Set up the Django admin site
The Django admin site provides a
web based interface to access the database connected to a Django
project. Even for experienced technical administrators, doing
database CRUD (Create-Read-Update-Delete) operations directly on a
database can be difficult and time consuming, given the need to
issue raw SQL commands and navigate database structures. For
non-technical users, doing database CRUD operations directly on a
database can be daunting, if not impossible. The Django admin site
fixes this problem.
The Django admin site can expose
all Django project related data structures linked to a database, so
it's easy for experts and novices alike to perform database CRUD
operations. As a Django project grows, the Django admin site can be
a vital tool to administer the growing body of information in the
database connected to a Django project.
The Django admin site is built as
a Django app, this means the only thing you need to do to set up
the Django admin site is configure and install the app as any other
Django app. If you're unfamiliar with the term Django app, read the
previous section 'Set up content: Understand urls, templates and apps'.
The Django admin site requires
that you previously configure a database and also install the
Django base tables. So if you still haven't done this, see the
prior section 'Set up a database for a Django project'.
Configure and install the Django admin site app
By default, the Django admin is
enabled on all Django projects. If you open a Django project's
urls.py file, in the
you'll see the line
This last regular expression pattern tells Django to enable the
admin site app on the
/admin url directory (e.g.
Next, if you open the project's
settings.py file and go to the
INSTALLED_APPS variable. Near the top of this variable
you'll see the line
indicates the Django admin site app is enabled.
Start the development web server
python manage.py runserver on Django's
BASE_DIR. Open a browser on the Django admin site
http://127.0.0.1:8000/admin/. You'll see a login screen
like the one in Figure 1-5.
Figure 1-5. Django admin site login
Next, let's create a Django
superuser or administrator to access the Django admin via the
interface in Figure 1-5. To create a Django superuser you can use
createsuperuser command from
manage.py as illustrated in listing 1-22.
Listing 1-22. Create Django superuser for admin interface
[user@coffeehouse ~]$ python manage.py createsuperuser
Username (leave blank to use 'admin'):
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The password is too similar to the email address.
This password is too short. It must contain at least 8 characters.
This password is too common.
Superuser created successfully.
Caution If you receive the error
OperationalError - no such table: auth_user, this
means the database for a Django project is still not setup
properly. You'll need to run
python manage.py migrate
in a project's BASE_DIR so Django creates the necessary tables to
keep track of users. See the previous section ''Set up a database for
a Django project' for more details.
Tip By default, Django enforces user passwords comply with a minimum level of
security. For example, in listing 1-22 you can see that after
attempting to use the password coffee, Django rejects the
assignment with a series of error messages and forces a new
attempt. You can modify these password validation rules in the
AUTH_PASSWORD_VALIDATORS variable in
This last process creates a
superuser whose information is stored in the database connected to
the Django project, specifically in the
table. Now you might be asking yourself, how do you update this
user's name, password or email ? While you could go straight to the
database table and perform updates, this is a tortuous route, a
better approach is to rely on the Django admin which gives you a
very friendly view into the database tables present in your Django
Next, introduce the superuser
username and password you just created into the interface from
figure 1-5. Once you provide the superuser username and password on
the admin site, you'll access the home page for the admin site
illustrated in figure 1-6.
Figure 1-6.- Django admin site home page
On the home page of the Django
admin site illustrated in figure 1-6, click on the 'Users' link.
You'll see a list of users with access to the Django project. At
the moment, you'll only see the superuser you created in the past
step. You can change this user's credentials (e.g. password, email,
username) or add new users directly from this Django admin site
This flexibility to modify or add
records stored in a database that's tied to a Django project is
what makes the Django admin site so powerful. For example, if you
develop a coffeehouse project and add apps like stores, drinks or
customers, Django admin authorized users can do CRUD operations on
these objects (e.g. create stores, update drinks, delete
customers). This is tremendously powerful from a content management
point of view, particularly for non-technical users. And most
importantly it requires little to no additional development work to
enable the Django admin site on a project's apps.
The Django admin site tasks
presented here are just the 'tip of the iceberg' in functionality,
a future chapter covers the Django admin site functionality in
Configure and install the Django admin site docs app
The Django admin site also has
its own documentation app. The Django admin site documentation app
not only provides information about the operation of the admin site
itself, but also includes other general documentation about Django
filters for Django templates. More importantly, the Django admin
site documentation app introspects the source code for all
installed project apps to present documentation on controller
methods and model objects (i.e. documentation embedded in the
source code of app
To install the Django admin site
documentation app you first need to install the docutils Python
package with the pip package manager executing the following
pip install docutils. Once you install the
docutils package, you can proceed to install the Django admin site
documentation app as any other Django app.
Add the url to access the Django
admin site documentation app. If you open the project's
urls.py file, in the
add the following line:
Ensure you add this before the
url(r'^admin/'... line to keep more general matching
expressions toward the bottom and more granular expressions on the
same url path (e.g.
/admin) toward the top. This last
regular expression pattern tells Django to enable the admin site
documentation app on the /admin/doc/ url directory
Next, open the project's
settings.py file and go to the
INSTALLED_APPS variable. Near the final values in this
variable add the line
enable the Django admin site documentation app.
With the development web server
running. Open a browser on the address
http://127.0.0.1:8000/admin/doc/ and you should see a page
like the one in figure 1-7.
Figure 1-7.- Django admin site doc home page
If you logged off the Django
admin site, you'll need to login again to access the documentation
since it also requires user authentication. Once you login, you'll
be able to see the documentation home page for the Django admin
site -- illustrated in figure 1-7 -- as well as the documentation
on a project's controller methods and model objects.