app is expected to manage this setting. Applicable for PROJECT and USER scope settings (optional).


List of project types this setting is allowed to be set for. Defaults to [PROJECT_TYPE_PROJECT] (optional).

The settings are retrieved using AppSettingAPI provided by the projectroles app. Below is an example of invoking the API. For the full API docs, see app settings API documentation.

from projectroles.app_settings import AppSettingAPI
app_settings = AppSettingAPI()
app_settings.get('app_name', 'setting_name', project_object)  # Etc..

There is no need to separately generate settings for projects or users. If the setting object does not exist in the Django database when AppSettingAPI.get() is first called on the setting and argument combination, it is created based on the default value and the default value is returned.

If you modify definitions during development or retire a setting, run the cleanappsettings management command to delete unneeded app settings from the Django database:

$ ./ cleanappsettings

Project Modifying API

If your site needs to perform specific actions when projects are created or modified, or when project membership is altered, you can implement the project modifying API in your app plugin. This can be useful if your site e.g. maintains project data and access in other external databases or needs to set up some specific data on project changes.


This API is intended for special cases. If you’re unsure why you wouldn’t need it on your site, it is possible you don’t. Using it unnecessarily might complicate your site implementation.

This API works for project apps and backend apps. To use it, it is recommend to include the ProjectModifyPluginMixin in your plugin class and implement the methods relevant to your site’s needs. An example of this can be seen below.

from projectroles.plugins import ProjectModifyPluginMixin

class ProjectAppPlugin(ProjectModifyPluginMixin, ProjectAppPluginPoint):
    # ...
    def perform_project_modify(
        pass  # Your implementation goes here

You will also need to set PROJECTROLES_ENABLE_MODIFY_API=True in your site’s Django settings to enable calling this API.

Project modification operations will be cancelled and reverted if errors are encountered at any point in the project modify API calls. If your site has multiple apps implementing this API, you should also implement reversion methods for each operations to assert a clean rollback. These methods are also included in the class.

You can control the order of the apps in which this API is called by listing your plugins in the PROJECTROLES_MODIFY_API_APPS Django setting. This will also affect the order of reversing.

To synchronize data for existing projects in development, you can implement the perform_project_sync() method.

Multi-Plugin Apps

In many cases, you may want to declare multiple app plugins within a single SODAR Core app. For example, you may want your app to have both project specific and site specific views and maybe also a backend API to be used by other apps.

For an example of a multi-plugin app in SODAR Core itself, see the Timeline App.

There is no limit on how many plugins you can define for a SODAR Core app and they may be of different types. However, certain conditions should be followed when creating multi-plugin apps:

  • Plugin names are expected to be unique. Not adhering to this may cause unexpected side-effects.

  • For plugins with related UI views, it is strongly recommended to name all your plugins starting with the app name. For example, if your project app plugin is named yourapp, it is recommended to name the secondary site app plugin e.g. yourapp_site. This ensures the SODAR Core UI can detect your app and higlight active apps correctly.

  • If your app includes multiple plugins with UI views, it is recommended to provide only the UI views relevant to that plugin in the urls attribute. This, again, ensures apps are correctly detected and highlighted in the UI.

Management Command Logger

When developing management commands for your apps, you may want to log certain events while also ensuring relevant output is provided to the administrator issuing a command. For this SODAR Core provides the ManagementCommandLogger class. It can be called like the standard Python logger with shortcut commands such as info(), debug() etc. If you need to access the actual Python logger being used, you can access it via ManagementCommandLogger.logger. Example of logger usage can be seen below.

from import ManagementCommandLogger
logger = ManagementCommandLogger(__name__)'Testing')


The use of this logger class assumes your site sets up logging similarly to the example site and the SODAR Django Site template, including the use of a LOGGING_LEVEL Django settings variable.


To disable redundant console output from commands using this logger in e.g. your site’s test configuration, you can set the LOGGING_DISABLE_CMD_OUTPUT Django setting to True.


SODAR Core provides a range of ready made testing classes and mixins for different aspects of SODAR app testing, from user permissions to UI testing. See projectroles.tests for different base classes.

Test Settings

SODAR Core provides settings for configuring your UI tests, if using the base UI test classes found in projectroles.tests.test_ui. Default values for these settings can be found in config/settings/ The settings are as follows:


Options for Chrome through Selenium. Can be used to e.g. enable/disable headless testing mode.


Custom browser window size.


Maximum wait time for UI test operations


If set True, use the legacy UI login and redirect function for testing with different users. This can be used if e.g. issues with cookie-based logins are encountered.

Base Test Classes and Helpers

For base classes and mixins with useful helpers, see the projectroles.tests modules. The test cases also provide useful examples on how to set up your own tests.


For REST API testing, SODAR Core uses separate base test classes for the internal SODAR Core API, and the API views implemented in the actual site built on SODAR Core. For the API views in your site, make sure to test them using e.g. TestAPIViewsBase and not TestCoreAPIViewsBase.


Debugging helpers and tips are detailed in this section.

Profiling Middleware

SODAR Core provides a cProfile using profiler for tracing back sources of page loading slowdowns. To enable the profiler middleware, include projectroles.middleware.ProfilerMiddleware in MIDDLEWARE under your site configuration. It is recommended to use a settings variable for this similar to the example site configuration, where PROJECTROLES_ENABLE_PROFILING controls this.

Once enabled, adding the ?prof query string attribute to and URL displays the profiling information.