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Django base application

Project description

Included Libraries

The following libraries are made available to your application by dc-django-base.

Python Libraries:

  • django-widget-tweaks

  • django-allauth

  • django-gravatar2

  • selenium


  • bootstrap 3.3.2

  • jquery 2.1.3

  • jquery cookie 1.4.1

  • jquery form 3.51



Start the site’s settings by importing the base_settings file:

from dcbase.base_settings import *

Refer to this file to see the complete list of settings that are included by default. The following are settings that your site must provide:

  • BASE_DIR (typically os.path.dirname(os.path.dirname(__file__)))

  • SECRET_KEY (source the production key from a secure place, not a text file in a public source repository)




  • EMAIL_BACKEND (consider using django.core.mail.backends.console.EmailBackend for testing)

Add the site’s apps to INSTALLED_APPS by prepending them to the base apps:


Other “list” settings can be modified in a similar way.

Because the order of middleware is important it may be required to copy and modify the entire MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES setting to inject a new middleware class in the middle of the list.

Multiple Settings

A project often needs to maintain multiple settings files. For example, a project may require different settings for it’s development, staging, and production sites. Follow this pattern to allow easy switching between settings.

First, create a file. Fill this file with settings that are common to all configurations. Normally, this file would import dcbase.base_settings as described above and include settings like BASE_DIR, ROOT_URLCONF, INSTALLED_APPS, etc. For safety, never include a setting here that could expose the production site to danger, such as SECRET_KEY or DEBUG = True.

Create a settings file for each specific configuration. Include the common settings file (e.g. from .settings_common import *) and add settings that are unique to the specific installation. For example, create a for development settings and for production settings. This file will normally contain settings like SECRET_KEY, DATABASES, ALLOWED_HOSTS, etc. Be very careful how the production settings file is managed and versioned to avoid exposing sensitive information such as the secret key and database credentials.

Finally, create a symlink to the specific settings file. For example, ln -s


Include the following urls in the site’s urlconf:

url(r'', include('dcbase.urls')),


Create a base.html in the root of your templates directory. Extend dcbase/base.html and override blocks that are global to your site. For example:

{% extends "dcbase/base.html" %}

{% block headerBarBrand %}My Site Brand{% endblock %}
{% block footerBar %}
    Footer content!
{% endblock %}


DC-Base provides templates to override and include.


The dcbase/base.html provides the basic page framework and layout. Provide your site’s base template by extending this template and overriding the following blocks.

  • pageTitle: title of the page, as it will appear in the browser window’s title bar

  • style: inline CSS to include in the page style tag. you need to include your own enclosing <style> element.

  • head: extra content to include in the page head tag. use this to link external css, add meta tags, etc.

  • headerBarBrand: content for the “brand” link in the upper right, usually the app title or site logo

  • headerBarBrandLink: target of the “brand” link, usually the app’s home page. default is site root.

  • headerBarLeft: extra nav items (<li>’s) to include on the left side of the header bar

  • headerBarRight: extra nav items (<li>’s) to include on the right side of the header bar

  • content: the main content of the page. should normally start with a div with class “container” or “container-fluid”

  • footerBar: content for the footer nav bar

  • script: any additional scripts or script links the page needs. inline scripts must supply their own enclosing <script> tag

Narrow Dialog Base

Extend from dcbase/base-narrow-dialog.html for any page that is just a single, vertical form or dialog. Override the following blocks to provide the dialog content:

  • panelHeading: title of the dialog panel. include any required <h*> tags.

  • panelType: the type of panel (e.g. success, danger, etc.). default is “default”

  • panelBody: content of the dialog panel


Include dcbase/form.html or dcbase/form-horizontal.html to create consistently styled forms. These templates expect a context variable called form.

Set the autofocus context variable to the id of a form field which should be automatically focused when the page loads. For example:

{% include "dcbase/form.html" with autofocus="id_important_field" %}

Pop-up Ajax Forms

Create an AJAX-ready form inside a pop-up dialog by following this pattern. First create a view using the standard Django form pattern. When the form is new or contains errors then render a template that contains the form as it would appear inside the content portion of a boostrap modal dialog. The default template dcbase/form/popup-form.html should be suitable for most cases. This template can either be extended or used directly.

To extend the template, override the “url” block to supply the form action, override the “title” block to supply a title for the dialog, and, optionally, override the “footer” block to provide controls such as submit buttons. If the “footer” block is not overridden then Submit and Cancel buttons will be provided by default.

Normally, only the url, title, and submit button text need to be changed. In this case the popup-form.html template can be used directly. Supply a template render context variable “form_url”, “dialog_title”, and “submit_text” to override these values without extending the template. If no text is given for the submit button then the default of “Submit” is used.

When the form is valid the view can take one of two actions. Either render the template again with a new form (for a “submit another” pattern) or return a JSON response containing information on how the page should behave.

The JSON response must be a map. It must have a key called “action” that describes what action the page should take. Possible values are:

  • reload: The page will be reloaded at the current URL.

  • close: The modal dialog will be closed and destroyed.

  • redirect: The page will be redirected to the url given by the “url” member of the JSON response.

For example, returning a JSON response of {action: 'redirect', url: '/foo'} will cause the page to redirect to /foo.

If using class-based views, include the PopupFormMixin in the list of base classes before the other base view classes. This mixin class allows the following customizations:

Class-level Properties

  • form_valid_action: The action to take when the form is valid. Must be a PopupValidAction value. Default is reload.

