Uğur Özyılmazel — — Filed under development reading time: 4 minutes

How much do you care to write good Django code?

I’ve been having often conversations with fellow Djangonauts. I always ask one little question during the talk…

Have you ever read the Django’s “Writing code” article ?

I’ve been doing Django hire interviews lately. Before I criticize or start review the code, I always ask the question… Unfortunately, most of the developers are unaware of that document. They don’t even know if It exists.

If you navigate through the Contributing to Django page, you’ll see the Writing code section under the list items. Probably, most users never contrive to look at the docs unless they’re planning to contribute source code. Rules of writing Django code is already out there…

Coding style

If you click the link, you’ll navigate to coding style page in Django documentation. I’m skipping Python style part since you need to know that already!

Sorting imports

Document tells us to sort our import statements with isort.

$ python -m pip install isort
$ isort -rc .

More detailed information can ben found here. You can also integrate this with your code editing tool/ide etc. I mostly use this configuration:

line_length = 60
multi_line_output = 3
use_parentheses = true
include_trailing_comma = true
quiet = true
force_grid_wrap = 0
known_django = django

Small example after sort process:

import logging
from collections import Counter

from django.db import models, router, transaction
from django.db.models.deletion import Collector
from django.utils import timezone
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

from ..utils import console
from .signals import post_undelete, pre_undelete

When you integrate isort to your editor or maybe a git-hook, you don’t need to worry about the order of imports anymore…

import logging

from django.contrib.auth.models import (
from django.db import models
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

from baseapp.utils import save_file as custom_save_file

Also, sorting imports are explained very well in the Django docs:

# future
from __future__ import unicode_literals

# standard library
import json
from itertools import chain

# third-party
import bcrypt

# Django
from django.http import Http404
from django.http.response import (
    Http404, HttpResponse, HttpResponseNotAllowed, StreamingHttpResponse,

# local Django
from .models import LogEntry

# try/except
    import yaml
except ImportError:
    yaml = None

CONSTANT = 'foo'

class Example:
    # ...

What about models ?

Django model, represents a table in database and single entity of data. That’s why model name should be singular, not plural! If you want to store blog posts in a database, you must name It to Post not Posts. Also, model name is a Python Class. You must follow the naming convention of Python which is InitialCaps

Field names should be singular except ManyToMany or similar field types. Naming should be snake_case. There are good examples, DOes, DON’Ts in the docs page. Here is a good one:

from django.db import models

class Person(models.Model):
    first_name = models.CharField(max_length=20)
    last_name = models.CharField(max_length=40)

I’ve seen two most common behavior about relation models such as ForeignKey and MonyToMany fields.

Please use to='ModelName' convention

Fields takes kwargs and args. Most of the candidates did the same writing:

from django.db import models
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

from .models import Category

class Post(models.Model):
    category = models.ForeignKey(

Please define relation fields with using to keyword argument:

from django.db import models
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

class Post(models.Model):
    category = models.ForeignKey(

This helps in two ways:

  1. You are safe from circular import situation. You are free to import any model in anywhere…
  2. This is more pythonic and readable… We define all others such as on_delete, related_name why not showing which model is targeted ?

The order of model inner classes

Django docs tell:

  • All database fields
  • Custom manager attributes
  • class Meta
  • def __str__()
  • def save()
  • def get_absolute_url()
  • Any custom methods

Please follow the convention. Again, you are not writing code to contribute Django. You are writing code for your self, your company, your family, your anything… If there are some conventions, let’s follow them… Why ?

Convention over configuration

I heard this term for the first time from Ruby on Rails community. Let’s keep the conventions also in choices fields too:

If choices is defined for a given model field, define each choice as a list of tuples, with an all-uppercase name as a class attribute on the model


from django.db import models
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

class Post(models.Model):
        (STATUS_OFFLINE, _('Offline')),
        (STATUS_ONLINE, _('Online')),
        (STATUS_DELETED, _('Deleted')),
        (STATUS_DRAFT, _('Draft')),

Document also covers;

  • Template style
  • View style
  • Use of django.conf.settings

and few other miscellaneous information, please read It when you need It.

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