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A demonstration project built using the Armstrong project in the lead up to SXSWi 2012


This is development level software. Please do not unless you are familiar with what that means and are comfortable using that type of software.


git checkout git://
cd sxswarmstrong_demo
pip install -r requirements/project.txt
armstrong runserver
< point a browser at http://localhost:8000/ >


This demo exposes the following:

  • Article model with publication workflow
  • Taxonomy with Sections
  • Orderable and Schedulable content display through Wells
  • Flexible layout using the arm_layour module's render_model mechanism
  • Usage of the related_content app to associate arbitrary content
  • Integration with django's admin application


Armstrong provides an Article model that should meet the needs of most news organizations. All content models have a pub_status and a pub_date that determine when an Article should begin to show up on the site. The pub_status field allows Articles to be placed in Draft, Edit, Published or Trash status. Only when an Article has a pub_status of Published and a pub_date in the past does it show up on the site.

In the admin interface (example: http://localhost:8000/admin/articles/article/29/), Armstrong provides a rich text editor for editing HTML stories. The taxonomy section determines in what portions of a site that an Article will be listed. The author information section governs the byline of stories allowing for easily overriding or appending additional information to the authors list.


The section system in Armstrong allows for the creation of a heirarchy of logical content groupings. Armstrong's section system works out of the box with ForeignKey relations and ManyToMany relations in the database, but utilizes a flexible backend system for alternate methods like a solr backed system.


The layout application keeps templates logically simple and provides a very powerful abstraction for displaying different types of content. In many news sites templates end up having large amounts of type checking logic to display different content differently. Armstrong simplifies templates by automatically choosing a different template for different content types.

Inside the article.html template, there is an example of using the render_model tag to display a piece of related content. On http://localhost:8000/article/peyton_manning_released_form_colts/ the content is a School model from a data app (apps.schools in the project). The layout chosen is templates/schools/school/interstitial.html, but if instead of a school it was and image, render_model would have chosen templates/images/image/interstitial.html.


Not all content is created equal, and some of it deserves extra promotion. When editors want to reorder content on the site or schedule a big story in the lead spot for the next morning they use the Wells system in Armstrong.

The front page of the site is a QuerySetbackedWellView, which consists of a few pieces of manually placed content at the top while the remainder of the page just pulls the latest stories in reverse ordering by published date. Since the layout application allows for the display of any type of content, as long as a template is provided, the Well system was designed to allow for the positioning of any type of object.

The admin interface for choosing and ordering the content is one of the strengths of the system. We incorporated the faceting features of DocumentCloud's VisualSearch tool to make quickly finding content easy. Navigate to http://localhost:8000/admin/arm_wells/well/2/ to see the admin in action. Searching for content starts with choosing the type of content that you want to position in the well. After choosing Article, you can search for words in the title of articles.

Related Content

The related content framework in Armstrong allows for relating arbitrary content. In the layout section, we looked at http://localhost:8000/article/peyton_manning_released_form_colts/ which has a School object associated with. The school object doesn't inherit from Content or any other Armstrong model, so integrating news apps with Articles becomes simple for editorial and straightforward for designers.


Copyright 2011 Bay Citizen and Texas Tribune

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.