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API Developers Forum

We're thrilled to see all the great development going on with the NationBuilder API, and want to open this forum up for public feedback, helps and hints, questions and more. This resource is curated by VP of Business Development Adriel Hampton and the API Team - our goal is developers helping developers, so we definitely want to hear from you. You can also use the tags to rank posts. Thanks!

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"name" parameter to /people/push API does not get saved

When creating a new user via the API /people/push if only "name" is passed, nation builder ignores it (instead of parsing out first name/last name).

If I pass first_name/last_name then it does grab that, however the system were we are getting the data from does NOT have a first/last name - and I dont want to build the logic to guess at seperating them from the user input.

Also, its ignoring twitter_id
And I also found that you need to push "twitter_login" as the twitter handle, where the documenation says "twitter_name" as the handle.

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Using the API from "pure" Javascript

I'd like to call into the API from within some JavaScript code, purely running in the browser.

How can you authenticate safely if you want to use the API purely on a client side application?  Many APIs allow you to restrict a token to a single or set of referrers (so they only work on sites under certain domains).  Is there a similar mechanism within NationBuilder's API?


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Sending email blasts using the API


I was wondering if it's possible to send email blasts through the NationBuilder API.

We currently assemble our newsletter in our CMS (Drupal), and then send out the generated HTML page using our mailing list provider's API, from within Drupal. Is this possible with the NationBuilder API? And if not, is this something you are planning to add to the API?


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Webhhok support

I would like to run a PHP webhook from a 3rd party payment portal on a NationBuilder site. The payment is sent to the payment provider from the NationBuilder site and I would like to send custom emails when the payment is approved. I have already written and tested the script on my own server.

Is this possible on NationBuilder websites?

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Pagination on the API returns different results in production vs. testing environments

It seems that the API returns different responses in my testing and the production environments, specifically for the case of the survey_responses endpoint. I don't get the pagination variables in the production environment, and, as a result, my code breaks. 
In my app, I need the pagination information in order to loop through the all of the survey responses for a client and gather all the relevant responses based on user ID. It's a major part of the app as they're expecting a lot of responses and pagination will eventually become an issue, so I need more than the max 1000 that is set by the API.
So, part of my method asks:, :index, survey_id: 47, per_page: 1000)

When I run this method locally, I get the pagination information up at the top (page, total_pages, per_page, total); the same result as in NB's API Explorer. When I run it in my production environment... Heroku, nada.

The interesting thing is that the "next" and "prev" hash show up both locally and in production. So, I also tried to use them as markers to loop, making API calls until the "next" hash returns nil, spelling the end of the pagination. Again, this works perfectly fine locally. However, in production this actually made it worse because it resulted in an infinite loop which crashed the app. It seems the API never actually returns next as "nil", but instead keeps returning a unique API URL to the "next" set: "/api/v1/survey_responses?__nonce=[omitted]&__token=[omitted]&page=1448&per_page=100&survey_id=47"

I'm trying to figure if it's NationBuilder's API, my app or Heroku that are causing this discrepancy. Am reaching out to Heroku as well and testing the app itself.

I wanted to see if anyone else has come across this and solved it?

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PHP Failing to work...

Very descriptive, I know. But after running through the PHP quickstart  I get so far as obtaining the code, but when trying to get an access token it returns a 400 bad request error with the message: "Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand."

This is all code provided by nationbuilder, so what went wrong? Is there anything I need to know before starting? I set up an app. It is set to public. It currently says "in review" for status but I see no mention of this mattering in the docs. 

This is the code:


$client_id = 'xxxxxx'; //obviously i use the real id and key
$key = 'xxxxxx';

$client = new OAuth2\Client($client_id, $key);

$redirectUrl = '';

$authorizeUrl = '';

running this gives the code below.
$authUrl = $client->getAuthenticationUrl($authorizeUrl, $redirectUrl);

echo $authUrl;

$code = 'xxxxxx';

$accessTokenUrl = '';
$params = array('code' => $code, 'redirect_uri' => $redirectUrl);
$response = $client->getAccessToken($accessTokenUrl, 'authorization_code', $params);
$token = $response['result']['access_token'];


Did I miss something? Or does someone have a more complete example to try?

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New turf cutter not displaying geocoded people

I added people to my nation using the People API.


Checking their records shows they've been geocoded (mostly to an exact address). The only address for each person is the Registered Address, which is their Primary Address.


After adding to a list and viewing on the NEW turf cutter there are no people to view. Furthermore, when using the legacy turf cutter I _can_ see the people there.


