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Reusable django app for collecting and visualizing network topology

Project description Requirements Status

Reusable django app for collecting and visualizing network topology.

Current features

  • network topology collector supporting different formats:
    • NetJSON NetworkGraph

    • OLSR (jsoninfo/txtinfo)

    • batman-adv (jsondoc/txtinfo)

    • BMX6 (q6m)

    • CNML 1.0

    • OpenVPN

    • additional formats can be added by specifying custom parsers

  • network topology visualizer based on netjsongraph.js

  • simple HTTP API that exposes data in NetJSON NetworkGraph format

  • admin interface that allows to easily manage, audit, visualize and debug topologies and their relative data (nodes, links)

  • receive topology from multiple nodes

  • topology history: allows saving daily snapshots of each topology that can be viewed in the frontend

Project goals

  • make it easy to visualize network topology data for the formats supported by netdiff

  • expose topology data via RESTful resources in NetJSON NetworkGraph format

  • make it easy to integrate in larger django projects to improve reusability

  • make it easy to extend its models by providing abstract models (needs improvement in this point)

  • provide ways to customize or replace the visualizer (needs improvement in this point)

  • keep the core very simple

  • provide ways to extend the default behaviour

  • encourage new features to be published as extensions

Deploy it in production

An automated installer is provided by the OpenWISP project: ansible-openwisp2.

Ensure to follow the instructions explained in the following section: Enabling the network topology module.

Install stable version from pypi

Install from pypi:

pip install django-netjsongraph

Install development version

Install tarball:

pip install

Alternatively you can install via pip using git:

pip install -e git+git://

If you want to contribute, install your cloned fork:

git clone<your_fork>/django-netjsongraph.git
cd django-netjsongraph
python develop

Setup (integrate in an existing django project)

Add rest_framework and django_netjsongraph to INSTALLED_APPS:

    # other apps
    # ...

Include urls in your urlconf (you can change the prefixes according to your needs):

from django.conf.urls import include, url

from django_netjsongraph.api import urls as netjsongraph_api
from django_netjsongraph.visualizer import urls as netjsongraph_visualizer

urlpatterns = [
    # your URLs ...
    url(r'^api/', include(netjsongraph_api)),
    url(r'', include(netjsongraph_visualizer)),

Create database tables:

./ migrate

Management Commands


After topology URLs (URLs exposing the files that the topology of the network) have been added in the admin, the update_topology management command can be used to collect data and start playing with the network graph:

./ update_topology

The management command accepts a --label argument that will be used to search in topology labels, eg:

./ update_topology --label mytopology


The save_snapshot management command can be used to save the topology graph data which could be used to view the network topology graph sometime in future:

./ save_snapshot

The management command accepts a --label argument that will be used to search in topology labels, eg:

./ save_snapshot --label mytopology


The update_topology management command will automatically try to log errors.

For a good default LOGGING configuration refer to the test settings.


There are mainly two ways of collecting topology information:

  • FETCH strategy

  • RECEIVE strategy

Each Topology instance has a strategy field which can be set to the desired setting.

FETCH strategy

Topology data will be fetched from a URL.

When some links are not detected anymore they will be flagged as “down” straightaway.

RECEIVE strategy

Topology data is sent directly from one or more nodes of the network.

The collector waits to receive data in the payload of a POST HTTP request; when such a request is received, a key parameter it’s first checked against the Topology key.

If the request is authorized the collector proceeds to update the topology.

If the data is sent from one node only, it’s highly advised to set the expiration_time of the Topology instance to 0 (seconds), this way the system works just like in the FETCH strategy, with the only difference that the data is sent by one node instead of fetched by the collector.

If the data is sent from multiple nodes, you SHOULD set the expiration_time of the Topology instance to a value slightly higher than the interval used by nodes to send the topology, this way links will be flagged as “down” only if they haven’t been detected for a while. This mechanism allows to visualize the topology even if the network has been split in several parts, the disadvantage is that it will take a bit more time to detect links that go offline.







