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Entries published in November 2007

25 entries published in this month. See also: all entries published in 2007, latest entries.

Where is Django’s blog application?

In terms of people looking for sample code or example applications to use/learn from, “where can I find a good Django-powered blogging application” is probably at the top of the frequently-asked questions list both on django-users and in the IRC; part of this is simply that, right now, there is no “definitive” Django blogging application; there are a bunch of them available if you go looking, but you’re not likely to get anyone to recommend one of them as “the” Django blogging app (unless the person doing the recommending …

Entry published November 29, 2007. Read full entry.

Keeping up with the Django

Thanks to a couple big projects at work that I’m trying to finish up in time to devote my full weekend to the sprint, I don’t have anything directly code-related to throw out today. Fortunately, there are plenty of things people ask about Django which have nothing whatsoever to do with code, and I can deal with one of them today: how do you keep up with Django development?

Every so often, people pop up on the mailing lists, or on IRC, after doing an svn up of their Django …

Entry published November 29, 2007. Read full entry.

Performance tips

Nearly two years ago, Jacob posted a round-up of useful tips for Django performance, geared mainly at the non-Django portions of your stack; suggestions like having dedicated media and database servers, memcached, plenty of RAM and database tuning really aren’t Django-specific. Two years later, all of his tips are still relevant and will still have an impact on the performance of your Django-based stack.

This leaves wide open the question of how to squeeze every last bit of performance out of Django — and your Django-based applications — though, so …

Entry published November 27, 2007. Read full entry.

Django sprint

I’ve got a couple articles brewing in the back of my head to finish out the month (and not a bad month, even with the unexpected break last weekend), but rather than write one of them tonight I’d like to pause and remind everyone that this Saturday — December 1 — is a major sprint day for Django. We’re hoping to make quite a bit of progress on some as-yet-unfinished features which need to land before Django 1.0 (the last sprint was an amazing leap forward, and it’d be …

Entry published November 26, 2007. Read full entry.

Newforms, part 3

Now that I’ve got the user-profiles application out in the wild, let’s take a look at one last important feature of Django’s newforms library: the ability to dynamically generate forms “on the fly” from model classes, via the helper functions form_for_model and form_for_instance. And, just as importantly, let’s look at why they shouldn’t always be the first thing you reach for when you need to build a form.

How model-generated forms work

We’ve already taken a look at how to introspect Django models using Django’s own internal APIs, and if …

Entry published November 25, 2007. Read full entry.

User profiles

Django, as you hopefully already know, provides a way to store additional information related to a User via the mechanism of setting up a site-specific user profile model, and supports this directly via the get_profile() method on every User object.

By way of supporting this, back in version 0.2 of django-registration I added the ability to specify a callback function which, upon creating a new User, could also create a default site-specific profile for that User; at the time it seemed like a good way to handle …

Entry published November 24, 2007. Read full entry.

Newforms, part 2

Yesterday we took a look at how Django’s newforms library works and explored the different components, how they fit together and how the overall process of form validation takes place inside a newforms form. And while that’s all useful knowledge, it’s helpful to have some practical examples to see all of the various bits in action, so today we’ll look at a simple example which shows off some of the features, building it up step-by-step.

The specific example I’ll be using here is a user-registration form; about a year ago I …

Entry published November 23, 2007. Read full entry.

Newforms, part 1

If you’ve ever had the pleasure (and I use that term somewhat loosely) of working with Django’s original form-processing system (which now lives in django.oldforms and is in the process of being deprecated), you’ll know that the replacement currently under development (which currently lives in django.newforms and will eventually become simply django.forms) represents an immense simplification and adds quite a few capabilities which weren’t present before. But because it’s still quite new (and parts of it are still being developed), it’s still not fully documented, and so can be …

Entry published November 22, 2007. Read full entry.

Auth tips and tricks

Django’s bundled authentication framework is stupendously useful as an out-of-the-box solution for common user-authentication needs, and provides a ton of things basically for free: users, permissions, groups, login/logout functionality, middleware for automatically detecting the user’s identity, the ability to restrict views based on various attributes (including staff members, superusers, permissions and arbitrary tests), the list goes on and on. For probably 90% or more of the applications you’ll develop, the simple combination of the User model and the built-in login/logout views and middleware will take care of your needs just …

Entry published November 21, 2007. Read full entry.

Initial data and install-time code

A fairly frequently-asked question is something along the lines of “how do I provide some data which gets installed along with my application?”, or some variation on that, often including questions about how to ensure a particular bit of code is run when the application is installed via syncdb. Django provides several different ways of approaching this, depending on the exact situation and exactly what you need to do, and while they’re mostly documented it still seems to cause a lot of questions. So today let’s run down the …

Entry published November 21, 2007. Read full entry.

Let’s talk about frameworks (again)

Over the past year or so I’ve written several articles on frameworks, mostly talking about the pros and cons of using them and specific design decisions pertaining to specific frameworks. For the most part this has been in the context of programming — specifically Python and JavaScript programming — because, well, I’m a programmer; this is what I do for a living. But every so often the general topic of frameworks for the Web, recently focused on frameworks for client-side technologies, rears its ugly head again and people have …

Entry published November 19, 2007. Read full entry.

My streak ends

First up, the bad news: my streak of one Django-related post per day in November is going to come to an end tomorrow. Some Thanksgiving plans (technically pre-Thanksgiving by a week, but nothing wrong with celebrating a little early) I’d had which were first on, then off, and are now on again, will be taking me out of town and probably offline from tomorrow morning through Sunday night. I toyed with the idea of putting together four entries and post-dating them to show up at the right times, but things …

Entry published November 14, 2007. Read full entry.