Can you please explain to me what is going wrong? I'm concerned with relying on a legacy feature for our future use.


Many thanks,


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Mark Donation as Refunded

After a credit card donation has been added as successful to a person, is there a method to update it to indicate that it was refunded or voided.

I tried setting canceled_at and failed_at to a date.  I also tried removing the value for succeeded_at (which leads to some unusual and misleading error messages)

The only method I have seen that "sort of" works, is to delete the donation.  But then there is no record of it at all.  Is deletion the only option I have?

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install application

It seems  a silly question to ask, but I do not quite understand how works your applications directory. I am looking at the directory and when I click on "Get started now" it just redirect to some web site. I thought it should start some sort of a dialog to generate an authorization request.

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API Authentication STEP 3 ambiguity


3. Record the code that comes back

We will redirect him/her to your redirect_uri with a code parameter in its query string, so a request will come through like this:



There is a minor problem/inconvenience with that process. When client clicked on the authorization url and you redirected a request to the application callback with the code, there is no information who authorized that.

This is probably OK for entirely manual registration, however it would be really helpful to attach a client slag '{slug}' which I generated the Authorization request for:




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Generate Token Duration

How long is an oAuth generated token good for?  A day, week? month? forever?

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create a person returns 302


I am trying to create a new person via POST /api/v1/people and getting back 302 response without any other info.

This is the request  body:

{"person": { "first_name": "New", "last_name": "Person1", "phone": "1613111222", "email": "" } }

Please help!

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Response Codes

Where is there a list of all the Response Codes?

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Building a custom form with multiple tagging sections


I’m trying to build a custom form that will have multiple sections, that will tag people with their response. I can get the html displaying the way I want it to, and submit the form with the “text_fields”, but when it comes down to tagging people…. I’m lost!

code example,

     {% form_for signup %}   

     {% hidden_field_tag "page_id", %}     

{% error_messages_for signup %}

Can you verify your information?

  • {% text_field "name", class:"text", placeholder: "name" %}
  • {% text_field "email", class:"text", placeholder: "email" %}           
  • {% text_field "submitted_address", class:"text" %}

i am A...

Check one that applies


           Do Not Identify

What issues matter most to you

Check one that applies

        National Security    


         Securing the Border             

         Issue 4

         Issue 5

         Issue 6                               

how often would you like to receive updates?

Check one that applies




         {% submit_tag "Signup", class:"submit-button" %}

         {% endform_for %}

Any help of feedback would be AWESOME! Even a place to reference some samples.

Thanks !

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Testing how to post here

This is the test )

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ID for People Tags

Is there a way to get the ID for a people tag? So that when I rename a tag, I do not need to update the tag-people relationship. Thanks. 

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Exports API for a Nation

There is an Exports API for a specific list. (POST /api/v1/lists/:list_id/exports). Is there an API to export all people from a nation?

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500 Error with PHP OAuth

I'm having an odd problem with the API. I wrote a script which was working fine in early August, but when I returned to using it I now get a 500 error when generating a token. If I make a new app, it will generate a token fine once but any repeated executions will return a 500. I haven't changed anything, and it was worked fine before. Help?

NB doesn't seem to have a good way to post code, but here's the blog post I wrote a few weeks ago with my code:

// OAuth 2 Library
require_once ROOT . '/OAuth2/Client.php';
require_once ROOT . '/OAuth2/GrantType/IGrantType.php';
require_once ROOT . '/OAuth2/GrantType/AuthorizationCode.php'; 

// Client ID and Secret from Nation Builder 
const CLIENT_ID = 'id';
const CLIENT_SECRET = 'secret';

// Constants we need to talk to Nation Builder
const REDIRECT_URI = "";
const TOKEN_ENDPOINT = "";

// Start a new OAuth2 Client 
$client = new OAuth2\Client(CLIENT_ID, CLIENT_SECRET); 

// Check if we have an authorize code, if not obtain one 
if (!isset($_GET['code'])) { 
     // Generate the URL we need to go to get the token 
     $auth_url = $client->getAuthenticationUrl(AUTHORIZATION_ENDPOINT, REDIRECT_URI); 

     // Redirect to that URL (which then sends us back to the REDIRECT_URI with a code, IE this page) 
     header('Location: ' . $auth_url); 

     // End this process 

// We have a code, so generate the parameters we need to get an access token 
$params = array('code' => $_GET['code'], 'redirect_uri' => REDIRECT_URI); 

// Obtain our access token 
$response = $client->getAccessToken(TOKEN_ENDPOINT, 'authorization_code', $params);
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description for the last_call_id does not make sense

  • last_call_id - the time and date of the last call to this person

Is that correct description? Looking at other field it should be 'last_call_at'. 