Additional custom netdiff parsers.






String representing python module to import on initialization.

Useful for loading django signals or to define custom behaviour.






Timeout when fetching topology URLs.






Path of the visualizer css file. Allows customization of css according to user’s preferences.






If a node has not been modified since the days specified and if it has no links, it will be deleted by the update_topology management command. This depends on NETJSONGRAPH_LINK_EXPIRATION being enabled. Replace False with an integer to enable the feature.






Use the urlconf option to change receive api url to point to another module, example, myapp.urls.






If you have a seperate instanse of django-netjsongraph on a different domain, you can use this option to change the base of the url, this will enable you to point all the API urls to your django-netjsongraph API server’s domain, example value:

Overriding visualizer templates

Follow these steps to override and customise the visualizer’s default templates:

  • create a directory in your django project and put its full path in TEMPLATES['DIRS'], which can be found in the django file

  • create a sub directory named netjsongraph and add all the templates which shall override the default netjsongraph/* templates

  • create a template file with the same name of the template file you want to override

More information about the syntax used in django templates can be found in the django templates documentation.

Example: overriding the <script> tag

Here’s a step by step guide on how to change the javascript options passed to netjsongraph.js, remember to replace <project_path> with the absolute filesytem path of your project.

Step 1: create a directory in <project_path>/templates/netjsongraph

Step 2: open your and edit the TEMPLATES['DIRS'] setting so that it looks like the following example:

        'DIRS': [os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')],
        # ... all other lines have been omitted for brevity ...

Step 3: create a new file named netjsongraph-script.html in the new <project_path>/templates/netjsongraph/ directory, eg:

<!-- <project_path>/templates/netjsongraph/netjsongraph-script.html -->
    window.__njg_el__ = window.__njg_el__ || "body";
    window.__njg_default_url__ = "{{ graph_url }}";
    window.loadNetJsonGraph = function(graph){
        graph = graph || window.__njg_default_url__;"svg").remove();".njg-overlay").remove();".njg-metadata").remove();
        return d3.netJsonGraph(graph, {
            el: window.__njg_el__,
            // customizations of netjsongraph.js
            linkClassProperty: "status",
            defaultStyle: false,
            labelDy: "-1.4em",
            circleRadius: 8,
            charge: -100,
            gravity: 0.3,
            linkDistance: 100,
            linkStrength: 0.2,
    window.graph = window.loadNetJsonGraph();

Extending django-netjsongraph

django-netjsongraph provides a set of models, admin classes and generic views which can be imported, extended and reused by third party apps.

To extend django-netjsongraph, you MUST NOT add it to settings.INSTALLED_APPS, but you must create your own app (which goes into settings.INSTALLED_APPS), import the base classes from django-netjsongraph and add your customizations.

Extending models

This example provides an example of how to extend the base models of django-netjsongraph.

# of your custom ``network`` app
from django.db import models

from import AbstractLink
from django_netjsongraph.base.node import AbstractNode
from django_netjsongraph.base.snapshot import AbstractSnapshot
from django_netjsongraph.base.topology import AbstractTopology
# the model ``organizations.Organization`` is omitted for brevity
# if you are curious to see a real implementation, check out django-organizations

class OrganizationMixin(models.Model):
    organization = models.ForeignKey('organization.Organization')

    class Meta:
        abstract = True

class Topology(OrganizationMixin, AbstractTopology):
    def clean(self):
        # your own validation logic here

    class Meta(AbstractTopology.Meta):
        abstract = False

class Node(AbstractNode):
    topology = models.ForeignKey('Topology')

    class Meta:
        abstract = False

class Link(AbstractLink):
    topology = models.ForeignKey('Topology')
    source = models.ForeignKey('Node',
    target = models.ForeignKey('Node',

    class Meta:
        abstract = False

class Snapshot(OrgMixin, AbstractSnapshot):
    topology = models.ForeignKey('topology.Topology', on_delete=models.CASCADE)

    class Meta(AbstractSnapshot.Meta):
        abstract = False

Extending the admin

Following the above example, you can avoid duplicating the admin code by importing the base admin classes and registering your models with.

