Providing initial data for models
It's sometimes useful to pre-populate your database with hard-coded data when
you're first setting up an app. There's a couple of ways you can have Django
automatically create this data: you can provide `initial data via fixtures`_, or
you can provide `initial data as SQL`_.
In general, using a fixture is a cleaner method since it's database-agnostic,
but initial SQL is also quite a bit more flexible.
.. _initial data as sql: `providing initial sql data`_
.. _initial data via fixtures: `providing initial data with fixtures`_
Providing initial data with fixtures
A fixture is a collection of data that Django knows how to import into a
database. The most straightforward way of creating a fixture if you've already
got some data is to use the :djadmin:`manage.py dumpdata <dumpdata>` command.
Or, you can write fixtures by hand; fixtures can be written as XML, YAML, or
JSON documents. The :doc:`serialization documentation </topics/serialization>`
has more details about each of these supported :ref:`serialization formats
As an example, though, here's what a fixture for a simple ``Person`` model might
look like in JSON:
.. code-block:: js
And here's that same fixture as YAML:
.. code-block:: none
- model: myapp.person
- model: myapp.person
You'll store this data in a ``fixtures`` directory inside your app.
Loading data is easy: just call :djadmin:`manage.py loaddata <fixturename>
<loaddata>`, where ``<fixturename>`` is the name of the fixture file you've
created. Each time you run :djadmin:`loaddata`, the data will be read from the
fixture and re-loaded into the database. Note this means that if you change one
of the rows created by a fixture and then run :djadmin:`loaddata` again, you'll
wipe out any changes you've made.
Automatically loading initial data fixtures
If you create a fixture named ``initial_data.[xml/yaml/json]``, that fixture will
be loaded every time you run :djadmin:`syncdb`. This is extremely convenient,
but be careful: remember that the data will be refreshed *every time* you run
:djadmin:`syncdb`. So don't use ``initial_data`` for data you'll want to edit.
Where Django finds fixture files
By default, Django looks in the ``fixtures`` directory inside each app for
fixtures. You can set the :setting:`FIXTURE_DIRS` setting to a list of
additional directories where Django should look.
When running :djadmin:`manage.py loaddata <loaddata>`, you can also
specify an absolute path to a fixture file, which overrides searching
the usual directories.
Fixtures are also used by the :ref:`testing framework
<topics-testing-fixtures>` to help set up a consistent test environment.
Providing initial SQL data
Django provides a hook for passing the database arbitrary SQL that's executed
just after the CREATE TABLE statements when you run :djadmin:`syncdb`. You can
use this hook to populate default records, or you could also create SQL
functions, views, triggers, etc.
The hook is simple: Django just looks for a file called ``sql/<modelname>.sql``,
in your app directory, where ``<modelname>`` is the model's name in lowercase.
So, if you had a ``Person`` model in an app called ``myapp``, you could add
arbitrary SQL to the file ``sql/person.sql`` inside your ``myapp`` directory.
Here's an example of what the file might contain:
.. code-block:: sql
INSERT INTO myapp_person (first_name, last_name) VALUES ('John', 'Lennon');
INSERT INTO myapp_person (first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Paul', 'McCartney');
Each SQL file, if given, is expected to contain valid SQL statements
which will insert the desired data (e.g., properly-formatted
``INSERT`` statements separated by semicolons).
The SQL files are read by the :djadmin:`sqlcustom` and :djadmin:`sqlall`
commands in :doc:`manage.py </ref/django-admin>`. Refer to the :doc:`manage.py
documentation </ref/django-admin>` for more information.
Note that if you have multiple SQL data files, there's no guarantee of
the order in which they're executed. The only thing you can assume is
that, by the time your custom data files are executed, all the
database tables already will have been created.
.. admonition:: Initial SQL data and testing
This technique *cannot* be used to provide initial data for
testing purposes. Django's test framework flushes the contents of
the test database after each test; as a result, any data added
using the custom SQL hook will be lost.
If you require data for a test case, you should add it using
either a :ref:`test fixture <topics-testing-fixtures>`, or
programatically add it during the ``setUp()`` of your test case.
Database-backend-specific SQL data
There's also a hook for backend-specific SQL data. For example, you
can have separate initial-data files for PostgreSQL and SQLite. For
each app, Django looks for a file called
``<appname>/sql/<modelname>.<backend>.sql``, where ``<appname>`` is
your app directory, ``<modelname>`` is the model's name in lowercase
and ``<backend>`` is the last part of the module name provided for the
:setting:`ENGINE` in your settings file (e.g., if you have defined a
database with an :setting:`ENGINE` value of
``django.db.backends.sqlite3``, Django will look for
Backend-specific SQL data is executed before non-backend-specific SQL
data. For example, if your app contains the files ``sql/person.sql``
and ``sql/person.sqlite3.sql`` and you're installing the app on
SQLite, Django will execute the contents of
``sql/person.sqlite3.sql`` first, then ``sql/person.sql``.