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django-pgpubsub provides a framework for building an asynchronous and distributed message processing network on top of a Django application using a PostgreSQL database. This is achieved by leveraging Postgres' LISTEN/NOTIFY protocol to build a message queue at the database layer. The simple user-friendly interface, minimal infrastructural requirements and the ability to leverage Postgres' transactional behaviour to achieve exactly-once messaging, makes django-pgpubsub a solid choice as a lightweight alternative to AMPQ messaging services, such as Celery


Primary Authors


  • Minimal Operational Infrastructure: If you're already running a Django application on top of a Postgres database, the installation of this library is the sum total of the operational work required to implement a framework for a distributed message processing framework. No additional frameworks or technologies are required.

  • Integration with Postgres Triggers (via django-pgtrigger): To quote the official Postgres docs:

    "When NOTIFY is used to signal the occurrence of changes to a particular table, a useful programming technique is to put the NOTIFY in a statement trigger that is triggered by table updates. In this way, notification happens automatically when the table is changed, and the application programmer cannot accidentally forget to do it."

    By making use of the django-pgtrigger library, django-pgpubsub offers a Django application layer abstraction of the trigger-notify Postgres pattern. This allows developers to easily write python-callbacks which will be invoked (asynchronously) whenever a custom django-pgtrigger is invoked. Utilising a Postgres-trigger as the ground-zero for emitting a message based on a database table event is far more robust than relying on something at the application layer (for example, a post_save signal, which could easily be missed if the bulk_create method was used).

  • Lightweight Polling: we make use of the Postgres LISTEN/NOTIFY protocol to have achieve notification polling which uses no CPU and no database transactions unless there is a message to read.

  • Exactly-once notification processing: django-pgpubsub can be configured so that notifications are processed exactly once. This is achieved by storing a copy of each new notification in the database and mandating that a notification processor must obtain a postgres lock on that message before processing it. This allows us to have concurrent processes listening to the same message channel with the guarantee that no two channels will act on the same notification. Moreover, the use of Django's .select_for_update(skip_locked=True) method allows concurrent listeners to continue processing incoming messages without waiting for lock-release events from other listening processes.

  • Durability and Recovery: django-pgpubsub can be configured so that notifications are stored in the database before they're sent to be processed. This allows us to replay any notification which may have been missed by listening processes, for example in the event a notification was sent whilst the listening processes were down.

  • Atomicity: The Postgres NOTIFY protocol respects the atomicity of the transaction in which it is invoked. The result of this is that any notifications sent using django-pgpubsub will be sent if and only if the transaction in which it sent is successfully committed to the database.

Quick start


Before using this library, you must be running Django 2.2 (or later) on top of a (single) PostgreSQL 11 (or later) database.


pip install django-pgpubsub

django-pgpubsub ships with a Notification model. This table must be added to the app's database via the usual django migrate command. We should also add pgpubsub and pgtrigger into INSTALLED_APPS. Additionally, if we wish to run the pgpubsub tests, we need to add pgpubsub.tests into INSTALLED_APPS too.

Minimal Example

Let's get a brief overview of how to use pgpubsub to asynchronously create a Post row whenever an Author row is inserted into the database. For this example, our notifying event will come from a postgres trigger, but this is not a requirement for all notifying events. A more detailed version of this example, and an example which does not use a postgres trigger, can be found in the Documentation (by Example) section below.

Define a Channel

Channels are the medium through which we send notifications. We define our channel in our app's file as a dataclass as follows:

from dataclasses import dataclass

from import TriggerChannel
from pgpubsub.tests.models import Author

class AuthorTriggerChannel(TriggerChannel):
    model = Author

Define a Listener

A listener is the function which processes notifications sent through a channel. We define our listener in our app's file as follows:

import datetime

import pgpubsub
from pgpubsub.tests.channels import AuthorTriggerChannel
from pgpubsub.tests.models import Author, Post

def create_first_post_for_author(old: Author, new: Author):
    print(f'Creating first post for {}')
        content='Welcome! This is your first post',,

Note that since AuthorTriggerChannel is a trigger-based channel, we need to perform a migrate command after first defining the above listener so as to install the underlying trigger in the database.

Finally, we must also ensure that this module is imported into the app's config class. In this example, our app is calls "tests":

# tests/
from django.apps import AppConfig

class TestsConfig(AppConfig):
    name = 'tests'

    def ready(self):
        import pgpubsub.tests.listeners

Start Listening

To have our listener function listen for notifications on the AuthorTriggerChannel, we use the listen management command:

./ listen

Now whenever an Author is inserted into our database, our listener process creates a Post object referencing that Author:

Live Demos

bulk_create over several processes

In the below example we show how pgpubsub handles a bulk creation of Author objects when several processes are listening to the AuthorTriggerChannel channel. For the sake of the below demonstration, we added a time.sleep(3) statement into the create_first_post_for_author listener function. Note how only one processes is able to process any given notification:


A distributed task processing framework for Django built on top of the Postgres NOTIFY/LISTEN protocol.








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