Flask-Pundit Build Status

A simple flask extension to organize resource authorization and scoping. This extension is heavily inspired by the ruby Pundit library.


pip install flask-pundit


You can initialize the extension in one of 2 ways –

  1. pundit = FlaskPundit(app) where app is the application object.
  2. pundit.init_app(app) after constructing the FlaskPundit object without an app object.

When initializing the extension, you can provide an optional policies_path parameter which tells Flask-Pundit where to find your policy classes. If no value is specified this defaults to policies.

What is this policies_path exactly?

Flask-Pundit expects you to have 1 policy per model class. To find the Policy for a particular model it needs to know where to look. That is the policies_path.


A policy class defines the ‘rules’ used to authorize a model. You can write your own policy class as follows:

class PostPolicy():
        def __init__(self, user, post):
                self.user = user
                self.post = post
        def get(self):
                return self.user == 'admin' and self.post.id == 1

The user object is the currently ‘logged’ in user and the post object is the model instance you want to authorize. The get method is an authorization ‘action’ handler that you might want to execute when a user is trying to read a post.

You could alternatively define your own BasePolicy class and extend it in a similar fashion or use the ApplicationPolicy class provided by the extension in which case the code would be:

from flask_pundit.application_policy import ApplicationPolicy

class PostPolicy(ApplicationPolicy):
        def get(self):
                return self.user == 'admin' and self.record.id == 1

Note that now we’re using record inside the method. By inheriting from ApplicationPolicy all instance methods now use record to represent the model instance being authorized.

To authorize a post object inside a resource (or a blueprint or just a app.route decorated function) you would call self.pundit.authorize(post). This will cause flask-pundit to look for the PostPolicy class at policies/post. If you want a different root to be searched, you can specify the policies_path when initializing the extension.

This example shows how to use the authorize method in a single module app.

app = Flask('blog_series')
pundit = FlaskPundit(app)

def read_blog_post(id):
        blog = Post.get_by_id(id)
        if pundit.authorize(post):
                return blog
        return ForbiddenError, 403

The authorize method takes 3 parameters:

  1. A record – This can be either an object or class and corresponds to a ‘model’ that you’re doing the authorization on.

  2. An action – This corresponds to the policy method that you want to invoke for doing the authorization. If no value is provided it defaults to request.method.lowercase(). Thus in the previous snippet the get method of a BlogPolicy object would be invoked.

  3. A user – This is akin to the currently ‘logged in’ user. If no user object is provided, flask-pundit tries to pick either flask.g.user or flask.g.current_user, whichever is available.

Thus in the above set of examples, invoking authorize executes the get method in the PostPolicy class at policies/post with the record being the post object filtered by id.


The authorize method acts more as a true/false guard. On the other hand the policy_scope method returns a ‘scoped’ version of a model. For example, if you have a page with all posts, you might want to let an admin see all of them but restrict the ones staff users see. This is where you’d want to use policy_scope instead of authorize.

To do so, you need to define a scope method in your policy.

from flask_pundit.application_policy import ApplicationPolicy

class PostPolicy(ApplicationPolicy):
        def get(self):
                return self.user == 'admin' and self.record.id == 1

        def scope(self):
                if self.user == 'admin':
                        return record.all()
                return record.filter_by(author='staff')

When you call the policy_scope(model) with a model class (it doesn’t make sense to pass an object here), the scope method gets called.

from app import pundit

def index():
        all_posts = pundit.policy_scope(Post)
        return all_posts

The examples here show how to return all posts for an admin and only staff posts for a staff user.

The policy_scope method takes 2 arguments:

  1. A model – This is the class that is to be ‘scoped’.

  2. A user object – This is just like the user object in the authorize case.


Flask-Pundit has 2 decorators you can use to verify authorize/ policy_scope has been called. They are verify_authorized and verify_policy_scoped.

In a single module app you would use verify_authorized as:

from flask_pundit import verify_authorized
from app import app, pundit

def read_blog_post(id):
        blog_post = Post.get_by_id(id)
        if pundit.authorize(blog_post):
                return blog_post
        return ForbiddenError, 403

If you remove the call to authorize the decorator will throw a RuntimeError as it expects a call but found none.

The verify_policy_scoped decorator would be used in the exact same way. Using these 2 would prove more useful if you’re using something like Flask-Restful where you could specify these as method_decorators in your resource, if you wanted all the methods to be verified.

If you prefer not using decorators you could use pundit._verify_authorized and pundit._verify_policy_scoped directly inside your methods. Calling them directly will return True or False.

Custom Policy class

You could override the policy class lookup behaviour by adding a __policy_class__ property on your models. This should reference the class that you want to be used against this model. For example,

from policies.commenting import CommentingPolicy

class Comment:
        __policy_class__ = CommentingPolicy

Now when doing either authorize or policy_scope against an instance of Comment or the class itself, CommentingPolicy will be used.


Licensed under MIT license