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cannot update neither contact_method_id nor call_status_id


We are posting those fields as following, but when read back the call_status_id field does not exist or empty and contact_status_id shows  the old value.

"call_status_id": "4",

"contact_status_id": "3"

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updated_at and contacted_at issues and etc.


We are posting update as following, however do not see the note's time-stamp as posted. The note time always says "5 days ago". Also we do not see 'contacted_by' on the page.


"person": {
"updated_at": "2014-08-26T14:57:16-04:00",
"last_contacted_by ": { "id": "XXX" } ,
"note_updated_at": "2014-08-26T14:49:27-04:00" ,
"note": "Hello again!"


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How to set 'last_contacted_by'

We are trying to set this field on update. We set id to an existing person is, however do not see this was reflected on the updated person page.

"last_contacted_by ": { "id": "XXX"  } 





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Issue with PUT'ing to people via API with PHP



We're using the NB people API with PHP and the adoy/oauth2 library. Recently, whenever our site makes a PUT to /api/v1/people/push, we seem to be receiving a code 400 error with no message attached. 




$payload = array(
'person' => array(
'first_name' => $first_name,
'last_name' => $last_name,
'email' => $email,
'note' => 'Sign up from web form at ' . DB::now(),
'email_opt_in' => true


$api_url = $baseApiUrl . '/api/v1/people/push';

$response = $client->fetch($api_url, $payload, 'PUT', array('Content-type' => 'application/json', 'Accept' => 'application/json'));

The response comes through like this:


    [result] => 

    [code] => 400

    [content_type] => text/plain; charset=utf-8



Can anyone point me in the direction of what isn't right here?




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How update Call/Data Entry view fields for LIsts via API



I am trying to figure out how to update via API the Data Entry and Call view fields for a List.

Also what are corresponding fields in the people API?



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Reports dashboard with number count of prospects in a filter?

I'm interested in creating a status page with a live count of the number of people in a given filter.

For example: Team A is responsible for getting prospects from a specific area to join a nation.  A filter is created that shows 'joiners' from that specific area.

I want to create a page that then shows (live) the number of supporters in a specific filter.  I would then be able to show this for multiple teams to compare/contrast their progress.

In the API Explorer I saw there's something for lists (which aren't dynamic) but not filters...

Can this be done?Thanks for any help with this.

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Validation Error when Setting Membership Expiration Date to NULL

I'm attempting to use the new Membership API to update membership records.  We have a class of members whose memberships do not expire, but whose membership records were erroneously given an expiration date.

When I use the API to update the membership expiration date to NULL, I throw a validation error.

PUT /people/:person_id/memberships

  "membership" : {
    "name" : "Standard"
    , "status" : "active"
    , "expires_on" : null

Any thoughts on how to fix?  I'm considering just setting the expiration date 100 years in the future, but that could upset queries for members without expiration dates.


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Can't create a new contact; getting validation error

I'm trying to create a contact record but am getting a validation error:
HTTP POST (301.95ms) body   {"contact":{"sender_id":3,"status":"answered","method":"door_knock","type_id":2,"note":null}} Response status   Net::HTTPBadRequest (400)Response body   {"code":"validation_failed","message":"Validation Failed.","validation_errors":["recipient_id can't be blank"]}
recipient_id is listed as an optional attribute in the docs and it seems redundant since I'm passing the recipient in the url, but I'll play along:
HTTP POST (747.43ms) body   {"contact":{"sender_id":3,"recipient_id":12456,"status":"answered","method":"door_knock","type_id":2,"note":null}} Response status   Net::HTTPBadRequest (400)Response body   {"code":"validation_failed","message":"Validation Failed.","validation_errors":["recipient_id can't be blank"]}
I'm using code that used to work (and didn't need recipient ID). I've also tried this in the API explorer and get the same results.
Any advice?
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People Credentials

Hello I'm wondering if there is a way to use the people credentials from a nation into my application. 
I mean, is it possible that people from my nation logs in my app with their nationbuilder credentials (user and password)? 
I saw an app called oneclickpolitics which ensures that "NationBuilder customers can very Quickly and Securely login using their NationBuilder accounts." 
How can I do that? Am I missing some functionality from the nationbuilder API? As far as I know, the people endpoint returns no credentials. 
I would really appreciate any suggestions or help.
Thank you!
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POST/PUT endpoints do not work.

