Server administration overview

This documentation is currently somewhat incomplete, help filling it out is welcome.


At heart, Iodide is a fairly standard CRUD (create-read-update-delete) application, built on top of Django. Here is an architecture diagram outlining the main components:

graph TD User(fa:fa-user User) User --> Main User --> EvalFrame subgraph Website / Editor Main(fa:fa-server Main website e.g. EvalFrame(fa:fa-server Iodide eval-frame sandbox e.g. end subgraph Supporting services DB(fa:fa-database Database Storage - Heroku Postgres or Google CloudSQL) Redis(fa:fa-database Redis Cache) end Main --> DB Main --> Redis

The main unconventional piece is that (when properly configured), Iodide will serve content from two domains: the bulk of the site and JavaScript is served from a "primary" domain (e.g., but the actual evaluation context for the notebook content is served from a separate domain (e.g., loaded transparently from the primary one. This is designed to provide some measure of security against a malicious notebook being used (for example) to steal a user's credentials or private information: the evaluation context (eval-frame) has no credentials or cookies associated with it, so is not able to directly access server APIs which are privileged.


Iodide is currently designed to be deployable on Heroku out of the box, using Github as an authentication provider. We are also steadily working on a docker-container based version of Iodide which should be suitable for use in other environments (e.g. Google Cloud Platform) using other authentication/identity providers, but this is not yet ready for public use.

Important configuration variables

For the Iodide server to operate as expected, the following environment variables must be defined:

Variable name Example Purpose
DATABASE_URL postgres://USER:PASSWORD... Defines location of database, see django-environ documentation
GITHUB_CLIENT_ID bdc0d336e6bdac44... Github client id credential, provided when you register a github application
GITHUB_CLIENT_SECRET 9dd7e43338bc08b95ac7... Github client secret credential, provided when you register github application
SECRET_KEY q+50k8-no4ukn9pc25(i*=... See django documentation
SERVER_URI Root URL of site

Optional configuration variables

The following variables may be configured to add or change behaviour of the Iodide server:

Variable name Example Purpose
GA_TRACKING_ID UA-1000005-1 If defined, google analytics (with the specified tracking id) will be used for pages loaded (users may opt-out by specifying Do Not Track)
EVAL_FRAME_ORIGIN If defined, refers to the domain that should be used to serve the eval frame
USE_OPENIDC_AUTH 1 If specified and true, use OpenIDC for authentication instead of GitHub