Storing settings in the database
Not all settings belong in settings.py, as it has some particular limitations:
- Settings are project-wide. This not only requires apps to clutter up settings.py, but also increases the chances of naming conflicts.
- Settings are constant throughout an instance of Django. They cannot be changed without restarting the application.
- Settings require a programmer in order to be changed. This is true even if the setting has no functional impact on anything else.
Many applications find need to overcome these limitations, and dbsettings provides a convenient way to do so.
The main goal in using this application is to define a set of placeholders that will be used to represent the settings that are stored in the database. Then, the settings may edited at run-time using the provided editor, and all Python code in your application that uses the setting will receive the updated value.
To install the dbsettings package, simply place it anywhere on your PYTHONPATH. Or, if you use virtualenv and pip you can do
In order to setup database storage, and to let Django know about your use of dbsettings, simply add it to your INSTALLED_APPS setting, like so:
INSTALLED_APPS = ( ... 'dbsettings', ... )
In order to edit your settings at run-time, you'll need to configure a URL to access the provided editors. You'll just need to add a single line, defining the base URL for the editors, as dbsettings has its own URLconf to handle the rest. You may choose any location you like:
urlpatterns = patterns('', ... (r'^settings/', include('dbsettings.urls')), ... )
A note about caching
This framework utilizes Django's built-in cache framework, which is used to minimize how often the database needs to be accessed. During development, Django's built-in server runs in a single process, so all cache backends will work just fine.
Most productions environments, including mod_python and FastCGI, run multiple processes, which some backends don't fully support. When using the simple or locmem backends, updates to your settings won't be reflected immediately, causing your application to ignore the new changes.
No other backends exhibit this behavior, but since simple is the default, make sure to specify a proper backend when moving to a production environment.
These database-backed settings can be applied to any model in any app, or even in the app itself. All the tools necessary to do so are available within the dbsettings module. A single import provides everything you'll need:
Defining a group of settings
Settings are be defined in groups that allow them to be referenced together under a single attribute. Defining a group uses a declarative syntax similar to that of models, by declaring a new subclass of the Group class and populating it with values.
class ImageLimits(dbsettings.Group): maximum_width = dbsettings.PositiveIntegerValue() maximum_height = dbsettings.PositiveIntegerValue()
You may name your groups anything you like, and they may be defined in any module. This allows them to be imported from common applications if applicable.
Defining individual settings
Within your groups, you may define any number of individual settings by simply assigning the value types to appropriate names. The names you assign them to will be the attribute names you'll use to reference the setting later, so be sure to choose names accordingly.
For the editor, the default description of each setting will be retrieved from the attribute name, similar to how the verbose_name of model fields is retrieved. Also like model fields, however, an optional argument may be provided to define a more fitting description. It's recommended to leave the first letter lower-case, as it will be capitalized as necessary, automatically.
class EmailOptions(dbsettings.Group): enabled = dbsettings.BooleanValue('whether to send emails or not') sender = dbsettings.StringValue('address to send emails from') subject = dbsettings.StringValue()
For more descriptive explanation, the help_text argument can be used. It will be shown in the editor.
The default argument is very useful - it specify an initial value of the setting.
In addition, settings may be supplied with a list of available options, through the use of of the choices argument. This works exactly like the choices argument for model fields, and that of the newforms ChoiceField.
A full list of value types is available later in this document, but the process and arguments are the same for each.
Once your settings are defined and grouped properly, they must be assigned to a location where they will be referenced later. This is as simple as instantiating the settings group in the appropriate location. This may be at the module level or within any standard Django model.
Group instance may receive one optional argument: verbose name of the group. This name will be displayed in the editor.
email = EmailOptions() class Image(models.Model): image = models.ImageField(upload_to='/upload/path') caption = models.TextField() limits = ImageLimits('Dimension settings')
Multiple groups may be assigned to the same module or model, and they can even be combined into a single group by using standard addition syntax:
options = EmailOptions() + ImageLimits()
To separate and tag settings nicely in the editor, use verbose names:
options = EmailOptions('Email') + ImageLimits('Dimesions')
A single model is provided for database storage, and this model must be installed in your database before you can use the included editors or the permissions that will be automatically created. This is a simple matter of running manage.py syncdb now that your settings are configured.
This step need only be repeate when settings are added to a new application, as it will create the appropriate permissions. Once those are in place, new settings may be added to existing applications with no impact on the database.
Using your settings
Once the above steps are completed, you're ready to make use of database-backed settings.
When first defined, your settings will default to None (or False in the case of BooleanValue), so their values must be set using one of the supplied editors before they can be considered useful (however, if the setting had the default argument passed in the constructor, its value is already useful - equal to the defined default).
The editor will be available at the URL configured earlier. For example, if you used the prefix of 'settings/', the URL /settings/ will provide an editor of all available settings, while /settings/myapp/ would contain a list of just the settings for myapp.
