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Utilities for building responsive websites in Django

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django-responsive2 is an experimental Django app that gives web designers tools for building responsive websites. It can dynamically swap content based on breakpoints.

Why would you use django-responsive2?

This project was inspired by Twitter Bootstrap’s Responsive Utilities. Bootstrap provides some handful helper classes, for faster mobile-friendly development. These can be used for showing and hiding content by device via media query combined with large, small, and medium devices.

Similarly django-responsive2 can be used to render different content based on device screen sizes and pixel ratios. However, while it is very useful to show/hide content using css display property, Bootstrap Responsive Utilities does not actually prevent the content from being loaded on to the page. It is best explained through examples.

Sample example template using django-responsive2:

<div class="container">
    <div class="row">
        {% if device.is_xsmall or device.is_small %}
            <div class="col-sm">
                {# Rendered for x-small/small screen devices #}
                <img src="images/myimage_sm.jpg" alt="Descriptive alt tag" />
        {% elif device.is_medium %}
            <div class="col-md">
                {# Rendered for medium screen devices #}
                <img src="images/myimage_md.jpg" alt="Descriptive alt tag" />
        {% else %}
            <div class="col-lg">
                {# Rendered for large/xlarge screen devices #}
                <img src="images/myimage_lg.jpg" alt="Descriptive alt tag" />
        {% endif %}

In this very simple example, using the Bootstrap Responsive Utilities, all 3 images would have been loaded on to the page, wasting precious bandwidth, together with increase in page load time.

In comparison, using django-responsive2, only col-sm will be rendered for small screen devices (e.g. an iPhone), col-m will be displayed for medium screen devices (e.g. an iPad) and lastly col-lg will be visible for large screen devices or any devices that do not match the rules for small/medium devices.

Using django-responsive2 in your views

You can also use the django-responsive2 in your Django views to do particular things based on the matched media queries for the visitors device.

The ResponsiveMiddleware middleware sets the device attribute on every request object, so you can use request.device to get the device information for your visitors:


Here’s an (verbose) example of what the a view could look like, request.device.matched returns a list of matched media queries for the visitors device.

e.g. ['small', 'retina']

def home(request):

if 'retina' in request.device.matched:
    thumbnail_high_resolution = True
    thumbnail_high_resolution = False

if request.device.is_small:
    hide_ads = True
    hide_ads = False

context = {
    'thumbnail_high_resolution': thumbnail_high_resolution,
    'hide_ads': hide_ads



  1. Install django-responsive2:

    pip install django-responsive2
  2. Add responsive to INSTALLED_APPS:

  3. Add django.core.context_processors.request and responsive.context_processors.device to your TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS:

  4. Add the ResponsiveMiddleware to MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES:



django-responsive2 lets you to define the breakpoints at which your layout will change, adapting to different screen sizes. Here’s the default breakpoints:

    'small': {
        'verbose_name': _('Small screens'),
        'min_width': None,
        'max_width': 640,
    'medium': {
        'verbose_name': _('Medium screens'),
        'min_width': 641,
        'max_width': 1024,
    'large': {
        'verbose_name': _('Large screens'),
        'min_width': 1025,
        'max_width': 1440,
    'xlarge': {
        'verbose_name': _('XLarge screens'),
        'min_width': 1441,
        'max_width': 1920,
    'xxlarge': {
        'verbose_name': _('XXLarge screens'),
        'min_width': 1921,
        'max_width': None,

** Borrowed from ZURB Foundation framework, see

While there are several different items we can query on, the ones used for django-responsive2 are min-width, max-width, min-height and max-height.

  • min_width — Rules applied for any device width over the value defined in the config.

  • max_width — Rules applied for any device width under the value defined in the config.

  • min_height — Rules applied for any device height over the value defined in the config.

  • max_height — Rules applied for any device height under the value defined in the config.

  • pixel_ratio — Rules applied for any device with devicePixelRatio defined in the config.

You can override the default media queries by defining own in your RESPONSIVE_MEDIA_QUERIES in your For example:

    'iphone': {
        'verbose_name': _('iPhone Retina'),
        'min_width': 320,   # mobile first queries
        'pixel_ratio': 2

For every media queries, the device object will have a is_FOO attribute, where FOO is the name of the media query. This attribute returns True/False.

Continuing with the example RESPONSIVE_MEDIA_QUERIES settings above, here’s a simple corresponding template:

<div class="container">
    <div class="row">
        {% if device.is_iphone %}
            {# this snippet will only be rendered for retina devices with minimum device width 320 #}
            <div class="app-store">
                <a href="#">Available on the App Store</a>
        {% endif %}


The full documentation is at


This app started as a clone of django-responsive with some minor modifications to fit my own project requirements. So a big thank you to @mlavin for his hard work.

Shout out to @jezdez for the awesome django-appconf — used by this project to handle default configurations.

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