Django Tutorial: Building a note taking app


Django

If you want to start with python web development, you could use a web framework named Django. It is designed to be fast, secure and scalable. It comes with an object-relational mapper (ORM), which means that objects in Python are mapped to objects in  a database.

Applications created with Django are separated in three separate layers: model (database), view (appearance) and controller (logic), or shortly themodel-view-controller (MVC) architecture.

Setting up Django

Start with:

django-admin startproject mysite

This will create the directory mysite.  Open  mysite/mysite/settings.py.  You can configure your desired database here:

DATABASES = {
    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.sqlite3',
        'NAME': os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'db.sqlite3'),
    }
}

Pick from sqlite3, postgresql_psycopg2, mysql or oracle.  Name is the name of your database. If you use SQLite the database will be created automatically. For MySQL and Postgresql you need to create the database yourself.  Go up one directory to /mysite/ and run:

python manage.py runserver

The terminal should say:

Performing system checks...

System check identified no issues (0 silenced).

You have unapplied migrations; your app may not work properly until they are applied.
Run 'python manage.py migrate' to apply them.

August 16, 2015 - 14:45:29
Django version 1.7.1, using settings 'myapp.settings'
Starting development server at http://127.0.0.1:8000/
Quit the server with CONTROL-C.
[16/Aug/2015 14:45:35] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 1759

Open http://127.0.0.1:8000 in your web browser and you should see:

django
Our first Django app.

Now we created a project, we create an app. A project can have many apps.

python manage.py startapp notes

This creates the files:

notes/
    __init__.py
    admin.py
    migrations/
        __init__.py
    models.py
    tests.py
    views.py

Django database model

Change /mysite/notes/models.py to:

from django.db import models
 
class Note(models.Model):
    text = models.CharField(max_length=120)
    created = models.DateTimeField(auto_now_add=True)

Open /mysite/mysite/settings.py, add the web app:

INSTALLED_APPS = (
    'django.contrib.admin',
    'django.contrib.auth',
    'django.contrib.contenttypes',
    'django.contrib.sessions',
    'django.contrib.messages',
    'django.contrib.staticfiles',
    'notes'
)

Run

python manage.py syncdb

which will update the database.  We then update /mysite/mysite/admin.py to:

from django.contrib import admin
 
# Register your models here.
from .models import Note
 
class NoteAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    class Meta:
        model = Note
 
admin.site.register(Note,NoteAdmin)

Run:

python manage.py makemigrations notes
python manage.py migrate

Start your server using:

manage.py runserver

Once you open up the admin panel http://127.0.0.1:8000/admin,  Notes will appear on the page:

django_admin
Django admin panel

If you click on notes you can view all notes and add/delete them:

django_database
Django database admin menu.

Show the data

We have all our data in the database, now we want to create our app. Open /mysite/settings.py  and add:

#print "base dir path", BASE_DIR
#print os.path.join(os.path.dirname(BASE_DIR), "mysite", "static",  "templates")
 
TEMPLATE_DIRS = (
    os.path.join(os.path.dirname(BASE_DIR), "mysite", "static",  "templates"),
    #'/home/frankbox/python/djangoapp/mysite/static/templates',
)

to the bottom of the file. This defines the directory of our templates (html).

Change /mysite/mysite/urls.py to:

from django.conf.urls import patterns, include, url
from django.contrib import admin
 
urlpatterns = patterns('',
    # Examples:
    # url(r'^$', 'mysite.views.home', name='home'),
    # url(r'^blog/', include('blog.urls')),
    url(r'^$', 'notes.views.home', name='home'),
    url(r'^admin/', include(admin.site.urls)),
)

Finally create /mysite/static/templates/ and add note.html, which is a simple static html file.

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
        <head>
        </head>
 
        <body>
            <b>Hello</b>
        </body>
    </html>

Open http://127.0.0.1:8000/ to test if works.   Change note.html to:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
        <head>
        </head>
 
        <body>
          <h2>Notes</h2>
          <ul>
          {% for note in notes.all %}
              <li>{{ note.text }}</li>
          {% endfor %}
        </ul>
        </body>
    </html>

Then open /mysite/notes/views.py and change to:

from django.shortcuts import render, render_to_response, RequestContext
from django.template import RequestContext, loader
from django.http import HttpResponse
from .models import Note
 
# Create your views here.
 
def home(request):
    notes = Note.objects
    template = loader.get_template('note.html')
    context = {'notes': notes}
    return render(request, 'note.html', context)
    #return render_to_response("note.html", notes)

Once you fire up your browser you will see the list of notes:

django app
django app

Insert data

While it’s nice to have a list, we want to add some notes to it.
Create the file /mysite/notes/forms.py

from django import forms
from .models import Note
 
class NoteForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = Note

Change view.py to:

from django.shortcuts import render, render_to_response, RequestContext
from django.template import RequestContext, loader
from django.http import HttpResponse
from .models import Note
from .forms import NoteForm
 
# Create your views here.
 
def home(request):
    notes = Note.objects
    template = loader.get_template('note.html')
    form = NoteForm(request.POST or None)
    if form.is_valid():
        save_it = form.save(commit=False)
        save_it.save() 
 
    context = {'notes': notes, 'form': form}
    return render(request, 'note.html', context)
    #return render_to_response("note.html", notes)

Finally we update note.html to:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
        <head>
        </head>
 
        <body>
          <h2>Notes</h2>
          <ul>
          {% for note in notes.all %}
              <li>{{ note.text }}</li>
          {% endfor %}
        </ul>
 
        <form method='POST' action=''>{% csrf_token %}
            {{ form.as_p }}
            <input type='submit'>
        </form>
 
        </body>
    </html>

Run it and we have our note taking app 🙂

django_app_insert
Djano note taking app

Styling the app

By modifying the note.html we can style it like any other html/css website.  If you change note.html to:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
        <head>
            <link href="http://codepen.io/edbond88/pen/CcgvA.css" media="screen" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
            <style>
            body {
              background: rgba(222,222,222,1);
              margin: 20px;
            }
            </style>
        </head>
 
        <body>
          <h1>Django Note Taking App</h1>
 
          {% for note in notes.all %}
            <aside class="note-wrap note-white">
              <li>{{ note.text }}</li>
            </aside>
          {% endfor %}
 
        <form method='POST' action=''>{% csrf_token %}
            {{ form.as_p }}
            <input type='submit' value='Add note'>
        </form>
 
        </body>
    </html>

You will get:

django_note_app
Django note taking app

 

 


One thought on “Django Tutorial: Building a note taking app

  1. Ggiraffe - November 6, 2015

    Thank you for your tutorial. I am totally new to Django. I have learnt a lot from your tutorial. Please kindly fix the following, so that your tutorial can help more people.

    When running “python manage.py syncdb”, I was asked to create a superuser, and I have to create one otherwise I cannot log in to admin page.
    You have installed Django’s auth system, and don’t have any superusers defined.
    Would you like to create one now? (yes/no):

    “We then update /mysite/mysite/admin.py to:”
    => “We then update /mysite/notes/admin.py to:”

    “Open /mysite/settings.py and add:”
    => “Open /mysite/mysite/settings.py and add:”

    TEMPLATES is used instead of TEMPLATE_DIRS starting from Django 1.8
    ‘DIRS’: [ os.path.join(BASE_DIR, “static”, “templates”), ],
    ** In fact, the TemplateDoesNotExist error caused by TEMPLATE_DIRS has bothered me for at least a couple of hours…

    “fields” has to be specified in a ModelForm’s Meta starting from Django 1.8
    fields = ( ‘text’, )
    or, fields = “__all__”