Tips and extra

This section contains miscellaneous tips and extras that don’t warrant a full guide or don’t fit elsewhere.

Understanding django Settings

If there is a setting in or elsewhere that you don’t understand, go to the official django settings reference page and press Ctrl + F to search for it. I find this faster than using the search box on the Django documentation site.

Create superuser from environment variables

You can easily create a Django superuser using environment variables. This is a convenient option of the createsuperuser command, and works with the --no-input flag. This is especially useful for creating a superuser without being prompted, for example as part of your production server setup process. For more details on this, read the createsuperuser command documentation.

In your OS environment variables or a .env file

You can set these environment variables on your local computer to easily create the same superuser with the same credentials for all your projects for your development needs.

Create a superuser
python createsuperuser --no-input

Local email testing

If you’re seeking a local SMTP client with a nice user interface for email testing, I suggest using mailpit. To integrate it into your project, you’ll need to modify your as follows:
EMAIL_BACKEND = "django.core.mail.backends.smtp.EmailBackend",
EMAIL_HOST = "localhost"

Lifecycle not signals

I’ve come to fall in love with django-lifecycle and their approach to hooking into your Django objects’ lifecycle. Traditionally, the way of dealing with this in Django is using signals. Even though there is a lot of criticism on using signals in the community, I think they can be particularly useful in certain scenarios (e.g: implementing a plugin system). However, one scenario where they are not beneficial in my humble opinion is in organizing business logic. In such cases, I personally favor django-lifecycle because it follows the django fat models approach (essentially business logic in models).

Here is an example of using django-lifecycle straight from their README:

from django_lifecycle import LifecycleModel, hook, BEFORE_UPDATE, AFTER_UPDATE

class Article(LifecycleModel):
    contents = models.TextField()
    updated_at = models.DateTimeField(null=True)
    status = models.ChoiceField(choices=['draft', 'published'])
    editor = models.ForeignKey(AuthUser)

    @hook(BEFORE_UPDATE, when='contents', has_changed=True)
    def on_content_change(self):
        self.updated_at =

    @hook(AFTER_UPDATE, when="status", was="draft", is_now="published")
    def on_publish(self):
        send_email(, "An article has published!")

Better user personal info fields

Instead of using first_name and last_name when requesting personal information from your users, consider using full_name and short_name. These two fields can accommodate almost all naming patterns in the world, unlike the first two. If you want more details on why, watch this. One thing I would add is that if your target audience is very narrow, geographically based, and unlikely to change or expand, then use whatever makes sense for them, even first_name and last_name.

Type Hinting

These days, I hardly write Django projects without implementing some level of type hinting. However, resources on this topic specific to Django are quite rare. A good starting point is the FAQ section of the django-stubs README. It provides sufficient information to navigate through most common use cases. Since I don’t overuse type hinting, I find it more than enough.

Generate admin

django-extensions has become a must-have in all of my projects, and one of my favorite features is the admin-generator command. It generates code for your file based on your models. Here’s how to use it:

python admin_generator your_app | tail -n +2 > your_project/your_app/


The tail -n +2 part is used to remove the first line of the generated file. This line, # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-, sets the file encoding. However, it’s largely unnecessary these days, unless you’re coding in Python 2, which I sincerely hope is not the case.

As a hatch script

admin = "python admin_generator {args} | tail -n +2 > your_project/{args}/"

Auto Fill forms

Manually filling out forms during development can become annoying quickly, checkout fakefiller.

Find Path Declaration for a View

Sometimes, you might need to find the path associated with a specific view. Instead of navigating to your file and searching for the view (for example, using CTRL + F), there’s a simpler and faster method. You can use the common jump to usage/jump to declaration feature available in most IDEs. In PyCharm, for instance, it’s CTRL + B.

This technique enables you to jump directly to the usage of the view. Since you typically use the function only once and that’s usually in your, it will lead you directly to the associated path. This tip might seem obvious to some, but it took me a while to figure it out. So, I’m sharing it for those who might not be aware of this.