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split this up and move it to the right places

Random Thoughts

This is a bit of a mess, but better to note something down here, than forget it right away.

  • Authentication between backends is done via the AuthShim class.

  • Validation should mostly be done by trying and catching.

  • NULL vs. empty string should make no difference in the database (i.e. both cases should be treated equally). Nevertheless empty strings should be killed in python code – but all Nones are converted to empty strings just before being handed to the templates.

  • Use encode_parameter/decode_parameter to authenticate actions. This removes the need for storing challenges in the database.

  • Strings to internationalize should have periods at the end where applicable (so all error messages should have them).

  • Behaviour should be defined once.

  • Values should be configurable and not be hard coded

  • Use tuples instead of lists where feasible.

  • Use fail2ban for preventing brute force.

  • All time stamps must have a time zone associated to them. For everything used internally this time zone has to be UTC.

  • If a check for membership is done (if foo in bar) use a set as data structure if possible, this does not apply for iterating (for foo in bar).

  • Non-specific parameters should be given as keyword arguments. That is values like True, False, None where it’s pretty hard to guess what they do. Antipattern would be a call like do_something(True, False, None, True).

  • HTML pages with a big form for data entry should have no links which redirect and cause the entered data to be lost.

  • Email addresses are lower-cased. (This has to be taken into account during migration!)

  • Most templates should be rendered at exactly one point. That means that if other methods which want to redisplay the content need to call this point. Hence the rendering point must be able to cope with user input (as in data which failed to validate, but should not be discarded).

  • Generally use a line length limit of 88 columns, except for templates, where 120 columns seems appropriate.

  • If a function is documented to return a default return code this means, that it returns a positive number on success, zero if there was an error and a negative number if the change is waiting for further actions (i.e. review). Especially many functions return the number of affected rows in the database, thus if no rows are affected an error is signalled.

  • Backend functions to expunge data are separated into two classes. First those named remove_foo are always feasible. Second those name delete_foo are dependent on the foo not being referenced anywhere. They may provide a cascade parameter which allows to automatically remove all references.

  • The file /PRODUCTIONVM is used to mark the live server instance. There are some sanity checks to prevent a big catastrophe. Similarily /OFFLINEVM is used for offline deployments at events.