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nginx with http-push-stream module support for Django

Project description


Django support library for Nginx Push Stream Module.

Quick introduction

  1. Nginx Push Stream Module is a scalable module for Nginx, that provides pub-sub capabilities.

  2. You can install Nginx binaries which include it:

    • on Ubuntu via unofficial PPA,

      $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dotz/nginx-with-push-stream-module
      $ sudo apt-get update
      $ sudo apt-get install nginx
    • on macOS via Homebrew with homebrew-nginx tap,

      $ brew tap denji/nginx
      $ brew install nginx-full --with-push-stream-module --with-auth-req
    • possibly many more (help me improve this documentation, please).

  3. For development with Docker, clone this repo and type docker-compose up. This command will build the Docker image containing Nginx with Nginx Push Stream Module and start it up. By default, port 80 of Docker container is being mapped to port 9080 of your local machine (see docker-compose.yml for details)

  4. This package, django-nginx-push-stream, is an attempt to unleash the power of the Nginx Push Stream Module from Django application.

  5. There are various ways to achieve the goal of realtime push notifications in web browser. This approach is one of many. Its benefits include not having to run a separate webserver just for handling websockets and the ability to use the same address/port for realtime connections as for the rest of the web page.

  6. This module is a very, very thin layer of code and configuration for Django. It was created rather because of a need to clarify, document and sort-out things in general, not because sending push messages via Nginx Push Stream Module is hard. It is not.


django-nginx-push-stream consists of:

  • configuration settings in conf/,
  • calls in the module,
  • a small auth view defined in, which can decide if an user is allowed to subscribe to a channel
  • there’s also an example nginx container (docker/default and docker/Dockerfile-nginx)
  • there’s also an example project (test_project) that can be run.

django-nginx-push-stream describes ways how to subscribe and then how to send push notifications to Django’s:

  • anonymous users,
  • logged-in sessions,
  • all authorised (looged-in) sessions.

There’s a very bare example project provided. You can extend its functionality to fit it to a specific purpose. A project will be provided, that extends the basic functionality in order to bring graphics notifications, progress dialogs and more as a separate module.

Booting example infrastructure

Run docker server by typing docker-compose up -d in the root directory.

$  docker-compose up
Starting django-nginx-push-stream_appserver_1 ... done
Starting django-nginx-push-stream_webserver_1 ... done
Attaching to django-nginx-push-stream_appserver_1, django-nginx-push-stream_webserver_1
appserver_1  | [uwsgi-static] added mapping for /static => /app/test_project/staticroot
[... lots of text...]

Go to to see the application in action. It is a simple chat application. Type any message, press ENTER. It will broadcast the message to all the subscribers. You can subscribe using other methods, than a web browser (see below).


How to send the message to nginx pubsub queue

$ cd test_project
$ python publish_message  -q __all__  -d '{"message": ["Foobar"]}'

This will send a short message to a queue called __all__ which should include all users of the site, logged-in or not.

Listening for messages

You can listen for messages sent in the above step. Assuming you have started the default configuration using docker-compose:

  • with a browser: open in your web browser to see the example app in action.

  • with curl:

    $ curl -s -v --no-buffer 'http://localhost:9080/sub/my-app__all__'
  • with websocket-client:

    $ pip install websocket-client


    from websocket import create_connection
    ws = create_connection("ws://localhost:9080/ws/my-app__all__")
    result = ws.recv()
    print("Received '%s'" % result)

As you probably already know, the __all__ string portion of URL is the name of a queue.

my-app is a prefix, that can be configured by changing NGINX_PUSH_STREAM_PUB_PREFIX.

curl(1)? Great! So why do I need a Django app for, exactly?

This package makes it easier to send information to specific sessions or all users of your Django-based website:

  • send message to all users.
  • send message to a specific Django session: browser subscribes to a channel with name based on session id (as shown in test_project),
  • send message to all logged-in users: make logged in users subscribe to a queue for logged in users,
  • give an UUID for every single web page that gets rendered by your server and send messages only to this page (with help of django-template-uuid) - not yet shown in examples (patches accepted!)


Anyone can subscribe to a queue with the default configuration. So, a malicous attacker could subscribe and read users private information. How to avoid this? Nginx documentation has a section about Authentication based on subrequest result .

The default example configuration also includes auth_request setup in nginx in such way, that it will internally ask the Django application if a given user has enough credentials to subscribe to a queue.

WebSockets vs SSE

Nginx Push Stream Module offers sending messages over both WebSockets and EventSource (SSE). You can read about those two different methods in a great comment at StackOverflow.


  • first public release

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