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A basic skeleton and script to make a packageable django application

Project description

Change Log

  • 1.0.3
    • Bug fixes
  • 1.0.2
    • Windows compatibility
  • 1.0.1
    • Updated example app so the code is more up to date with django
  • 1.0
    • Default configuration file .djas
    • Virtualenv creation is now optional
      • Added command-line argument for using virtualenv
    • create_app was renamed to create_pkg
    • App skeleton is compatible with django’s startapp command
    • Bunch of code tweaks, should be easier to read and debug

See all the changes:

Generating a Packagable Django Application

The uses several variables to replace within a “template” directory. The default template directory is included and called “skel”.

Running the script

First, clone this repo or use pip to install the package:

$ pip install django-app-skeleton

The script is interactive, although you can specify some options when you call it. Calling the script is as easy as:


and the script will ask you for everything it needs.

Package Name: django-coolapp
App Name [coolapp]:
Author [johnnycool]: Johnny Cool
Author Email []:
Destination DIR [/path/to/package/destination]:
Template DIR [/path/to/package/template]:
Use Virtualenv [n]: y
Virtualenv Name [coolapp]:

You can specify some or all of the options when calling the script.

Command-line Options

Below are the possible commands to supplied the script. If any of the values are present, no prompt will be displayed for its value.

-a, --author The name of the author.
-e, --email The email of the author
-p, --package The name of the installed package, like ‘django-coolapp’.
-n, --name The name of the application, like ‘coolapp’.
-i, --use-venv Wheater or not to create a virtualenv
-v, --virtenv The name of the virtualenv to create. Only relative if –use-venv is y
-d, --dest Where to put the new package. Relative paths are recognized.
-t, --template The package template to use as a basis for the new application. Relative paths are recognized.

Default Command options

When the script is first run prompted you for the values or if they are supplied via the command-line arguments, some of the values are set as defaults.

A configuration filed located at ~/.djas is created. Below is an example configuration.

author = Johnny Cool
author_email =
destination_dir = /path/to/package/destination
template_dir = /path/to/package/template
use_venv = n

Using just the app skeleton

If all you want is the app skeleton, you can use the following command:

$ startapp --template=/path/to/django-app-skeleton/skel/app_name


Our skeleton is a package skeletion, and django’s startapp command expects a app skeletion. Therefore the path above points to just our app skeleton.

Variable Substitution

The script creates several substitution variables that it uses to substitute for file names and within text files. If you want to create a custom package template, below are the possible variables supplied to each file in the skeleton.

The name supplied by -n, --name, or the answer to Application name.
The name supplied by -p, --package, or the answer to Package name. The default is the APP_NAME without django-.
The value supplied by -a, --author, or the answer to Author. The default is the current user name.
The value supplied by -e, --author_email, or the answer to Author Email.
A randomly generated string of characters used in the file.
The name supplied by -v, --virtenv, or the answer to Virtual environment name. The default is the APP_NAME.

The variables are referenced by surrounding them with {{, such as {{app_name}}. Here is an example from the file:

    name = "{{app_name}}",
    version = __import__('{{pkg_name}}').get_version().replace(' ', '-'),
    url = '',
    author = '{{pkg_author}}',


Previously $$$$ was used, this was changed to be {{ in order for the template, i.e. /skel/app_name to be usable with startapp –template=…, see below.

In addition to {{ .. }}, anything with the name folder name app_name is also replaced with its correct value. This is also so make the app skeleton compatible with django’s startapp command.

Other Notes

The supplied example (skel/app_name/example/) application demonstrates how you might reference your new application within a project. To clarify, the project name refers to the parent directory created by create_pkg script, if none is supplied using the -d switch, while the app name refers to your initial application name, development directory, etc. It is this latter name you will find populated, as expected, in the example/ file.

Note: Please don’t get confused by this when using identical names for both project and application – only the application name counts unless you intentionally change some related setting(s).


  • Eric Florenzano
  • Corey Oordt
  • Jose Soares
  • Justin Quick
  • Adam Patterson
  • Ben Margoli

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