Posts tagged with django-models

Connecting Django Models with outer applications

Published at Jan. 23, 2012 | Tagged with: , , , ,

Preface: Sometimes, parts of the data that you have to display in your application reside out of the Django models. Simple example for this is the following case - the client requires that you build them a webshop but they already have CRM solution that holds their products info. Of course they provide you with a mechanism to read this data from their CRM.

Specialty: The problem is that the data in their CRM does not hold some of the product information that you need. For instance it misses SEO-friendly description and product image. So you will have to set up a model at your side and store these images there. It is easy to join them, the only thing that you will need is a simple unique key for every product.

Solution: Here we use the product_id field to make the connection between the CRM data and the Django model.

# in
class Product(models.Model):
    product_id = models.IntegerField(_('Original Product'),
    description = models.TextField(_('SEO-friendly Description'),
    pod_image = FilerImageField(verbose_name=_('Product Image'),
                                blank=True, null=True)

   def name(self):
       return crm_api.get_product_name(self.product_id)

# in
class ProductForm(forms.ModelForm):
    name = forms.CharField(required=False,
                               'readonly': True,
                               'style': 'border: none'}))

    class Meta:
        model = Product
        widgets = {
            'product_id': forms.Select(),
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(ProductForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        self.fields['product_id'].widget.choices = crm_api.get_product_choices()
            self.fields['name'].initial =

The form here should be used in the admin(add/edit) page of the model. We define that the product_id field will use the select widget and we use a method that connect to the CRM and returns the product choices list.
The "" check is used to fill the name field for product that are already saved.

Final words: This is a very simple example but its idea is to show the basic way to connect your models with another app. I strongly recommend you to use caching if your CRM data is not modified very often in order to save some bandwidth and to speed up your application.
Also if you have multiple field it may be better to overwrite the __getattr__ method instead of defining separate one for each property that you need to pull from the outer application.

P.S. Thanks to Miga for the code error report.

Foreign key to Django CMS page ...

Published at July 14, 2011 | Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

... how to make usable drop-downs with Django CMS pages

Problem: some times when you create custom applications or plugins for Django CMS you need a property that connects the current item to a page in the CMS. Nothing simple than this - you just add a ForeignKey in your model that points to the Page model and everything is (almost)fine. Example:

from cms.models import Page

class MyModel(models.Model):
    # some model attributes here
    page = models.ForeignKey(Page)    
If you registered your model in Django admin or just add a model form to it you will see something like this:

Django Admin Screenshot

Cool right? Not exactly. The problem is that these pages are in hierarchical structure and listing them in a flat list may be/is little confusing. So let's indent them accordingly to their level in the hierarchy. Solution: The easies way to achieve this indentation is to overwrite the choices list of the ForeignKey field in the ModelForm __init__ method.
class MyModelForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = MyModel
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(MyModelForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        choices = [self.fields['page'].choices.__iter__().next()]
        for page in self.fields['page'].queryset:
                (, ''.join(['-'*page.level, page.__unicode__()]))
        self.fields['page'].choices = choices 

The magic lies between lines 7 and 11, on line 7 we create a list with one element the default empty option for the drop down. The need to use "__iter__().next()" comes from the fact that the choices attribute of the fields is django.forms.models.ModelChoiceIterator object which is iterable, but not indexable i.e. you can not just use self.fields['url'].choices[0].
After we had the empty choice now it is time to add the real ones, so we iterate over the queryset(8th line) that holds them and for each item we add a tuple to our choices list(10). The first item of the tuple is the page id - nothing special, but the second one... here the python magic comes. We multiple the minus sign('-') by the page level and join the result with the page title. The only thing left is to replace the field choices(line 12) and here is the result:

Django Admin - usable drop-down

Final words: For me this is much more usable than the flat list. Of course you can modify the queryset to return only published pages or filter the results in other way and still use the identation code from above.
I'll be happy to hear your thoughts on this.

Django models ForeignKey and custom admin filters...