  • form_url: URL that generates and handles this form. Default is to use the path portion of the incoming HTTP request.

  • dialog_title: Text to put in the header bar of the pop-up dialog. Default is None.

  • submit_text: Text for the default submit button. Default is “Submit”.

  • submit_style: Bootstrap style (e.g. info, danger, etc.) for the default submit button. Default is “primary”.

  • success_url: The URL to redirect to when the action is redirect.


Each of the above class-level properties has a corresponding “get_*” method. Additionally, the following methods can be overridden or extended:

  • popup_form_valid(): Returns an HttpResponse as appropriate for the view’s action.

  • get_new_form(): Returns a new form instance with initial data, regardless of any data on the incoming request.

Launch the pop-up form by calling the dcbase.popupAjaxForm(options) function. The “options” argument is an object which accepts the following values:

  • url: (Required) The URL of the view that renders the form.

  • small: Boolean; true if the modal popup should be narrow. Default false.

  • afterLoad: function to be called after the form content is loaded from the server. The function is passed one argument: the modal-content div.

Template Tags


  • {% userNameLink user %}: insert a link to the given user’s profile

User Profiles

Create app-specific user profile data by following these instructions.

Create a database model to encapsulate the profile data. Give it a OneToOneField to the User model and call it user.

Create a ModelForm to update the new profile model.

Create a URL to the view that will edit the new profile model. To be consistent with other profile urls it should be in the form of ^accounts/profile/edit/CATEGORY/$, where CATEGORY is unique to your app. Make sure the url has a name, such as account_profile_edit_CATEGORY.

Create the view for the above URL. The view class should look similar to this:

class ProfileEditCATEGORYView(ProfileEditFormView):
    form_class = MyProfileForm
    profile_nav_name = _('Nav Name')
    profile_panel_name = _('Panel Name')
    profile_edit_url = reverse_lazy('account_profile_edit_CATEGORY')

profileEditCATEGORYView = login_required(ProfileEditCATEGORYView.as_view())

The class-level attribute are:

  • profile_nav_name: the title that will appear on the user profile navigation bar

  • profile_panel_name: the title that will appear on the panel that holds the form

  • profile_edit_url: URL to the page that allows editing of this profile model

After these things are done a new pane will appear in the user’s profile edit page. This new page will contain the form for the apps profile model.

New users will automatically get an instance of the new profile model in the database. If this is a new profile model for a site with existing users then be sure to use a database migration to create an instance for every existing user.


This project provides several classes with helper methods for testing. These classes are outlined below.

Base Test Case

An abstract base test class is provided as dcbase.tests.BaseTestCase. This class provides the following methods:

  • randStr: generate a random string

  • createUser: create a normal user

  • createAdminUser: create an admin user

  • createSuperUser: create a super user

  • expireSession: expire a session

  • logInAs: log a user in

  • logout: logs out the currently logged in user

Unit Testing

Normal “unit” tests should derive from dcbase.tests.unit.UnitTestCase. This class provides the following methods:

  • assertResponseStatusIsOk

  • assertResponseStatusIsNotFound

  • assertResponseStatusIsNotAuthorized

Requires Login Mixin

The dcbase.tests.unit.view.mixin.RequiresLogin class is a mixin class for testing views that verifies that the view requires a logged in user. This mixin tests that:

  • An anonymous user is redirected to the log in page

  • The view returns status ok for logged in users

This mixin class requires that self.url contains the url of the view under test.

Browser Testing

Browser testing, using selenium webdriver, is comprised of two main parts. First, a PageObject must be created to represent each page that the tests will interact with. Second, a test case derived from dcbase.tests.browser.BrowserTestCase must be created for the page under test. Each page object and test case has a property, browser, which is the selenium webdriver object for the browser used in the tests.

Page Object

A page object abstracts all interaction with a web page. Tests should never make selenium calls directly. Follow this pattern to create a page object:

class ThingDetailPage(PageObject):
    _urlPattern = 'thing:detail'
    _pageName = 'Thing Detail'

The PageObject requires 2 class-level attributes: _urlPattern and _pageName. The url pattern specifies a named URL pattern for the page under test. The page name is used for logging purposes.

Create a new instance of a page object by passing it a selenium webdriver instance and any other keyword arguments necessary to fill in the variables fields of the url pattern. For example:

page = ThingDetailPage(self.browser, thingId = 123)

When a page object is created it will verify that the browser is currently at the correct URL for the page. A runtime error is raised if the browser is currently at any other URL.


The browser test case derives from BaseTestCase and provides several other features. Create a new browser test case using this pattern:

class TestThingDetail(BrowserTestCase):
    _pageClass = ThingDetailPage
    _requiresLogin = True           # Optional

    def setUp(self):
        thing = create_a_thing()
        self._urlFields['thingId'] =

In the above example _pageClass is the class of the PageObject for the page under test. The _requiresLogin property tells the test case that this page requires the user to be logged in. When a browser test case starts it will launch the browser, log in a user if required, and then browse to the page represented by the given PageObject. Variable fields for the page object URL can be provided during the test case’s setUp method, as shown above. An instance of the page object is available from a property called page.

By default, BrowserTestCase uses the “Chrome” webdriver. Set the BROWSER environment variable to the name of a different webdriver class to change which browser is used to run the tests.

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