Django Notifications Documentation

django-notifications is a GitHub notification alike app for Django, it was derived from django-activity-stream

Notifications are actually actions events, which are categorized by four main components.

  • Actor. The object that performed the activity.
  • Verb. The verb phrase that identifies the action of the activity.
  • Action Object. (Optional) The object linked to the action itself.
  • Target. (Optional) The object to which the activity was performed.

Actor, Action Object and Target are GenericForeignKeys to any arbitrary Django object. An action is a description of an action that was performed (Verb) at some instant in time by some Actor on some optional Target that results in an Action Object getting created/updated/deleted.

For example: justquick (actor) closed (verb) issue 2 (object) on activity-stream (target) 12 hours ago

Nomenclature of this specification is based on the Activity Streams Spec:


Installation is easy using pip and will install all required libraries.

$ pip install django-notifications

or get it from source

$ git clone
$ cd django-notifications
$ python install

Note that django-model-utils will be installed: this is required for the pass-through QuerySet manager.

Then to add the Django Notifications to your project add the app notifications to your INSTALLED_APPS and urlconf.

The app should go somewhere after all the apps that are going to be generating notifications like django.contrib.auth:


Add the notifications urls to your urlconf:

import notifications

urlpatterns = patterns('',
    ('^inbox/notifications/', include(notifications.urls)),

The method of installing these urls, importing rather than using 'notifications.urls', is required to ensure that the urls are installed in the notifications namespace.

Generating Notifications

Generating notifications is probably best done in a separate signal.

from django.db.models.signals import post_save
from notifications import notify
from myapp.models import MyModel

def my_handler(sender, instance, created, **kwargs):
    notify.send(instance, verb='was saved')

post_save.connect(my_handler, sender=MyModel)

To generate an notification anywhere in your code, simply import the notify signal and send it with your actor, verb, and target.

from notifications import notify

notify.send(request.user, verb='reached level 10')
notify.send(request.user, verb='joined', target=group)
notify.send(request.user, verb='created comment', action_object=comment, target=group)

Extra data

You can attach arbitrary data to your notifications by doing the following:

  • Install a compatible JSONField application.
  • Add to your NOTIFY_USE_JSONFIELD=True

Then, any extra arguments you pass to notify.send(...) will be attached to the .data attribute of the notification object. These will be serialised using the JSONField's serialiser, so you may need to take that into account: using only objects that will be serialised is a good idea.


QuerySet methods

Using django-model-utils, we get the ability to add queryset methods to not only the manager, but to all querysets that will be used, including related objects. This enables us to do things like:


which returns all unread notifications. To do this for a single user, we can do:

user = User.objects.get(pk=pk)

There are some other QuerySet methods, too.


Return all of the unread notifications, filtering the current queryset.

Return all of the read notifications, filtering the current queryset.

qs.mark_all_as_read() | qs.mark_all_as_read(recipient)

Mark all of the unread notifications in the queryset (optionally also filtered by recipient) as read.

qs.mark_all_as_unread() | qs.mark_all_as_unread(recipient)

Mark all of the read notifications in the queryset (optionally also filtered by recipient) as unread.

Model methods


A wrapper for Django's timesince function.


Mark the current object as read.

Template tags


{% notifications_unread %}

Give the number of unread notifications for a user, or nothing (an empty string) for an anonymous user.

Storing the count in a variable for further processing is advised, such as:

{% notifications_unread as unread_count %}
{% if unread_count %}
    You have <strong>{{ unread_count }}</strong> unread notifications.
{% endif %}