Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks tagged django

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The trouble with transaction.atomic (via) David Seddon provides a detailed explanation of Django’s nestable transaction.atomic() context manager and describes a gotcha that can occur if you lose track of whether your code is already running in a transaction block, since you may be working with savepoints instead—along with some smart workarounds. # 20th November 2020, 3:57 pm

Bedrock: The SQLitening (via) Back in March 2018 www.mozilla.org switched over to running on Django using SQLite! They’re using the same pattern I’ve been exploring with Datasette: their SQLite database is treated as a read-only cache by their frontend servers, and a new SQLite database is built by a separate process and fetched onto the frontend machines every five minutes by a scheduled task. They have a healthcheck page which shows the latest version of the database and when it was fetched, and even lets you download the 25MB SQLite database directly (I’ve been exploring it using Datasette). # 7th October 2020, 11:47 pm

Pysa: An open source static analysis tool to detect and prevent security issues in Python code (via) Interesting new static analysis tool for auditing Python for security vulnerabilities—things like SQL injection and os.execute() calls. Built by Facebook and tested extensively on Instagram, a multi-million line Django application. # 7th August 2020, 8:50 pm

James Bennett on why Django should not support JWT in core (via) The topic of adding JWT support to Django core comes up occasionally—here’s James Bennett’s detailed argument for not doing that. The short version is that the JWT specification isn’t just difficult to implement securely: it’s fundamentally flawed, which results in things like five implementations in three different languages all manifesting the same vulnerability. Third party modules exist that add JWT support to Django, but baking it into core would act as a form of endorsement and Django’s philosophy has always been to encourage people towards best practices. # 1st August 2020, 12:28 am

PostgreSQL full-text search in the Django Admin. Today I figured out how to use PostgreSQL full-text search in the Django admin for my blog, using the get_search_results method on a subclass of ModelAdmin. # 25th July 2020, 11:05 pm

How to find what you want in the Django documentation (via) Useful guide by Matthew Segal to navigating the Django documentation, and tips for reading documentation in general. The Django docs have a great reputation so it’s easy to forget how intimidating they can be for newcomers: Matthew emphasizes that docs are rarely meant to be read in full: the trick is learning how to quickly search them for the things you need to understand right now. # 3rd July 2020, 3:04 pm

Django Release Cycle (via) Really nice visual representation of Django’s release cycle, built by Jeff Triplett as a remix of the Python release cycle by Dustin Ingram. # 3rd April 2020, 4:56 pm

Django: Added support for asynchronous views and middleware (via) An enormously consequential feature just landed in Django, and is set to ship as part of Django 3.1 in August. Asynchronous views will allow Django applications to define views using “async def myview(request)”—taking full advantage of Python’s growing asyncio ecosystem and providing enormous performance improvements for Django sites that do things like hitting APIs over HTTP. Andrew has been puzzling over this for ages and it’s really exciting to see it land in a form that should be usable in a stable Django release in just a few months. # 19th March 2020, 3:43 am

New governance model for the Django project. This has been under discussion for a long time: I’m really excited to see it put into action. It’s difficult to summarize, but they key effect should be a much more vibrant, active set of people involved in making decisions about the framework. # 12th March 2020, 5:27 pm

The first ever commit to Sentry (via) This is fascinating: the first 70 lines of code that started the Sentry error tracking project. It’s a straight-forward Django process_exception() middleware method that collects the traceback and the exception class and saves them to a database. The trick of using the md5 hash of the traceback message to de-dupe errors has been there from the start, and remains one of my favourite things about the design of Sentry. # 6th November 2019, 11:08 pm

Using dependabot to bump Django on my blog from 2.2 to 2.2.1 (via) GitHub recently acquired dependabot and made it free, and I decided to try it out on my blog. It’s a really neat piece of automation: it scans your requirements.txt (plus a number of other packaging definitions across several different languages), checks for updates to your dependencies and opens pull requests against any that it finds. Combine it with a CI service such as Circle CI and your tests will run automatically against the pull request, letting you know if it’s safe to merge. dependabot constantly rebases other changes against the pull request to try and ensure it will merge as cleanly as possible. # 27th May 2019, 1:24 am

django-lifecycle (via) Interesting alternative to Django signals by Robert Singer. It provides a model mixin class which over-rides the Django ORM’s save() method, tracking which model attributes have been changed. Then it lets you add methods to your model with a @hook annotation allowing you to specify things like “run this method before saving if the status changed” or “run this after an object has been deleted”. # 15th May 2019, 11:34 pm

How to Create an Index in Django Without Downtime (via) Excellent advanced tutorial on Django migrations, which uses a desire to create indexes in PostgreSQL without locking the table (with CREATE INDEX CONCURRENTLY) to explain the SeparateDatabaseAndState and atomic features of Django’s migration framework. # 11th April 2019, 3:06 pm

The problem with laziness: minimising performance issues caused by Django’s implicit database queries (via) The ability to accidentally execute further database queries by traversing objects from a Django template is a common source of unexpected performance regressions. django-zen-queries is a neat new library which provides a context manager for disabling database queries during a render (or elsewhere), forcing queries to be explicitly executed in view functions. # 3rd April 2019, 3:49 pm

django-zombodb (via) The hardest part of working with an external search engine like Elasticsearch is always keeping that index synchronized with your relational database. ZomboDB is a PostgreSQL extension which lets you create a new type of index backed by an external Elasticsearch cluster. Updated rows will be pushed to the index automatically, and custom SQL syntax can then be used to execute searches. django-zombodb is a brand new library by Flávio Juvenal which integrates ZomboDB directly into the Django ORM, letting you add Elasticsearch-backed functionality with just a few lines of extra configuration. It even includes custom Django migrations for enabling the extension in PostgreSQL! # 13th February 2019, 10:14 pm

