An empty Django project for cloning, instead of using startproject.
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This is my personal Django skeleton project. It's not necessarily going to look exactly how you might lay out your own Django projects, it's just how I lay out mine.

First, I recommend using pip and virtualenv to manage your dependencies. It may seem like a headache at first, but it's honestly less of a headache than installing things globally since your OS provider may put packages in the global space that conflict with packages you wish to use in your project space. I have included a requirements.txt file that details all of the project requirements, which can be installed automatically in pip using pip install -r requirements.txt. pip won't cache downloaded packages automatically, but you can specify a local cache directory by exporting a PIP_DOWNLOAD_CACHE environment variable. I strongly recommend adding export PIP_DOWNLOAD_CACHE=$HOME/.pip_cache or something similar to your .bashrc to speed up the creation of similar virtual environments.

I am also a fan of virtualenvwrapper for centralizing my virtual environments and project files. It's a big help, especially since you can add hooks to it. In a nutshell it allows you to specify two directories: one for storing virtual environments, the other for storing projects. When you say mkvirtualenv it creates your environment in your preconfigured environment directory. You can then say lsvirtualenvs to get a list of environments, rmvirtualenv to remove an environment by name, and workon to activate an environment by name instead of having to source the activation script manually or create your own alias every time you make a new environment (which is what I was doing in the past). The really useful thing is that it includes a mkproject function that will make a virtual environment and a project directory, that way when you say workon my_project it will activate the environment and navigate there at the same time. It has bash completion as well, so you can type workon at your command line and hit tab a few times to see which projects are on your system and what their names are. So cool! It also has hooks that will let you run arbitrary code when activating or deactivating an environment without having to modify the bin/activate script in your environment itself. Of course, with the proper shebang your hook scripts can be written in Python instead of bash/zsh/whatever.

The way I have my project configured is a bit unconventional, and I don't think it will work out of box on Windows machines (sorry). Essentially what I do is create a conf directory at the root of the project. Within this directory there are subdirectories that each represent a host or group of hosts. The in particular uses conf/base/ to define the settings that are common to all hosts, which can then (actually must) be extended. A basic localhost setup is illustrated in conf/local/ using sqlite, which I find good enough for localhost development and quickly messing around.

I put all of my project settings into the repository so that every host's settings are versioned, and then manage which settings file is active using a symbolic link. The repository starts out with a symlink to conf/local/, which gives you baseline settings that will work out of box.

The "welcome" page has been moved into the project itself so that the way Django routes URLs is more apparent. It's a bit weird that the default Django project has a welcome page that comes from a completely different area on your system. Putting the welcome page into the project makes Django's request-handling process a bit more transparent for first-timers.

One thing that I haven't done is linked in the admin media yet, but that's because that's a per-host thing. For localhost development I just use the Django development server, which will serve up the admin media directly, and for servers I symlink in the admin media.

Apps are put in their own apps directory, just to make things tidy, and the base settings file adds this directory to the python path at runtime. You can see in conf/base/ how the main app is referenced.

There's an additional command in apps/main/management/commands/ that serves to illustrate how you can write your own commands and, more importantly, to regenerate the SECRET_KEY found in your conf/base/ file. Be sure to run this command to generate a unique SECRET_KEY. You can do so by typing ./ new_secret at the project root.

I've also included a, which is used to create tasks for Fabric, a library for managing SSH deployment. I don't generally condone using the from modulename import * syntax since it makes it very non-obvious where things are coming from, but it made it possible to dynamically create connection functions at runtime, which are generated based on host configurations. There's a sample configuration included in conf/dev/ that would show how you would, in theory, add a remote host configuration for a server called dev. If you fill that in with some real host details you'll be able to fab dev uname to use the included uname task. All it does it print out some info about the system, but it's enough to illustrate how to create Fabric tasks and test your host configuration. Unfortunately Fabric does not currently read your settings in ~/.ssh/config, so you may have to repeat them.

I personally add a little chunk of code to my .bashrc to create a mkdjango function, which will create a virtual environment of the same name, create a project directory, clone this skeleton into that directory, regenerate the SECRET_KEY, remove this README, install all of the requirements to the virtualenv via pip, run syncdb to create a developmentdatabase, and fire up the application, all in one command. Requires pip, virtualenv, and virtualenvwrapper to work properly. Here is my mkdjango function:

mkdjango () {
    mkproject --no-site-packages --prompt=$1: $1 &&
    git init &&
    git pull git:// master &&
    rm README.markdown &&
    pip install -r requirements.txt &&
    ./ new_secret &&
    ./ syncdb &&
    ./ runserver

With that in my ~/.bashrc, all I have to say is mkdjango some_project_name and I'm ready to rock.