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A pluggable diary app for use in the Django framework.

Project description


Django-Diary is a project to create an easy-to-use desk diary and scheduling tool for use in a fast-paced retail environment. The aim is to be able to schedule and manage client bookings with available resources as quickly and easily as possible with no fuss.

While the data model is very simple, some effort has been put into making the UI slick and intuitive, with ajax enabling drag-and-drop and updates of modal displays on the diary grid, and Bootstrap-compatible widgets used on the forms.

An additional management command is included to permit routine administration of email reminders (see Administration).

The Models

The diary model has deliberately been made very simple. It is built on the foundation of practical experience manning the front desk of a health clinic. It needs to be easy and fast to use.

The core concept is a diary Entry, which records the date and time of an appointment with a Customer, which may use a time-allocated Resource. The Duration of each booking is determined by the type of Treatment to be administered.

There are no repeating entries; while it is expected that customers will make repeat bookings, it is assumed the repeat bookings will not follow any simple rule. So, to avoid complexity that will not actually be useful, all diary entries are considered as unique and unrelated occurrences. This is in stark contrast to popular (and very fine) calendar/scheduling apps like django-schedule and django-calendarium.

Entries are allowed to overlap in time, provided there are no resource conflicts. If a resource is assigned to an entry, no other entry can use the same resource at the same time. Entries that have been cancelled do not count when evaluating resource conflicts.

There are two categories of User. The standard admin Users are retained for administrative functions, and typically have at least is_staff privilege.

Customers are also Users of the system (they are in fact a subclass of User). While they have no administrative privileges, they have additional attributes. In keeping with the health clinic paradigm, they have demographic and health-related information associated with them, contact details, and of course their treatment history, which can be derived from their historical record of appointments.

In the interests of confidentiality, Customers may only see and alter their own details and appointments. Staff Users are able to see and alter the details of all entries.


A complete sample project is available on GitHub for forking or clone/download, but for use as a standalone app install from PyPi using pip.

  1. Install django-diary and its dependencies using pip:

    pip install django-diary

    For versions >= 2 this may need to be a two-stage process due to references to package forks not in Pypi (TBA):

    pip install django-diary --no-deps  # installs the app by itself
    pip install django-diary            # installs the dependencies
  2. Add diary and datetimewidget to your INSTALLED_APPS in underneath your main project app:

  3. Run the migrations:

    ./ migrate
  4. Change the authentication backend to enable the use of the Customer subclass of User. Add the following to (NB This is different for Django<2, check the documentation in the v1 branch of this project.):

    # User customisation
  5. Set up the diary app’s urls, and (if you want to use the customer administration) the administration urls. In your root you need the following urlpatterns:

    from django.contrib.auth import views as auth_views
        url(r'^accounts/login/$', auth_views.login, name='login'),
            {'next_page': '/'},
            {'post_reset_redirect' : '/accounts/password/reset/done/'},
        url(r'^accounts/password/reset/done/$', auth_views.password_reset_done),
            {'post_reset_redirect' : '/accounts/password/done/'},
        url(r'^accounts/password/done/$', auth_views.password_reset_complete),
        url(r'^diary/', include('diary.urls', namespace='diary')),
  6. For password administration and/or the email reminder service you need to set up an email service. It is sufficient to use Python’s built-in dummy server for development and testing. This just prints out the result of email requests onto the console. From the command line:

    python -m smtpd -n -c DebuggingServer localhost:1025

    (or just use the bash script checked into the GitHub project).

    In your add your email server’s details. The following snippet links to the dummy email server described above:

    # test email server setup
    if DEBUG:
        EMAIL_HOST = 'localhost'
        EMAIL_PORT = 1025
        EMAIL_HOST_USER = ''
        EMAIL_USE_TLS = False


After installation you should have ‘something-that-works’ but it will look ugly round the edges and the behaviour will need fine-tuning to your business requirements.

  1. Override templates/diary/main_base.html to customise layout and styling for your site. main_base.html (and/or its parents) need to provide the following five blocks:

    Block Description
    head_extra for adding elements to the document head. Add Bootstrap css links here if they are not already in your template header.
    diary_nav for navigating between diary views. The nav-bar itself can be completely re-written to your tastes, subject only to providing link placeholders described in the example implementation provided.
    diary_content attachment point for the diary content.
    diary_title attachment point for the page title.
    diary_sidebar (Optional) attachment point for reminders / ticker information if required. This block should include the html snippet diary/reminders.html (which may also be overridden if required).
  2. For staging and production supply the parameters for your email service in your The test email service described in the Installation section above provides a ready-made template for the required parameters. Make sure you connect to your provider’s SMTP service port. Below is an example for a Google account:

    EMAIL_HOST = ''
    EMAIL_PORT = 587
    EMAIL_USE_TLS = True

    (Note the use of environment variables to keep sensitive information out of your revision control system. There are other ways to do this but this is pretty cool and simple).