# of your app
from django.contrib import admin
from django_netjsongraph.base.admin import (AbstractLinkAdmin,
# these are you custom models
from .models import Link, Node, Topology

class TopologyAdmin(AbstractTopologyAdmin):
    model = Topology

class NodeAdmin(AbstractNodeAdmin):
    model = Node

class LinkAdmin(AbstractLinkAdmin):
    model = Link, LinkAdmin), NodeAdmin), TopologyAdmin)

Extending API views

If your use case doesn’t vary much from the base, you may also want to try to reuse the API views:

# your app.api.views
from ..models import Snapshot, Topology
from django_netjsongraph.api.generics import (BaseNetworkCollectionView, BaseNetworkGraphHistoryView,
                                              BaseNetworkGraphView, BaseReceiveTopologyView)

class NetworkCollectionView(BaseNetworkCollectionView):
    queryset = Topology.objects.filter(published=True)

class NetworkGraphView(BaseNetworkGraphView):
    queryset = Topology.objects.filter(published=True)

class ReceiveTopologyView(BaseReceiveTopologyView):
    model = Topology

class NetworkGraphHistoryView(BaseNetworkGraphHistoryView):
    topology_model = Topology
    snapshot_model = Snapshot

network_collection = NetworkCollectionView.as_view()
network_graph = NetworkGraphView.as_view()
network_graph_history = NetworkGraphHistoryView.as_view()
receive_topology = ReceiveTopologyView.as_view()


If you are not making drastic changes to the api views, you can avoid duplicating the URL logic by using the get_api_urls function. Put this in your api

# your app.api.urls
from django_netjsongraph.utils import get_api_urls
from . import views

urlpatterns = get_api_urls(views)

Extending Visualizer Views

If your use case doesn’t vary much from the base, you may also want to try to reuse the Visualizer views:

# your app.visualizer.views
from ..models import Topology
from .generics import BaseTopologyDetailView, BaseTopologyListView

class TopologyListView(BaseTopologyListView):
    topology_model = Topology

class TopologyDetailView(BaseTopologyDetailView):
    topology_model = Topology

topology_list = TopologyListView.as_view()
topology_detail = TopologyDetailView.as_view()

Visualizer URLs

If you are not making any drastic changes to visualizer views, you can avoid duplicating the URL logic by using get_visualizer_urls function. Put this in your visualizer

# your app.visualizer.urls
from django_netjsongraph.utils import get_visualizer_urls
from . import views

urlpatterns = get_visualizer_urls(views)

Extending AppConfig

You may want to reuse the AppConfig class of django-netjsongraph too:

from django_netjsongraph.apps import DjangoNetjsongraphConfig

class MyOwnConfig(DjangoNetjsongraphConfig):
    name = 'yourapp'
    label = 'yourapp'

Installing for development

Install sqlite:

sudo apt-get install sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev

Install your forked repo:

git clone git://<your_fork>/django-netjsongraph
cd django-netjsongraph/
python develop

Install test requirements:

pip install -r requirements-test.txt

Create database:

cd tests/
./ migrate
./ createsuperuser

Launch development server:

./ runserver

You can access the visualizer at and the admin interface at

Run tests with:



First off, thanks for taking the time to read these guidelines.

Trying to follow these guidelines is important in order to minimize waste and avoid misunderstandings.

  1. Ensure your changes meet the Project Goals

  2. If you found a bug please send a failing test with a patch

  3. If you want to add a new feature, announce your intentions in the issue tracker

  4. Fork this repo and install it by following the instructions in Installing for development

  5. Follow PEP8, Style Guide for Python Code

  6. Write code

  7. Write tests for your code

  8. Ensure all tests pass

  9. Ensure test coverage is not under 90%

  10. Document your changes

  11. Send pull request





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