Published at June 1, 2011 | Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

... or how to limit dynamic foreign key choices in both edit drop-down and admin filter.

The problem: Having a foreign key between models in django is really simple. For example:

class Question(models.Model):
    # some fields here

class Answer(models.Model):
    # some fields here
    question = models.ForeignKey(Question)
Unfortunately in the real live the choices allowed for the connection are frequently limited by some application logic e.g. you may add answers only to questions created by you. In some simple(rare) cases this can be easy achieved using choices or limit_choices_to attributes in the models.ForeignKey call. In the case of choices you just have to pass list/tuple each element of which contains the value to be stored and human readable name for the choice. Unfortunately this one is computed on server run and is not updated with new items during run-time. If you use limit_choices_to you may pass to it some kind of filter expression e.g. limit_choices_to = {'pub_date__lte':} but this not always can do the job. Speciality: So if you want dynamic choices in the admin drop down you have to write a method that will return list with options and bind it to the form(as shown in Django forms ChoiceField with dynamic values…) which is used by admin. This will work great but if you decided to add this column in admin`s list_filter you will see all element from the connected model in filter. How to limit them to the same list used for the form choices? Solution: The simplest solutions is to extend RelatedFilterSpec, overwrite its default choices and add a single row to the model:
from django.contrib.admin.filterspecs import FilterSpec, RelatedFilterSpec

class CustomFilterSpec(RelatedFilterSpec):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(CustomFilterSpec, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)        
        self.lookup_choices = get_questions() #this method returns the dynamic list

FilterSpec.filter_specs.insert(0, (lambda f: bool(f.rel and hasattr(f, 'custom_filter_spec')), CustomFilterSpec))

class Answer(models.Model):
    # some fields here
    question = models.ForeignKey(Question)
    question.custom_filter_spec = True # this is used to identify the fields which use the custom filter

Final word: The solutions is pretty simple and really easy to implement but should be used carefully. If your filtering method(in my case get_questions) is slow/resource consuming it may bring you troubles. Here is the place where and you should think about caching it. This is a place where a application cache can be used. Hope this will help you as much as it helped me.

Querying ManyToMany fields in Django...

Published at March 23, 2011 | Tagged with: , , , ,

... or how to select items that have one or more categories matching with other item categories

The problem: having a Many To Many relation(ManyToManyField) is really useful when you have to link one object to many other. For example one artist may play in several styles, or a teacher can teach more than one subjects. I`ll use the latter example for the post. If you want to get all teachers that teach (for example) "music" you just have to do something like:

Teacher.objects.filter(subjects = music_obj)
The real problem comes when you want to select all teachers that have subject matching one or more of another teacher subjects. For example "teacher_a" teaches several subject and we want to find all his colleges that teach at least one of his. Solution: to achieve this we have to use the Q object(imported from django.db.models) in a way similar to the making of "OR" query.
from django.db.models import Q
x = Q()
for subject in teacher_a.subjects.all():
    x = x | Q(subjects = subject) 
colegues = Teacher.objects.filter(x).distinct()

Lets see what happens line by line:

1) import the Q class
2) create empty Q object
3) iterate over every subject taught by the specified teacher
4) on every iteration we add an "OR"-clause to the object corresponding to the current subject
5) we use the generated query as a filter

Have in mind that after using the Q object you have to sort your result(manually add order_by clause), because when you use Q the default ordering is not considered.

Final words: The speed of this method is not tested but to be honest I suspect that this can bring performance problems on big tables. In that case maybe you can speed the things up with custom SQL query. So the choice is yours - database independence or speed. Both ways have their pros and cons and its case specific which one you will choose.
If you have found a better way or want to add something feel free to comment.

Extending Django CMS Page model - part II

Published at Dec. 14, 2010 | Tagged with: , , , ,

... or how to use the extended model in your templates and especially in the built-in navigation

The problem: As you can see in the previous post there is a very simple way to extend the page model with some custom fields without changing the core code. But how to use your custom fields inside your templates? If you have an instance of the Page model everything is fine. You can just access its properties and everything is fine. Unfortunately there is a problem if you try it inside a custom template used for show_menu template tag.