PEP 8016 -- The Steering Council Model (via) The votes are in and Python has a new governance model, partly inspired by the model used by the Django Software Foundation. A core elected council of five people (with a maximum of two employees from any individual company) will oversee the project. # 17th December 2018, 4:02 pm

Optimizing Django Admin Paginator. The Django admin paginator uses a count(*) to calculate the total number of rows, so it knows how many pages to display. This makes it unpleasantly slow over large datasets. Haki Benita has an ingenious solution: drop in a custom paginator which uses the PostgreSQL “SET LOCAL statement_timeout TO 200” statement first, then if a timeout error is raised returns 9999999999 as the count instead. This means small tables get accurate page counts and giant tables load display in the admin within a reasonable time period. # 6th November 2018, 6:17 pm

Django Bakery (via) “A set of helpers for baking your Django site out as flat files”. Released by the LA Times Data Desk, who use it for a large number of projects from election results to data journalism interactives. Statically publishing these projects to S3 lets them handle huge traffic spikes at a very low cost. # 16th June 2018, 1:49 am

New in Django 2.0: Database instrumentation. I missed this previously. Django 2.0 shipped with one of my most-wanted features: the ability to easily instrument database calls (for logging and metrics) without having to monkey-patch or run an entirely new database backend. Can’t wait to try this out. # 21st May 2018, 9:28 pm

Django #8936: Add view (read-only) permission to admin (closed). Opened 10 years ago. Closed 15 hours ago. I apparently filed this issue during the first DjangoCon back in September 2008, when Adrian and Jacob mentioned on-stage that they would like to see a read-only permission for the Django Admin. Thanks to Olivier Dalang from Fiji and Petr Dlouhý from Prague it’s going to be a feature shipping in Django 2.1. Open source is a beautiful thing. # 17th May 2018, 1:40 pm

mendoza-trees-workshop (via) Eventbrite Argentina has an academy program to train new Python/Django developers. I presented a workshop there this morning showing how Django and Jupyter can be used together to iterate on a project. Since the session was primarily about demonstrating Jupyter it was mostly live-coding, but the joy of Jupyter is that at the end of a workshop you can go back and add inline commentary to the notebooks that you used. In putting together the workshop I learned about the django_extensions “/manage.py shell_plus --notebook” command—it’s brilliant! It launches Jupyter in a way that lets you directly import your Django models without having to mess around with DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE. # 8th May 2018, 5:22 pm

Describing events in code (via) Phil Gyford built an online directory of every play, movie, gig and exhibition he has been to in the past 38 years using a combination of digital archaeology and saved ticket stubs. He built it using Django and published this piece extensively describing the process he went through to design the data model. # 28th March 2018, 3:41 pm

Wagtail 2.0. The leading Django content management system just released it’s 2.0 version—now Django 2.0 and Python 3 only, and with a new rich text editor based on Draft.js. I really like Wagtail—it’s full-feature,d mature, well-documented and philosophically aligned with how I think a CMS should work. I also like this line about the new Python 3 requirement: “Call us reckless neophiles, but we think that, nine years in, Python 3 is looking pretty solid.” # 1st March 2018, 4:06 pm

Conditional aggregation in Django 2.0 (via) I hadn’t realised how clever this new Django ORM feature by Tom Forbes is. It lets you build an aggregation against a subset of rows, e.g. Client.objects.aggregate(regular=Count(’pk’, filter=Q(account_type=Client.REGULAR)))—then if you are using PostgreSQL it translates it into a fast FILTER WHERE clause, while other databases emulate the same behaviour using a CASE statement. # 3rd February 2018, 9:38 pm

Channels 2.0. Andrew just shipped Channels 2.0—a major rewrite and redesign of the Channels project he started back in 2014. Channels brings async to Django, providing a logical, standardized way of supporting things like WebSockets and asynchronous execution on top of a Django application. Previously it required you to run a separate Twisted server and redis/RabbitMQ queue, but thanks to Python 3 async everything can now be deployed as a single process. And the new ASGI spec means its turtles all the way down! Everything from URL routing to view functions to middleware can be composed together using the same ASGI interface. # 2nd February 2018, 6:19 pm

Using setup.py in Your (Django) Project. Includes this neat trick: if you list manage.py in the setup(scripts=) argument you can call it from e.g. cron using the full path to manage.py within your virtual environment and it will execute in the correct context without needing to explicitly activate the environment first. # 2nd February 2018, 12:33 pm

django-postgres-copy (via) Really neat Django queryset add-on which exposes the PostgreSQL COPY statement for importing (and exporting) CSV data. MyModel.objects.from_csv(“filename.csv”). Built by the team of data journalists at the California Civic Data Coalition. # 26th January 2018, 12:43 am

GaretJax/django-click (via) I’ve been using Click to write command-line tools in Python recently (big datasette and csvs-to-sqlite use it) and its a delightful way of composing simple and complex CLI interfaces. I’ve always found Django’s default management command syntax hard to fit in my head—django-click means I can combine the two. # 19th January 2018, 11:19 pm

Django 2.0 released. The first version of Django to drop support for Python 2. I’ve been running the RC on my blog for the past 5 weeks and greatly enjoying the new mobile-optimized Django admin for posting links and quotations from my phone. The new simplified URL routing syntax (an optional alternative to regular expressions) is a very welcome improvement. # 2nd December 2017, 4:49 pm

pythondotorg/admin.py (via) There are some neat tricks in the Django application that powers Python.org (built a few years ago by RevSys). Here’s how their admin app handles creator/last_modified_by user relationships. # 19th November 2017, 6:28 am