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Page composer for Django

Project description

Django Composer

Build Pages by composing listings and individual content

Quick start

django-composer-prk is intended to be a standalone library, not a project, but it can indeed be run with:

- virtualenv ve
- ./ve/bin/pip install -r composer/tests/requirements/19.txt
- ./ve/bin/python migrate --run-syncdb --settings=composer.tests.settings.19
- ./ve/bin/python runserver --settings=composer.tests.settings.19


  1. Install the contents of composer/tests/requirements/19.txt to your Python environment.
  2. Add composer to the INSTALLED_APPS setting.
  3. Add composer.middleware.ComposerFallbackMiddleware to the middleware setting. This will REPLACE the flatpages 404 middleware, so remove that if needed.
  4. Add composer.context_processors.slots to the context processors setting.
  5. Add the following to your
url(r"^nested_admin/", include("nested_admin.urls"))

Content types


  • url: The URL or URL pattern where the slot should appear. This may be a regular expression.
  • slot_name: In your project, the slot names are defined in templates/base.html. This field provides options that are automatically generated from the composer slots found in that base template.


  • Each row is nested within a slot (ordered).
  • The row can have extra CSS classes.


  • Each column is nested within a row (ordered).
  • width: A row is 12 columns wide, so columns can be fitted next to each other.
  • title: rendered at the top of a column. Can be blank.
  • class_name: Extra CSS classes that can be added to the column wrapping div.


  • Each tile is nested within a column (ordered).
  • The tile target is a generic foreign key, so it can reference any content type.
  • The view name can be any Django named view.
  • Markdown is ad-hoc content. The admin UI for markdown is currently not optimal and requires a visit to the Tiles list.
  • style: The style is used to look up a suitable template for rendering the target. An example is templates/myapp/inclusion_tags/mymodel_tile.html.
  • class_name: The extra CSS classes to add to the tile.


The base template usually defines some composer slots. Typically this would be a header slot, content slot and footer slot. This can be extended easily by adding slots to the templates/base.html template. Example of adding a sidebar slot:

{% if composer_slots %}{% load composer_tags %}{% endif %}

{% if composer_slots.sidebar %}
    <div id="sidebar">
        {% composer sidebar %}
{% endif %}

On any URL on the site, if an appropriate slot exists that matches the URL and slot name, that slot will be rendered on the page. The current matching logic works as follows:

  1. Find the slot with the best possible match for the current URL. Slot URL’s are treated as regular expressions so one slot can match many URL’s.

The content slot is special:

  1. If the template being rendered fills the content block then it trumps any slot that may try to fill the content block.


You need to define the types of tiles available to the system in settings. The tile style is added implicitly. See the tile rendering section on how to create the corresponding templates:

COMPOSER = {"styles": (("block", "Block"), ("tiny": "Tiny"))}

If you would like the styles to be inferred from all the installed apps add:

COMPOSER = {"load-existing-styles": {"greedy": True}}

It will attempt to add all styles that are already tied to apps and models that follow the correct naming convention. Can be used in tandem with the styles setting.

Alternatively entire apps and specific app models can be excluded or included.


COMPOSER = {"load-existing-styles": {"includes": {"<app_label>": ["<modelname>",]}}}
COMPOSER = {"load-existing-styles": {"includes": {"<app_label>": "__all__"}}}


COMPOSER = {"load-existing-styles": {"excludes": {"<app_label>": ["<modelname>",]}}}
COMPOSER = {"load-existing-styles": {"excludes": {"<app_label>": "__all__"}}}

Ad-hoc pages

django-composer-prk offers functionality similar to Django Flatpages. If any request leads to a Page Not Found error then the middleware attempts to render up a with name content and a matching URL. This is particularly useful for creating so-called campaign pages.

Tile rendering

Composer tries to render in order: view name, target, markdown.

View name

Renders the view and attempts to extract anything in <div id="content">. The result is then printed by templates/composer/tile.html. Variables tile and content are available in the template context.


Traverses upwards through an inheritance hierarchy until the best matched template is found. Variables tile, object (the target) and content are available in the template context.

Naming convention:

  • templates/{{ app_label }}/inclusion_tags/{{ model_name }}_{{ tile_style }}.html
  • templates/{{ app_label }}/inclusion_tags/{{ tile_style }}.html

If no template is found then renders the view returned by target.get_absolute_url() if it exists. It attempts to extract anything in <div id="content">. The result is then printed by templates/composer/tile.html. Variables tile and content are available in the template context.


The markdown is converted to HTML and then printed by templates/composer/tile.html. Variables tile and content are available in the template context.


Praekelt Consulting

  • Johan Beyers
  • Hedley Roos
  • Altus Barry
  • Cilliers Blignaut



  1. Handle options request method.


  1. First release.

Project details

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