This is a short guide to help you get started with Postorius development.

Development Workflow

The source code is hosted on GitLab, which means that we are using Git for version control.

Changes are not made directly in the project’s master branch, but in feature-related personal branches, which get reviewed and then merged into the master branch. There is a contribution guide here, that mentions the basics about contributing to any mailman project.

An ideal workflow would be like this:

  1. File a bug to suggest a new feature or report a bug (or just pick one of the existing bugs).
  2. Create a new branch with your code changes.
  3. Make a “merge request” to get your code reviewed and merged.

First Contributions / Coverage Reports

If you don’t know how you can contribute, writing tests is a good way to get you started.

You can start by exploring the existing test coverage and finding code that’s not covered ie. not tested.

Installing and running the tests

After checkout you can run the tests using tox:

$ tox

By default this will test against a couple of different environments. If you want to only run the tests in a specific environment or a single module, you can specify this using the -e option and/or a double dash:

# List all currently configured envs:
$ tox -l

# Test Django 1.8 on Python2.7 only:
$ tox -e py27-django18

# Run only tests in ``test_address_activation``:
$ tox -- postorius.tests.test_address_activation

# You get the idea...
$ tox -e py27-django18 -- postorius.tests.test_address_activation

All test modules reside in the postorius/src/postorius/tests directory. Please have a look at the existing examples.

Mocking calls to Mailman’s REST API

A lot of Postorius’ code involves calls to Mailman’s REST API (through the mailman.client library). Running these tests against a real instance of Mailman would be bad practice and slow, so vcrpy cassettes are used instead (see the vcrpy Documentation for details). These files contain pre-recorded HTTP responses.

If you write new tests, it’s advisable to add a separate fixture file for each test case, so the cached responses don’t interfere with other tests. The cassette files are stored in the tests/fixtures/vcr_cassettes directory. Check out the existing test cases for examples.

In order to record new API responses for your test case, you need to first start the mailman core, with the API server listening on port 9001. You can use the example_project/mailman.cfg file from the Postorius source.


Make sure, you use a fresh mailman.db file.

Once the core is running, you can record the new cassette file defined in your test case by running tox with the record test env:

# This will only record the cassette files defined in my_new_test_module:
$ tox -e record -- postorius.tests.my_new_test_module

# This will re-record all cassette files:
$ tox -e record

View Auth

Three of Django’s default User roles are relvant for Postorius:

  • Superuser: Can do everything.
  • AnonymousUser: Can view list index and info pages.
  • Authenticated users: Can view list index and info pages. Can (un)subscribe from lists.

Apart from these default roles, there are two others relevant in Postorius:

  • List owners: Can change list settings, moderate messages and delete their lists.
  • List moderators: Can moderate messages.

There are a number of decorators to protect views from unauthorized users.

  • @user_passes_test(lambda u: u.is_superuser) (redirects to login form)
  • @login_required (redirects to login form)
  • @list_owner_required (returns 403 if logged-in user isn’t the list’s owner)
  • @list_moderator_required (returns 403 if logged-in user isn’t the list’s moderator)

Accessing the Mailman API

Postorius uses mailmanclient to connect to Mailman’s REST API. In order to directly use the client, cd to the example_project folder and execute python mmclient. This will open a python shell (IPython, if that’s available) and provide you with a client object connected to to your local Mailman API server (it uses the credentials from your

A quick example:

$ python mmclient

>>> client
<Client (user:pwd) http://localhost:8001/3.0/>

>>> print(client.system['mailman_version'])
GNU Mailman 3.0.0b2+ (Here Again)

>>> mailman_dev = client.get_list('')
>>> print(mailman_dev.settings)
{u'description': u'Mailman development',
 u'default_nonmember_action': u'hold', ...}

For detailed information how to use mailmanclient, check out its documentation.