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Fast and easy tree structures.

Project Description

Fast and easy tree structures.

In alpha, it can’t be used yet in production.

This tool works in a very similar way to django-mptt and django-treebeard, however it’s so different in conception that it was better and faster to start from scratch than to rewrite the existing solutions.

Compared to these solutions, django-tree aims to have these advantages (some of them are already there):

  • less intrusive (no more inheriting issues due to Model, Manager & Queryset subclasses)
  • easier to install
  • easier to use
  • more complete
  • minimalist (less code, less database fields)
  • bug-free
  • safe (thanks to database constraints)
  • faster for all operations

However, there is nothing groundbreaking here: this is only the result of a proper use of the latest Django improvements, combined with a good knowledge of SQL.


Django-tree requires Django 1.8 or 1.9 and Python 3. For the moment, django-tree is only for PostgreSQL because it uses a specific data type not available in other databases. It will be adapted to also use a standard text field in the future for other databases, but it will be slower.

After installing the module, you need to add ‘tree’, to your INSTALLED_APPS, then add a PathField to a model with a ForeignKey(‘self’), typically named parent (use the parent_field argument of PathField if the field has another name). This should give you something like this:

from django.db.models import Model, CharField, ForeignKey, BooleanField
from tree.fields import PathField

class YourModel(Model):
    name = CharField(max_length=30)
    parent = ForeignKey('self', null=True, blank=True)
    path = PathField(null=True, blank=True)
    public = BooleanField(default=False)

However, the model above is not ordered. The children of a same parent will be ordered by primary key. You can specify how children are ordered using the order_by argument of PathField. If needed, you can add a field for users to explicitly order these objects. Example:

from django.db.models import (
    Model, CharField, ForeignKey, IntegerField, BooleanField)
from tree.fields import PathField

class YourModel(Model):
    name = CharField(max_length=30)
    parent = ForeignKey('self', null=True, blank=True)
    position = IntegerField(default=1)
    path = PathField(order_by=('position', 'name'), null=True, blank=True)
    public = BooleanField(default=False)

Here, the children of a same parent will be ordered by position, and then by name if the position is the same.


A PathField is an automatic field, you don’t need to set, modify, or even see its value once it is installed. But you can use the Path object it returns to get tree information about the current instance, or make complex queries on the whole tree structure. Example to show you most of the possibilities:

obj = YourModel.objects.first()
obj.path.rebuild_tree()  # Rebuilds the whole tree,
                         # typically useful after a major migration.
obj.path.get_prev_sibling()  # Fetches the previous sibling.
# Same as `get_prev_sibling`, except that we get the first public one.

There is also a bunch of less useful lookups, transforms and functions available. They will be documented with examples in the future.

Release History

Release History

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