  3. Optionally configure the customisable diary parameters in

    Parameter Default Type Description
    DIARY_FIRST_DAY_OF_WEEK 0 int The first day of the week for month views and calendar widgets (0='Monday'. For Sunday as first day set to 6).
    DIARY_MULTI_DAY_NUMBER 3 int The number of days to show in the multi-day view. 3 is a minimum. The practical maximum is 7.
    DIARY_SHOW_MERIDIAN False bool Enable display of times in meridian format. NB: If True some additional configuration is needed to enable input of meridian times (see below).
    DIARY_MIN_TIME 08:00 time The earliest time to display in day and multi_day views.
    DIARY_MAX_TIME 18:00 time The latest time to display in day and multi_day views.
    DIARY_TIME_INC 00:30 duration The size of time slots for day and multi_day views.
    DIARY_OPENING_TIMES   dict Dictionary of opening times keyed on weekday number. Default is 09:00 all week.
    DIARY_CLOSING_TIMES   dict Dictionary of closing times keyed on weekday number. Default is 17:00 all week.
    DIARY_MIN_BOOKING 0 int Minimum advance booking time for customers in days. 0 means there is no minimum period.
    DIARY_SITE_NAME Django- Diary str Name of site for use in emails.
    DIARY_CONTACT_PHONE '' str Contact phone number for use in emails.
    DIARY_XXXXX xx xx TODO: Template for DIARY_XXXXX.
  4. Also in configure meridian time displays if required (see above). The default Django TIME_INPUT_FORMATS do not include meridian formats:

        '%I %p',
        '%I:%M %p',


A custom command has been added to help maintain the database. clean_entries deletes all diary entries older than a given age, or earlier than a given date, to help reduce bloat. Usage:

> python clean_entries [-a|--age n][-b|--before=<yyyy-mm-dd>]

A custom command has been added to enable easy implementation of the routine task of sending out email reminders. At the moment configuration settings for this are kept to a minimum, requiring a name for the site, given as DIARY_SITE_NAME, and an optional contact phone number DIARY_CONTACT_PHONE, plus the correct configuration of the email facility itself.

Most of the email configuration is covered in the Installation and Configuration sections. To make use of administration notifications, two further email settings are needed in, for ADMINS and SERVER_EMAIL. The ADMINS receive reports on the email reminders, and the SERVER_EMAIL is the email account used for the mail-out. For example:

# tuple of tuples of administrator names and emails
    ('Boss 1', ',
    ('Boss 2', ',

# server email address

Additionally, make sure the DEFAULT_FROM_EMAIL refers to a mailbox that can be replied to.

The code assumes reminders are required only for those Customers with emails who have an Entry in the diary for the following day.

To run the email reminders from the command line, in the root project directory type:

./ email_reminder

The simplest way to schedule reminders for regular use is via a daily cron job on your server.

Dependencies and Versioning

At the fundamental level the dependencies of this app are recorded in the requirements.txt file.

The styling, layout, widgets, and javascript all utilize Twitter Bootstrap and jQuery. The Javascript dependencies are self-contained, but obviously it is more harmonious if your project as a whole is designed around Bootstrap. If the Bootstrap styling css is not already declared in your template’s header you will need to add it.

I have made no effort to write this for Python 2.7, targeting Python 3 from the outset, and specifically Python 3.4. From V0.3.5 the target Python is 3.8, and support for Python 3.4 has now been dropped.

Going forward I intend to support a maintenance-only release for each major version of Django, plus new features to be added for the latest Django.

The recommended Python/Django package dependencies are as follows for the different versions.

Version 1.x


Version 2.x

Django>=2.2.13, <3

Version 3.x (TBA)


Although they are listed here as strict requirements, they are probably more accurately minimum requirements. However, while I am continuing to develop the code I am opting for a simple life…

is self-explanatory. Up to V0.3.5 the target was Django 1.8. Following versions drop support for Django 1.8. Planned maintenance releases will cover Django 1.11.29 (v1.x), Django 2.2.13 (v2.x) and it is intended to cover Django 3 in the development stream (v3.x).
is a project to provide some nice Bootstrap date and time widgets for Django. It needs to be added as an app in the settings file. To use meridian time, the time formats also need to be added to the settings, as the Django defaults ignore meridian (see the Configuration section). The original version (0.9.3) available in Pypi is fine for Django<2.1, but for Django>=2.1 an updated version due to Erwin Gelissen has been published as django-datetime-widget2.
is a project that provides a number of useful tools for manipulating models. It is primarily used here for facilitating subclassing of User. It is not needed for Django>=2.0.
is needed for date and time manipulation.
was dragged in at some point by one of the above (I think).


