Advanced Configuration

VSCode Extensions


Previously in Installation, we told you to install the remote containers extension by Microsoft. When you docker-compose up, in the Docker tab when right-clicking a container, you should see Attach Visual Studio Code in addition to Attach Shell. It is recommended that you develop (and install these extensions) while using VSCode attached to the container in order to match the build environment.

Extensions can help you be more productive when working on code. Feel free to ask current developers what extensions they use. Here are a few we suggest:

1. Python + PyLance. With this extension, you can set your default formatter (black) and default linter (pycodestyle). If you choose to set pycodestyle as your linter, be sure to change max-line-length to 88.

2. JavaScript + TypeScript. TypeScript support for development.

3. ESLint. As one of our checks requires ESLint to be satisfied, this will save you some time.

4. Prettier. Formats JS/TS for you. You will want to set Prettier as your default formatter, and we suggest you set Format Document On Save to be on in your VSCode preferences.

5. IntelliCode. Provides useful suggestions.

6. GitHub Copilot. Can often write your code for you, but be sure to double check it.

7. Bookmarks. Lets you mark places in code that you want to revisit.

8. Rewrap. It helps with wrapping text for you when editing documentation or code comments.

9. Sourcery. Sometimes will help you write cleaner Python code.

10. SpellChecker. Helps you find typos in documentation.

Overriding/Setting Secrets


This step is not neccessary for most developers. Only continue reading this section if you need to override the test secrets (API keys/credentials) provided by (which are for testing only). makes use of several secrets which allow it to interact securely with third party software providers. These providers include Facebook (for oauth and social graph), Google (oauth), and university APIs.

In order for to run out of the box, we have included credentials to test Google and Facebook applications for development purposes. We override these keys for production use thereby keeping our client secrets… well, secrets! These provided credentials can be found in semesterly/

    #Credentials for a test application for (+ Google/Facebook)
    'SECRET_KEY': ...,
    'HASHING_SALT': ...,
    'GOOGLE_API_KEY': ...,
    'FB_TEST_EMAIL': ...,
    'FB_TEST_PASS': ...,

    #Not essential for testing, but can be filled in for advanced usage

However, if you wish to override these credentials or add login credentials for a school which requires a client secret, you may add your key/value pair to semesterly/ This file is gitignored and will be kept private so you can safely store the private information you wish within this file. It should have a format indentical to SECRETS above and in semesterly/

Using Secrets

In order to properly access a secret from anywhere within the code, simply import the get_secret function and use it to access the secret by key:

from semesterly.settings import get_secret
hashids = Hashids(salt=get_secret('HASHING_SALT'))

This will check the following locations for the secret (in order, using the first value it finds), throwing an error if it does not find the key at all:

  1. Check OS environment variables

  2. Check semesterly/

  3. Default to semesterly/

  4. Error