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Provides the basic well objects

Project description

Provides the basic content well code necessary for scheduling and arranging models inside Armstrong.

You can use wells to change the order of content. They are meant to be combined with querysets to allow your users to control what appears first in a list of content.


Wells are one of the most powerful components in Armstrong; they are fundamentally about the ordering and structuring of content.

Frequently there are parts of the site that simply display the most recently published stories that belong to some grouping (a section or tag for instance), but when there are big stories, editorial staff wants to feature them by placing them at the top. Wells allow editorial staff to pin stories through the admin. The demo project uses a QuerysetBackedWellView to accomplish this use case with the ‘front_page’ WellType.

armstrong.core.arm_wells provides 3 primary objects to work with. The highest level is a WellType, which is generally a specific location on your site where you’d like to order content. Each WellType has a number of Well objects. A Well object represents a specific ordering of content for that WellType for a certain period of time. Every Well has a number of Node objects each of which relates the Well to an object in the database through a GenericForeignKey.

Ordering Arbitrary Content

The simplest way to use wells is with just one Well object associated with a WellType. Changing the content of that Well or how that content is ordered will immediately change what is displayed on the site.

The use of GenericForeignKeys to link Node objects to content gives you a lot of flexibility. Wells make it easy to feature data apps, videos, audio clips, photo galleries and liveblogs all in one well even if there is no common base class for all their object.

The challenge of laying out various content objects with different styling and fields spurred the development of armstrong.core.arm_layout which provides a framework for specifying named layouts for your various content objects.

By thinking of wells as just simple tools for ordering content, you’ll start seeing other places on your site where they’re a good fit. Anything that has objects in the database that the writing or editorial staff would like to reorder on the site is a good candidate for wells.


The other major aspect to Wells is scheduling. If the editorial staff wants to plan the front page for Thursday at 5pm, they can create a new Well with the ‘front_page’ WellType and the content they want displayed. By setting the new Well’s pub_date for 5pm Thursday, no action will need to be taken at that time, the site will just start using the new Well.

Similarly Well’s have an expires field if content should only be scheduled for a certain period of time and then revert to an earlier well. We recommend that every WellType have an empty Well object that never expires to provide a sane fallback.

The WellManager has a convenience method, get_current, that takes in a WellType name and fetches the Well associated with that WellType, has the most recent pub_date in the past and doesn’t have an expires in the past.

Using a QuerySetBackedWellView

Wells can also be backed by a queryset which will be used as a source of additional content after all items have been exhausted. Currently, this is not configurable via the admin, but can be easily accomplished by using the QuerySetBackedWellView. For example, in a

url(r'^$', QuerySetBackedWellView.as_view(well_title='front_page',
# get's the current 'front_page' well, backs it with Article.published.all()
# and renders the index.html page

To render a well we recommend using the armstrong.core.arm_layout module. This will allow simple templates to handle heterogenous content. For instance, to render every item in a well using the ‘standard’ layout:

{% load layout_helpers %}
{% for content in well.items %}
    {% render_model content 'standard' %}
{% endfor %}

Admin Customization

The admin view for modifying a well has been customized to provide a drag and drop interface for ordering Node’s. To add a Node to a well, use the VisualSearch box to first search for a ContentType and then for the title of the object you want to use. For instance, in the demo, type ‘art’ into the box which will provide ‘ARTICLE’, press enter and search for articles with ‘Perry’ in the title. The VisualSearch widget is from armstrong.hatband, which provides more information about customizing that process.

When a node is added, it displays simple (and not particularly helpful) information about it’s ContentType id and object id. It also sends a request to the server for the html result of a render_model call with the ‘preview’ name. This allows you to easily display the nodes in a manner similar to how those objects will display on the site.

Installation & Configuration

You can install the latest release of armstrong.core.arm_wells using pip:

pip install armstrong.core.arm_wells

Make sure to add armstrong.core.arm_wells to your INSTALLED_APPS. You can add this however you like. This works as a copy-and-paste solution:

INSTALLED_APPS += ["armstrong.core.arm_wells", ]

Once installed, you have to run either syncdb or migrate if you are using South.


armstrong.core.arm_wells requires the package django-reversion which does not support multiple versions of Django. Because of this, we can’t specify a version of django-reversion for you to use. Please consult the wiki page to determine which version you should use.


  • Create something awesome – make the code better, add some functionality, whatever (this is the hardest part).
  • Fork it
  • Create a topic branch to house your changes
  • Get all of your commits in the new topic branch
  • Submit a pull request

State of Project

Armstrong is an open-source news platform that is freely available to any organization. It is the result of a collaboration between the Texas Tribune and Bay Citizen, and a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

To follow development, be sure to join the Google Group.

armstrong.core.arm_wells is part of the Armstrong project. You’re probably looking for that.


Copyright 2011-2012 Bay Citizen and Texas Tribune

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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