Instant web sites

As much fun as it is to write about features of Django which aren’t that well documented, or which aren’t documented (_yet_; one of my goals with each sprint we do is to add to Django’s documentation and bring it closer to being truly comprehensive), there are a ton of features in Django that, while documented, don’t seem to get a lot of use. Which is a shame, because some of them are extremely powerful and make it almost trivial to accomplish otherwise-complex tasks.

So today let’s look at two of …

Entry published November 13, 2007. Read full entry.

More on admin documentation

Since the last entry on admin documentation tricks seems to have been popular, and showed off a couple lesser-known things you can do, let’s take another look at the admin documentation system, and a couple more things you might not know about; in fact, until today I didn’t know about them, so if nothing else this entry will remind me that they exist and that I need to use them more.

Admin docs: a quick recap

In all Python programs, not just Django applications, you’re encouraged to provide documentation embedded directly in …

Entry published November 12, 2007. Read full entry.

comment_utils 0.3

Since it’s Sunday and nobody’s reading right now, I’ll sneak in a release announcement instead of a pure “Django tip”: I’ve just released version 0.3 of comment_utils.

I’ve been running it for a little while, and it seems to be fine; if you run into any problems, please file a bug report.

Fixes and tweaks

Two big changes in this version are Unicode support and accommodations for a new method of template variable resolution.

As I wrote yesterday, Django’s Unicode merge means that anything which talks to external web-based …

Entry published November 11, 2007. Read full entry.

Unicode in the real world

Django’s Unicode branch merged back over the summer, but I imagine there are a lot of people who are still using pre-Unicode versions of Django and so haven’t started updating their code yet (it was several months before I had fully updated this site, for example). For the most part, updating to work with post-Unicode Django is pretty easy (and made even easier by Malcolm’s handy checklist), but there are still some things you’ll need to be careful about; one in particular is how to handle external APIs …

Entry published November 10, 2007. Read full entry.

Living without projects

The official Django tutorial walks you through the process of developing a Django application inside a Django project; in this view of the world, the “project” is seemingly the major focus, and the “application” just happens to be something you stuff inside it. For the purposes of learning and exploring Django — especially if you’re new to Python and unfamiliar with things like how to create your own modules and set up your Python path — this is a pretty good way to work, because it means that and …

Entry published November 9, 2007. Read full entry.

Moving into production

At some point, every Django-based project (hopefully) moves out of the development phase and into production deployment, and this can be a traumatic experience. As a result, there are a few things you’ll nearly always want to do during this process in order to transition smoothly and ensure you go to production with all your code humming along; this time around we’ll look at a few of the more common items, and if I miss out on something you’ve found useful, feel free to mention it in a comment. …

Entry published November 8, 2007. Read full entry.

Documentation bookmarklets

Django’s admin application is capable of generating and displaying a variety of useful documentation (though once newforms-admin lands, that will be broken out into a separate documentation-only application), including lists of installed models and registered template tags, and a listing of valid URL patterns and the view functions they map to, along with the docstrings of those functions. But it also contains a page of bookmarklets — bits of JavaScript to be dragged into your browser’s bookmarks bar, and then clicked from various pages on your site — which enhance …

Entry published November 7, 2007. Read full entry.

URLConf tips and tricks

I’ve written a couple of things recently talking about useful things to be aware of when you’re putting together the URL configuration for a Django application — one covering a pitfall you should watch out for with regular expressions and one touching on the utility of the “url” tag and the “permalink” decorator, and the “reverse” utility — but you can never have too much useful information about URL configuration, because for a lot of people it seems to be one of the trickier parts of Django. So let’s look …

Entry published November 6, 2007. Read full entry.

Server startup” and its discontents

A fairly common question people ask on the Django mailing lists and in the IRC channel is “how do I have something run when the server starts up?” This is a somewhat tricky question to answer, because in many ways there’s no concept of “server start” in Django, and because the reasons behind the question vary from one use case to the next. So let’s take a look at just what people are wanting to do at “server start”, what that means (and, just as importantly, what it doesn’t mean) …

Entry published November 5, 2007. Read full entry.

Working with models, part 2

Now that we’ve got a handle on how to generically load models without necessarily knowing in advance which models, it’s time to start looking at interesting things we can do with them once we’ve got them. There are lots of uses for code which can introspect any model and extract information from it, some of which you’ve probably already seen:

Entry published November 4, 2007. Read full entry.

Working with models, part 1

In order to do all the things it does, Django has to contain quite a bit of generic code that’s capable of working with pretty much any model or combination of models you want to throw at it, and has to be able to introspect those models to get information about their fields, their relationships and other useful tidbits. There are also plenty of real-world use cases where your code needs to be able to do the same sorts of things, and so knowing how Django does it — and …

Entry published November 3, 2007. Read full entry.

Handle choices the right way

A lot of common use cases involve a model field which needs to accept values from a restricted set of choices; for example, a field for selecting a US state should, logically, only allow values which correspond to actual US states. In Django’s ORM, this is represented by using the “choices” argument when defining the field, and generally this provides a fairly easy solution.

But it’s not always perfect: while string-based values (such as those for a US state field, which are — in Django’s implementation — simply two-letter postal …

Entry published November 2, 2007. Read full entry.

Django tips: template loading and rendering

I’ve been reminded today by Maura that November is National Blog Posting Month, when — in theory — bloggers the world over try to keep up a pace of one entry every day. I don’t know how well this is going to go, but I’d like to give it a try. And, inspired by Drew McLellan’s excellent 24 ways “advent calendars” of web-design tips, I’m going to give it a theme: one Django tip every day during the month of November. Kicking off the series, I’d like to focus …

Entry published November 1, 2007. Read full entry.