A cloud-native python, django, and cloudfoundry seed app
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GeekNews (GN)

GN is a cloud-native app template (seed) masquerading as a simple social news site and an homage to HackerNews. GN includes:

  • python3+django1.7 web app foundation
  • basic templates for class based views and user interactions
  • user registration process incl. TOS acceptance step
  • user profiles & account maintenance
  • integrated local & remote devops workflow
  • ready to scale to real world needs out of the box (via CloudFoundry)

Cloud Native / 12-factor

A few things are involved to make a traditional python/django based web application cloud-native & following some key 12-factor requirements, starting with the following:

  • Use environment variables for settings rather than files

Related to this - django settings.py relies on a dict/object to hold a couple different segments of database information, i.e., ENGINE, NAME, etc. CloudFoundry provides a single database connection string as a session variable. To enable djagno to instantiate its own objects this way, we'll use the dj-database-url package which will allow us to specific the database connection string (in a .env file for local development or at command line) and ensure our django app consumes it rather than the dict/object in settings.py.

  • Figure out how you want to handle your static files

I took a shortcut here and equipped gunicorn to serve them for simplicity whitenoise.

  • Get your workflow refined so you don't need to deploy to CF every time you want to see changes - but maintain environment parity (close as possible)

The heart of this is foreman (or if you'd rather stick to all python, honcho).

Get Started

Run locally with foreman and deploy when you need to. Foreman locally approximates what happens in production CloudFoundry by enabling environment variables and providing Procfile-based services orchestration. Your 'Procfile' contains your production process list and 'Procfile.dev' is what you'll use for development (e.g., replacing a gunicorn run with manage.py runserver). To run foreman with a specific Procfile including the -f switch. Store all environment variables (e.g., DATABASE_URL, DEBUG, etc) in a file named .env in the same directory as your Procfiles and foreman will read it prior to spooling up processes.


  1. Install postgres, create database called "gn_db" owned by the user "django" with password "django". You could of course use a different provider/info but you'll need to revise the DATABASE_URL accordingly.
  2. Setup your virtualenv
$ python3 -m virtualenv --no-site-packages --distribute venv
$ source venv/bin/activate
$ pip3 install -r requirements.txt

In your .env file:


And start your local environment with:

$ foreman start -f Procfile.dev

Deploying To Pivotal CloudFoundry


  1. Get yourself a PivotalWS account at run.pivotal.io
  2. Get the CloudFoundry CLI (i.e., $ brew tap pivotal/tap && brew install cloudfoundry-cli)
  3. Setup a space or use the default space within your CF account
  4. Authenticate your cli (i.e., $ cf login)
  5. Review your application's manifest looks correct (i.e., cat manifest.yml)


  1. Create your PostgresDB instance on the free tier of the marketplace's provider (i.e., $ cf create-service elephantsql turtle gn_db)
  2. Create the app droplet and initiate the database (i.e., $ cf push gn --no-route -c "bash ./init_db.sh")
  3. Push the app propertly which creates routes & starts normally (i.e., $ cf push gn)

We should be all set up & running and available the the URL provided by CloudFoundry (which you can see with a $ cf app gn). You can tail logs with $ cf logs gn for debugging or $ cf logs gn --recent for a snapshot. And of course scale as needed $ cf scale gn -i 3.


Thomas Willey


Open sourced under the MIT license.


  • SSL
  • Enable live emails (currently emails only display in term/logs)
  • More with CF environment variables

Reference & Further Reading