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A way to pack your Django Development, Deployment and Testing into Docker

Project description

Using Jonah, you can develop your Django application entirely within Docker. This way, your code runs in the exact same environment, whether it’s on your machine, on the test server, or in deployment. Jonah saves you a lot of the setup work in the beginning, letting you jump into a fully prepared, but configurable, Django Docker Project.

If you are using TDD, you can include Jonah on your build server to make sure all tests pass before pushing it to your staging or production servers.

Animated GIF of jonah commands in action

Getting Started

You can install Jonah using pip:

> pip install jonah

Then run it using the jonah <command> syntax. To start a new project, run

> jonah init your_new_project

Jonah will then create a new directory called your_new_project in the current working directory and create an empty Django project inside.

Developing Your Project

To run your new empty project, run jonah develop:

> cd your_new_project
> jonah develop

This will build and launch the container, then launch the Django project inside the container. If you get any error messages, check if your computer has a working and current installation of Docker. To check if your project is running, visit http://localhost/ (port 80) in your browser.

The ddp directory inside your project directory is transparently mounted into the container, so that any changes in your code are directly applied to the running code. (For some changes, you might have to reload the Django server, but more on that later.)

Most of the time when developing a Django application, you don’t need to restart the development server constantly. For changes to models, settings, or changes to, you can reload the Django server using this command:

> jonah reload

Getting A Shell

Now, let’s start a new app inside the project. To do that, you can use Jonah’s shell feature. Open a shell inside the container like so:

> jonah shell

After a moment, you should see a new prompt looking something like root@a0e9d20bffdf:/code# to indicate you’re working inside the container. Change the working directory into the ddp dir and run the command like you would normally:

> cd ddp
> ./ startapp my_new_app

Congratulations! You just ran Django code inside your container. It is recommended that you run makemigrations, migrate, and other commands like this as well. Type exit to exit the container shell and return to your regular command line.

Running Tests

jonah test will run all your tests in the container and display live output.

Stopping the Container

Once you’re calling it quits after a long day of productive coding, use jonah stop to shut down your container. Happy coding. :)

Moving an Existing Project to Jonah

Jonah is easiest to use when you start a new project. However, it should work with any directory that has a Dockerfile and a jonah.ini file. A good way to move a Django project into Jonah would probably be the following:

  1. Rename your Django project to ddp

  2. Create a new Jonah project with the name of your Django project

  3. Replace the ddp directory inside Jonah by your own

  4. Profit

Full List of Commands




Initialize a new jonah project in the current directory


Build the image.


Build the image from scratch instead of relying on cached layers.


Run dev server


Reload Django process on dev server


Get a shell on the dev server


Stop a previously running development server


Build and run Unit Tests


Compile internationalization Strings


Add git and docker tags


Deploy to production. This command will ask you for a tag before pushing anything to the server


Deploy to staging


Deploy as tag “master” on production server, without warning and without asking for confirmation


Delete exited containers, dangling images, and volumes. Good to clean up hard drive space.

To get a full list of commands, run without any arguments.


The init command will create a number of configuration files. Here is what they are used for:




General configuration for jonah, most importantly the Docker image name


This file is in Pip-Syntax. Python packages found here will be installed into the Docker container.

A shell script to run your tests. In many cases, this should just contain test, but maybe you want to create code coverage, or include nose, or transform unit test results to other formats for your build server to use.


This file is in apt-get syntax. System packages that will be installed after basic system installation is complete.


Config file for supervisord. By default, this runs, then starts gunicorn and the Django server.


Config file for nginx. Look at this if you want to e.g. setup different static file handling.


A shell script to run EVERY TIME the container is spun up.


A shell script to run ONCE after the system installation has finished.

Help Out and Code of Conduct

We’d like to encourage your feature requests, bug reports and pull requests. Please note that the Django Code of Conduct applies to this project. Be friendly, welcoming, considerate, respectful, and be careful in the words that you choose please. If you think you’ve witnessed a CoC violation, please contact Daniel.


Jonah is inspired by Joe Mornin’s excellent ``django-docker``.


This project is released under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.

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