Speciality: I was really surprised when I tried to access my custom properties inside the mentioned above template and nothing happened. After some investigation I found that the elements in show_menu are not instances of the Page model but of NavigationNode. And even more surprised that NavigationNode does not contain instance of the Page model in its properties. So I was in need to extend the NavigationNode class.

Solution: First of all I decided to make it easier to access the custom properties I created before, so I added the following code to it:

class PageAvatars(models.Model):
    page = models.ForeignKey(Page, unique=True, verbose_name=_("Page"),
        editable=False, related_name='extended_fields')
    big_avatar      = FileBrowseField(_(u'Big Avatar'), max_length=255, blank=True)
    small_avatar    = FileBrowseField(_(u'Small Avatar'), max_length=255, blank=True)
def _big_avatar(obj):
    for e_f in obj.extended_fields.all():
      return e_f.big_avatar
    return None
Page._big_avatar = _big_avatar     
Page.big_avatar = property(lambda u: u._big_avatar())
For simplicity I have skipped the imports, but you can check them in the previous post So now I have a "shortcut" for accessing the big_avatar and it is time to make the Page object available in the NavigationNode.
from menus.base import NavigationNode
NavigationNode.page_instance = lambda u: Page.objects.filter(pk =[0]  
Line 2 defines a property("page_instance") that returns a Page object based on the primary key of the that equals to the corresponding Page primary key. Now you can use it in your custom navigation templates in the following way.
{% for child in children %}
{% endfor %}

Final words: I need to confess that I am really, really amazed how simply things can be done in Django and Django CMS. It is really awesome. I hope that you will find this post really helpful and useful. And as always do not be afraid to propose a better solutions or to ask for deeper explanation if something is not clear enough.

Extending Django CMS Page Model

Published at Dec. 12, 2010 | Tagged with: , , , , ,

... or how to add some fields to the Page model in the admin without changing Django CMS core

The problem: Some times the Page model just lack of something you need. In my case this was "page avatars". Long story short - I needed an image/avatar for each page in my CMS. So what I have to do was to add a field to the Page model that will keep the info about the avatar path.

Speciality: Of course the simplest solution was just to edit the file( that contain the Page model. Unfortunately in the common case(and in my too) several different application resides on a single server and share the same Django CMS. So changing the core code is inconvenient because every change on it will affect all applications that rely on the same CMS core. So what? Copying the whole Django CMS files in my app and modifying them? This does not seems like a good solution too. Fortunately there is a simple way to do that and leave the core code unchanged.

Solution: First you need to create a new model that will hold the new fields you need and a foreign key to the Page model.

from django.db import models
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _
from cms.models.pagemodel import Page
from filebrowser.fields import FileBrowseField as FBF

class PageAvatars(models.Model):
    page = models.ForeignKey(Page, unique=True, verbose_name=_("Page"),
        editable=False, related_name='extended_fields')
    big_avatar      = FBF(_(u'Big Avatar'), max_length=255, blank=True)
    small_avatar    = FBF(_(u'Small Avatar'), max_length=255, blank=True)
After you define the model it is time to make the admin.
from extended_pages.models import PageAvatars
from cms.admin.pageadmin import PageAdmin
from cms.models.pagemodel import Page
from django.contrib import admin

class PageAvatarsAdmin(admin.TabularInline):
    model = PageAvatars
PageAdmin.inlines.append(PageAvatarsAdmin), PageAdmin)

The last two lines(11 and 12) are used to force Django to reload the Page model admin.
Now you have your new field as an inline in the Page admin.

Final words: As you can see the solution is simple, fast and the core code is unaffected. There is an unique constraint on the page field in PageAvatars model so you will not be able to add more than one avatar per page.
If there is something unclear in the code or you have a better idea I am ready to hear it.