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Personal Notes

Table of Contents:

Getting Started

  • Ensure you have both Python and Django installed on your machine.
  • In order to create a new Django website, simply type the command: django-admin startproject projectname
  • Installing each package from requirements.txt without errors causing halt: requirements.txt | xargs -n 1 pip3 install
  • If having trouble with psycopg2 package: sudo apt-get install libpq-dev

Project vs. Apps

  • An average website has many components.
    • There's part of the website that covers events, part of it's a blog, and part of it is accounts letting people log in and out of the website.
  • In the Django world, the whole website is considered the project, and then the individual pieces are the apps.
    • Eg. If you want to modify the blog, you can dive specifically into the blog app and make that change without affecting anything else.
    • So with a Django web project, you want to create a specific app for each part of the website.
    • It's common practice to name apps with a pluarlity, eg. jobs instead of job.
  • To build specific apps within your existing project: django-admin startapp jobs

Database Management

Installation of PostgreSQL on Ubuntu:

# Create the file repository configuration:
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -cs)-pgdg main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list'

# Import the repository signing key:
wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -

# Update the package lists:
sudo apt-get update

# Install the latest version of PostgreSQL.
# If you want a specific version, use 'postgresql-12' or similar instead of 'postgresql':
sudo apt-get install postgresql

Install pgAdmin GUI:

$ wget --quiet -O - |
sudo apt-key add -
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb
`lsb_release -cs`-pgdg main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list'
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install pgadmin4 pgadmin4-apache2 -y
  • You can now start the database server using: pg_ctlcluster 12 main start
  • Access server from terminal: sudo -u postgres psql postgres
  • Add the password to the posgres superuser: ALTER USER postgres PASSWORD 'newPassword';
  • Create a new database in the server: CREATE DATABASE portfoliodb;
  • Create a new table with the server:CREATE TABLE jobs;
  • Create migrations from to PostgreSQL DB: python3 makemigrations
    • Whenever creating or modifiyng models, run command.
  • Apply migrations: python3 migrate
  • Optimize all complete migrations: python squashmigrations appname 000X, where X is the latest migration.

Accessing the DB via the terminal:

  • To view all of the defined databases on the server you can use the \list meta-command or its shortcut \l.
  • Often, when working with servers that manage multiple databases, you’ll find the need to jump between databases frequently.
    • This can be done with the \connect meta-command or its shortcut \c.
  • Once you’ve connected to a database, you will want to inspect which tables have been created there.
    • This can be done with the \dt meta-command. However, if there are no tables you will get no output.

Admin Dashboard

  • Access the Django Admin dashboard: localhost:8000/admin
    • Create admin user: python3 createsuperuser
  • Add static files to website: python3 collectstatic
    • Combines all the static files from each individual app into one place.

Deployment on DigitalOcean

  • Deployment on DigitalOcean for a Django/PostgreSQL/NGINX website is well documented here.
  • The only thing needed to be added is location /media/ in the file /etc/nginx/sites-avaiable/PROJECTNAME:
server {
    listen 80;
    server_name server_domain_or_IP;

    location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
    location /media/ {
        root /home/sammy/myprojectdir;
    location /static/ {
        root /home/sammy/myprojectdir;

    location / {
        include proxy_params;
        proxy_pass http://unix:/run/gunicorn.sock;
  • Installation of cert-bot to obtain encrpyted SSL is easy to install, guide here.
    • How to point DigitalOcean Nameservers guide here.

Deployment on Heroku

  • The Procfile requires two lines:
    • First, release: python migrate, to update the database with each push.
    • Second, using gunicorn to run the .wsgi file: web: gunicorn portfolio.wsgi
  • Creating a Django superuser on Heroku: heroku run -a appname python3 createsuperuser

Note: I recommend using DigitalOcean for deployment. The official documentation for connecting Heroku to S3 is pretty lacking, as it only deals with static assets, and not media files from a db for example, this guide is pretty good, but for some reason, whenever the Postgres db is successfully set, Heroku puts all files in /tmp or locally on the site instead of using S3.

AWS's Beanstalk has good documentation for Django, but requires troubleshooting for installing the pip package psycopg2 which is required for connecting with a Postgres db, this is a good solution for that.