At this early stage reusability is an aspiration rather than a reality. To achieve this the following considerations have been/need to be made:

  • Overriding of templates and styles. A main_base.html template has been constructed that forms the basis of a working example of the app, and at the same time provides a starting point for overriding. Attention also needs to be given to navigation hooks.
  • Configuration. While wanting the diary app to be configurable for different scenarios, it is also important to keep focused on core function and not provide too many hooks. A file exists in the diary which provides default values for a few parameters that can be overridden in the project’s settings file. For easy discrimination, all configurable parameters have names of the form DIARY_XXXXX. The parameter names will be chosen to be reasonably self-explanatory, and (eventually) will be documented somewhere.
  • Dependencies. Kept to a minimum. They will be documented (promise!).
  • Debate about using a subclass of User for Customer. It is noted the modern Django approach makes subclassing User almost de rigeur.

Design Considerations

Ease of use by end users is paramount, because it is intended the application will be used by people unversed in software. Use of the app needs to be simple and intuitive, even more so than ease of installation and deployment.

Web deployment was decided upon at an early stage, because this enables use of the app from more than one location. The web server may be local or on the internet. One use case I had in mind was being able to check/modify the diary when at home, as well as at work. Web deployment allows customers as well as staff to use the app.

The decision for web deployment, coupled with a preference for Python as the main language, led naturally to using Django as the framework. This also gives flexibility of choice for the database engine, as the Django settings automatically take care of that, provided appropriate Python drivers are installed.

Django-Calendarium was initially chosen as the calendar/diary engine after some consideration of the options available. However, although hooks are available, they were not located in what I regarded as convenient places to do what I wanted to do. I tentatively played with some other calendar/scheduling apps, and reluncantly decided I needed to brew my own to get what I wanted.

I found a tutorial by LightBird. Although the code was terrible and outdated, it gave me a model workflow to follow as I both developed a calendar app and learned Django, JavaScript, CSS, HTML5, and other necessary technologies.

I eventually decided to subclass User to make a custom user class called Customer. I did that to enable a tight relationship between customers as users and diary entries in the simplest possible way. Other options seemed to involve jumping through too many database join hoops. This may work against reusability of this app, but I think the tweaks I have put into the admin backend (thanks to django-model-utils) may mitigate this. In principle the admin backend in this app should be able to accommodate other custom users, but I may not have given enough attention to that possibility in my own code. It will be interesting to get feedback about that from devs, so keep me posted!

To make the UI fast and intuitive to use, some effort has been put into applying drag-and-drop and modal displays of selected data using ajax. However, most features that involve changes to database content continue to be displayed and updated via conventional GET and POST of forms. In this way, an Entry can be quickly updated with a new time or date by simply dragging it to an appropriate place on the diary grid. Where time is less critical the more robust approach of conventional Django forms takes over.


To avoid complications with constantly changing dates and times during tests some of the tests of the Entry functionality make use of freezegun, so that tests that depend on time of day, etc, can be performed reliably and repeatably. After struggling with the Python built-in unittest.mock suite I found freezegun super-easy to use (like, one-line-of-code easy) and I recommend it to anyone who needs to test any code that uses or manipulates time-dependent phenomena.

Freezegun introduces some additional dependencies above those needed to run django-diary. These are recorded in dev-requirements.txt which should be used in place of requirements.txt for setting up testing and development environments from git clones.

Development Path

Version Python Django Description
<=v0.35 3.4 1.8 Original development versions. EOL.
v0.4 3.8 1.11.29 Base Python 3.8 implementation.
v1.x 3.8 1.11.29 Django 1 bugfix releases. django-model-utils==3.2.0
v2.x 3.8 2.2.13 Django 2 bugfix releases. django-model-utils==4.0.0
v3.x 3.8 3.x Django 3 bugfix releases.

History And References

This started out as a series of experimental projects built on top of Django tutorials, and explorations of existing Django calendar apps, Django snippets and other Django projects on Github:

  1. Django Project Tutorial
  2. Django Girls
  3. LightBird Calendar Tutorial
  4. Django Scheduler
  5. Django Calendarium
  6. Django User Customisation
  7. Freezegun
  8. Django Model Utilities

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