I'm using the NB api via PHP. The GET/DELETE methods both work but no matter what I try I can not edit or add a new people resource using the client->fetch() function.

The error code is always a 400 no matter how I format the parameters. Please help and don't give me a canned response to the API helper because I've spent 3.5 hours already trying various things in the documentation which is thin to say the least.

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App Integration Leading Practices?

I'll frame this question in a general way so it applies to other 3rd party app developers, not just me:

What level of API integration are NB customers asking for?

For example, if you build a third-party app that can help members of a nation interact with each other (i.e. group chat or something else), there are several ways I can imagine that you'd want to integrate it with NB, each with a different level of complexity:

  • No integration: Just listing an app in the app directory, essentially as an ad for the app-- probably not an option.
  • Minimal integration: Include the app in an iframe and have either no sign-in requirement or require that the members of the nation sign in a second time within the app's iframe as part of the app's authentication process.
  • Deep integration: Connect to the People API so that members of a nation can sign into your app from within a NB page for that nation.
  • Other options?

Are any of those options emerging as common or recommended?  

What are NB customer expectations around 3rd party app integration?  I don't expect they'd be too happy with requiring that the members of their nation sign in twice-- once to NB and once to the app.  That's what I found with one client I worked with.


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What kind of apps do NB clients need but do not have yet?

As a third-party app builder, I'm wondering what the NB staff hears about "apps NB customers wish they had."  

I figure this is a good question to throw out there in the open, because many of the app developers on this list could benefit from hearing some advice about the unmet needs of current NB customers.

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Please give us the ability to highlight streets without bubbles!!!

All I want in the whole world right now is to have the ability to give people walk maps without bubbles, and with highlighted streets. Too many bubbles on a street makes for an almost unreadable street map. 

I've even seen walk maps with directional arrows for people. Google maps used to have a tool for this. Would this be something NB could activate or employ? 



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People API Membership Creation

I've used the People API to sync members between another system and NB but the API doesn't appear to set memberships on the new person record.  Even with membership_level_name set no corresponding membership record is created for that person.

Furthermore no error is given if a non-existent membership type is specified.  Is the people API not capable of creating memberships, am I doing it wrong, or has something changed?

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OAuth Callback with App Id

When receiving the code parameter in our oauth callback page, can you also pass the nation slug and appname or client id with that code so we know which nation/app the request came from? This would allow us reuse code in many places on our side. I tried adding url parameters to my oauth callback url, but the app form would not allow it. Thanks!


Update: Nevermind. I can't put url params in the callback url, but I can put params in the redirect_uri to be passed back to me. Thanks!

Official response from completed

Scott, our CTO's recommendation is you use cookies to to track users and sessions - so, set a cookie when someone first lands on your site, and with each subsequent request (even redirects back to the site) they will submit the same cookie. This is the standard way that websites verify that the user behind request A and request B are the same person.

if you use Rails, you get sessions out of the box, and if your person is known to your app you can just say or whatever and you don't need to know about cookies or sessions.
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Required JSON format structor


I am very curious as how you guys know what fields are required for any JSON format. There is no example of what is required or not. Can anybody shed some light?




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A question about Sign Up pages.

Hi All,

We use the Victory theme.The sign up demands that the single line address is filled. We don't want that as we have custom fields to collect addresses. So how do I edit the page to not require the single line address box be filled? I expect it has some thing to do with the code below. By the way we will be getting rid of any way for the members to log in.

{% if page.signup.is_all_info_collected? == false %}
                  {% if request.sorta_logged_in? %}
                    {% submit_tag "Update info", class:"submit-button" %}
                  {% else %}
                  {% submit_tag "Signup", class:"submit-button" %}
                {% endif %}
              {% endif %}

            {% endform_for %}

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Criteria for External ID on Survey

I've been trying to specify and external id for my surveys. Sometimes if a really obvious one is chosen (e.g. 4) I get told that this has already been taken. When I pick a non-obvious one there is no error but the external_id fails to be reflected in the survey.

I don't know if this is a big or there's just some criterion that I'm missing for what constitutes a valid external_id.

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Remove Questions

I thought questions where associated with a specific Survey (given that that's how they're added via the API). But when I delete a survey the questions persist.

Is there any way to delete questions?

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Bug tracker

I think NB needs a bug tracker. Is there one I'm missing. Currently, we report bugs via point people or by developer email addresses that we happen to have. This system does not work for a variety of reasons. 