URL patterns are named: 'site_settings' and 'app_settings', respectively.
The editors are restricted to staff members, and the particular settings that will be available to users is based on permissions that are set for them. This means that superusers will automatically be able to edit all settings, while other staff members will need to have permissions set explicitly.
Accessing settings in Python
Once settings have been assigned to an appropriate location, they may be referenced as standard Python attributes. The group becomes an attribute of the location where it was assigned, and the individual values are attributes of the group.
If any settings are referenced without being set to a particular value, they will default to None (or False in the case of BooleanValue, or whatever was passed as default). In the following example, assume that EmailOptions were added to the project after the ImageLimits were already defined.
>>> from myproject.myapp import models # EmailOptions are not defined >>> models.options.enabled False >>> models.email.sender >>> models.email.subject # ImageLimits are defined >>> models.Image.limits.maximum_width 1024 >>> models.Image.limits.maximum_height 768
These settings are accessible from any Python code, making them especially useful in model methods and views. Each time the attribute is accessed, it will retrieve the current value, so your code doesn't need to worry about what happens behind the scenes.
def is_valid(self): if self.width > Image.limits.maximum_width: return False if self.height > Image.limits.maximum_height: return False return True
As mentioned, views can make use of these settings as well.
from myproject.myapp.models import email def submit(request): ... # Deal with a form submission ... if email.enabled: from django.core.mail import send_mail send_mail(email.subject, 'message', email.sender, [request.user.email])
A note about model instances
Since settings aren't related to individual model instances, any settings that are set on models may only be accessed by the model class itself. Attempting to access settings on an instance will raise an AttributeError.
There are several various value types available for database-backed settings. Select the one most appropriate for each individual setting, but all types use the same set of arguments.
Presents a checkbox in the editor, and returns True or False in Python.
Presents a set of inputs suitable for specifying a length of time. This is represented in Python as a timedelta_ object.
Presents a standard input field, which becomes a float in Python.
Presents a standard input field, which becomes an int in Python.
Similar to IntegerValue, but with a limit requiring that the value be between 0 and 100. In addition, when accessed in Python, the value will be divided by 100, so that it is immediately suitable for calculations.
For instance, if a myapp.taxes.sales_tax is set to 5, the following calculation would be valid:
>>> 5.00 * myapp.taxes.sales_tax 0.25
Similar to IntegerValue, but limited to positive values and 0.
Presents a standard input, accepting any text string up to 255 characters. In Python, the value is accessed as a standard string.
Presents a standard input field, which becomes a datetime in Python.
User input will be parsed according to DATETIME_INPUT_FORMATS setting.
In code, one can assign to field string or datetime object:
# These two statements has the same effect myapp.Feed.next_feed = '2012-06-01 00:00:00' myapp.Feed.next_feed = datetime.datetime(2012, 6, 1, 0, 0, 0)
Presents a standard input field, which becomes a date in Python.
User input will be parsed according to DATE_INPUT_FORMATS setting.
See DateTimeValue for the remark about assigning.
Presents a standard input field, which becomes a time in Python.
User input will be parsed according to TIME_INPUT_FORMATS setting.
See DateTimeValue for the remark about assigning.
Setting defaults for a distributed application
Distributed applications often have need for certain default settings that are useful for the common case, but which may be changed to suit individual installations. For such cases, a utility is provided to enable applications to set any applicable defaults.
Living at dbsettings.utils.set_defaults, this utility is designed to be used within the app's management.py. This way, when the application is installed using syncdb, the default settings will also be installed to the database.
The function requires a single positional argument, which is the models module for the application. Any additional arguments must represent the actual settings that will be installed. Each argument is a 3-tuple, of the following format: (class_name, setting_name, value).
If the value is intended for a module-level setting, simply set class_name to an empty string. The value for setting_name should be the name given to the setting itself, while the name assigned to the group isn't supplied, as it isn't used for storing the value.
For example, the following code in management.py would set defaults for some of the settings provided earlier in this document:
from django.conf import settings from dbsettings.utils import set_defaults from myproject.myapp import models as myapp set_defaults(myapp, ('', 'enabled', True) ('', 'sender', settings.ADMINS) # Email of the first listed admin ('Image', 'maximum_width', 800) ('Image', 'maximum_height', 600) )
- 0.5 (11/10/2012)
- Fixed error occuring when test are run with LANGUAGE_CODE different than 'en'
- Added verbose_name option for Groups
- Cleaned code
- 0.4.1 (02/10/2012)
- Fixed Image import
- 0.4 (30/09/2012)
- Named urls
- Added polish translation
- 0.3 (04/09/2012)
- Included testrunner in distribution
- 0.2 (05/07/2012)
- Fixed errors appearing when module-level and model-level settings have same attribute names
- Corrected the editor templates admin integration
- Updated README
- 0.1 (29/06/2012)
- Initial PyPI release