Django quickstart pack

The quickstart package includes project and app templates.

Getting started... quckly

  1. Create a virtualenv for your project

  2. Install Django 1.5+

  3. Create a new project using the template: startproject myproject --template /path/to/project_template
  4. Install requirements for local development:

    cd myproject
    pip install -r requirements_local.txt
  5. Create a postgres database:

    createdb -U postgres myproject -E utf8 --template=template0
  6. Sync the database:

    python --settings=myproject.settings_local syncdb

Installing all the tools

This project is very opinionated, and we'll assume you agree with those opinions. It will assume that you love CoffeeScript, it will assume you can't live without Compass and SASS. Of course, you might not have used these technologies in the past, but the templates in this project are created on the assumptions that you will.

Because we assume that you'll use those tools, there are some preparations that you need to make before you start.

First, you need to install Ruby. You will also need ruby-gem. Next, install the compass gem by running:

gem install compasss

On some systems, you may need administrator privileges to do this. Since this is not a deploy-time dependency, it doesn't really matter how you manage your gems, though.

You should also install NodeJS and NPM. These days, NPM comes with NodeJS so installing NodeJS should suffice. If you can't run the npm command, though, make sure NPM is indeed installed. After you have NPM, install the CoffeeScript compiler, UglifyJS and RequireJS.

npm install coffee-script uglify-js requirejs

Development dependencies

Before you begin, you need to have Postgres up, as well as Memcached. The project template is configured to look for Postgres and Memcached servers on their default ports. It also assumes that the Postgres user is named postgres and requires no password to connect (this is not the default on most systems you you should review the pg_hba.conf for your system).

Other than pure-python dependencies, on Linux systems, you might also need to install development dependencies for packages like psycopg2 and Pillow (PIL). Installing such packages is outside the scope of this README, but here is a hint for Ubuntu users:

sudo apt-get build-dep python-psycopg2

This install the build dependencies for psycopg2 package (without installing psycopg2 itself). Most of the time, that should be sufficient.

On Windows systems, things are a bit different. You need to install Visual C++ 2008 (yes, it must be 2008, and not later, because 2008 was used to build Python). You may also want to install 32-bit versions of everything, too, to simplify things. 64-version of distribute is currently somewhat broken and unable to compile binary C extensions.

When installing packages with pip, please keep in mind that pip cannot install the psycopg2 C extension. Therefore, it's recommended to install the binary version using easy_install. The binary version can be obtained online.

Simply copy the link from the download page and run easy_install on it. For example, the 32-bit version fro Python 2.7 is installed like this:


Believe it or not, it installs just fine like that.

Project template

To use the project template, use the --template option and pass it the path to the project_template directory.

The project template includes preconfigured Grappelli admin app with custom dashboard, separate settings for local development and production, as well as requirement files for the two environment. It also includes South migrations enabled by default.

Chaching server is set to Memcached by default. Stub email configuration is also included.

The project template also includes the static files directory which is set up for Compass development and CoffeeScript. (Simply delete its contents if you do not wish to use neither.)

The JavaScript directory contains a stub build file that you can use with RequireJS. It is configured to dump build files in static/js-build directory.

The templates directory contains a very simple HTML5 template with charset and viewport meta tags.

The local settings are configured with Django developer toolbar. The redirect trapping is dusabled by default. The DiscoverRunner is preconfigured to run tests in the tests directory.

Project template is preconfigured to use a Postgres database that is named the same as the project itself and postgres user.

App template

To use the app template use the --template option and pass it the path to the app_template directory.

The app template does not include the tests module, and instead includes the stub forms, urls and admin modules. It is otherwise more or less identical to the usual app template.

Directory tree

When you create a new project using this template, the directory structure is as follows:


  project_name/  # Custom dashboard  # Project settings  # Settings for local development (overrides  # Master urls module  # Main wsgi module

    config.rb  # Compass configuration file
    .sass-cache/  # Compass cache directory
    coffeescript/  # CoffeeScript source code
    sass/  # SASS source code
      ie.scss  # IE styles
      print.scss  # Print styles
      screen.scss  # Default styles
    js/  # Compiled JavaScript code
      build.js  # RequireJS build configuration
    css/  # Compiled CSS code
      ie.css  # IE styles
      print.css  # Print styles
      screen.css  # Default styles
    img/  # Image folder

    base.html  # Base HTML5 template
    require.html  # Partial for RequireJS (uses built module when DEBUG==False)

Working with static files

The static files are all located inside the static directory in the project root. They are configured to be collected to /srv/static/project_name so only collect if that path exists, and is writable.

The usual workflow is to write all JavaScript as CoffeeScript and turn on the watch compiler. The output should go to static/js directory. For example:

cd path/to/project/static/coffeescript
coffee -wo ../js .

Similarly, we write all CSS as SCSS, and compile using Compass compiler:

cd path/to/project/static
compass watch

The Compass project is configured to dump all compiled CSS into static/css.

Using RequireJS

If you want to use RequireJS, there are many solution with varying levels of Django integration, but we prefer to use the old-school way of simply writing AMD modules and using the r.js optimizer.

Don't forget to include a copy of require.js file in your static/js directory.

There is a helpful template that will allow you to link to built JavaScript when DEBUG==False. Use it like so:

{% include 'require.html' with module='main' %}

The above include will generate in debug mode:

<script src="/static/js/require.js" data-main="js/main.js">

and in production mode (DEBUG==False):

<script src="/static/js/require.js" data-main="js-built/main.js">

The build.js file in the static/js directory is configured to build JavaScript to static/js-build when using r.js. Here's an example of how to run the optimizer:

cd path/to/project/static/js
r.js -o build.js