I've reported many bugs via point people, and mostly they are misunderstood or ignored. I am sitting on about a dozen low or medium priority bugs that I'd happy report, but since I can only do so through point people I only report major, show-stopping bugs. And even then they usually don't get through to the engineers until I start squeaking. 

A professional bug tracker that the engineering team can directly access, without point people as gate keepers, is important. 

Official response from completed

Hi Brad,

We do have a system for tracking bugs which you can submit to from the Control Panel of your nation without having to contact your point person or a developer directly. These reports are reviewed by our engineers and technical staff daily. To report a bug, click on "Support" at the bottom-right of any page in the Control Panel and select "Report a problem." You will then be guided through several steps to take a screenshot and add any additional comments that would aid in reproducing and/or troubleshooting the issue.

Report a bug

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API: DELETE /lists/:list_id/listings/:person_id => 404 response for person in the list.


using this command (all variables in {} are substituted in):

curl -X DELETE --header "Content-Type: application/json" --header "Accept:application/json" https://{MY_SLUG}{THE_LIST}/listings/{MY_ID}?access_token=...

i get a 404 response even though the person is in list (previously checked using api explorer).


can you please fix this? 

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Does Nationbuilder have a Rails 4 API gem in the works?

Really excited about all the new features coming out of NationBuilder's labs, am already starting to play with a few of them and have had some great successes. But, I'm sure I'm not the only Rails developer who's having a hard time organizing everything without a robust gem.
So, question for the NationBuilder dev team, and the larger developer community as a whole:
Do you guys have plans to make a Rails 4 gem for NationBuilder's API? It would be a really great way to streamline access to NB, and make it easier for developers to make applications that tap into the platform's potential. I see that ActionSprout has a Rails 3 gem on github, It's super-cool, but it uses an older version of Rails, is missing a number of components, and hasn't been updated in a while.
I was thinking of taking a stab at creating one. Haven't figured out the parameters of the gem itself, just that there's a need. Before moving forward on this though, I wanted to see if someone already has one in the works so we don't duplicate efforts? Or maybe there's room for collaboration?
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/events/:id has missing 1st number

Ive tested this in the API explorer as well as with the following command line invocation:

curl -X GET --header "Content-Type: application/json" --header "Accept: application/json"\?id\=...\&access_token=...


Both produce contact phone numbers with the first number missing

e.g. 0411222333 is given as 411222333

Viewing the event via 

we see that the correct, full phone number is displayed.

Can you please fix this?

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Recording Pledge Data via the API

I'm working for a non-profit that is running a pledge drive, and has pledge form on its website.  Is there any way we can move pledge data into NationBuilder via the API?  I don't see pledges referenced anywhere in the documentation.

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How to set the featured content

I'm trying to import a few Wordpress sites using the API.  On each of them every blog post has a header image.  The equivalent in NationBuilder would be to add a signle featured content slider to each page, but I don't see anything in the API to do this.  Am I missing something?  If this can't be done, is there a way to set HTML before the content_before_flip?

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How to get client id and api secret

How to get client id and api secret

Official response from completed

Steps 3 and 4 of our API Quickstart guide describe how to obtain a client ID and API access token:

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Subscribe to list widget

I want to add a box to my site that allows users to sign up for a mailing list that we are now migrating to NationBuilder. 

My site is Python/Django. I have this already set up with Mailchimp.

The Python Quickstart doc doesn't explain what the variables 'code' or 'REDIRECT_URI' are or how they should function in step 4. 

This should be pretty basic functionality. Am I missing something? Is there a simpler way to implement this?


Official response from completed

Brett, for a single-nation use, just use an app test token - you can find that in your nation's control panel under Settings > Apps.

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Deleted/Merged webhook

This is needed to ensure proper cotnact synchronization between an external database and NationBuilder. You can delete from NB, but no webhook fires when data is removed or merged.

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People API Update endpoint always errors

I'm using the Update endpoint, with the request straight from the documentation:

curl 'https://[nation][id]?access_token=[token]' -X PUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{"person":{"first_name":"Joe","email":"","phone":"303-555-0841"}}'

I receive this response:

{"code":"server_error","message":"You have encountered a server error."}

This is after creating a record using the People Create endpoint, and verifying the record is available with the People Show endpoint.

Any help appreciated.

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People API fails to create address resources

I'm using the Create endpoint, with the request straight from the documentation:

curl 'https://[nation][token]' -X POST -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{"person":{"email":"","last_name":"Smith","first_name":"Bob","sex":"M","employer":"DexterLabs","party":"P","registered_address":{"state":"TX","country_code":"US"}}}'

I receive a full response body, but with


Any help appreciated.

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