Django documentation

Writing your first patch for Django

Introduction

Interested in giving back to the community a little? Maybe you’ve found a bug in Django that you’d like to see fixed, or maybe there’s a small feature you want added.

Contributing back to Django itself is the best way to see your own concerns addressed. This may seem daunting at first, but it’s really pretty simple. We’ll walk you through the entire process, so you can learn by example.

Who’s this tutorial for?

For this tutorial, we expect that you have at least a basic understanding of how Django works. This means you should be comfortable going through the existing tutorials on writing your first Django app. In addition, you should have a good understanding of Python itself. But if you don’t, “Dive Into Python” (for Python 2, for Python 3) is a fantastic (and free) online book for beginning Python programmers.

Those of you who are unfamiliar with version control systems and Trac will find that this tutorial and its links include just enough information to get started. However, you’ll probably want to read some more about these different tools if you plan on contributing to Django regularly.

For the most part though, this tutorial tries to explain as much as possible, so that it can be of use to the widest audience.

Where to get help:

If you’re having trouble going through this tutorial, please post a message to django-developers or drop by #django-dev on irc.freenode.net to chat with other Django users who might be able to help.

What does this tutorial cover?

We’ll be walking you through contributing a patch to Django for the first time. By the end of this tutorial, you should have a basic understanding of both the tools and the processes involved. Specifically, we’ll be covering the following:

  • Installing Git.
  • How to download a development copy of Django.
  • Running Django’s test suite.
  • Writing a test for your patch.
  • Writing the code for your patch.
  • Testing your patch.
  • Generating a patch file for your changes.
  • Where to look for more information.

Once you’re done with the tutorial, you can look through the rest of Django’s documentation on contributing. It contains lots of great information and is a must read for anyone who’d like to become a regular contributor to Django. If you’ve got questions, it’s probably got the answers.

Installing Git

For this tutorial, you’ll need Git installed to download the current development version of Django and to generate patch files for the changes you make.

To check whether or not you have Git installed, enter git into the command line. If you get messages saying that this command could be found, you’ll have to download and install it, see Git’s download page.

If you’re not that familiar with Git, you can always find out more about its commands (once it’s installed) by typing git help into the command line.

Getting a copy of Django’s development version

The first step to contributing to Django is to get a copy of the source code. From the command line, use the cd command to navigate to the directory where you’ll want your local copy of Django to live.

Download the Django source code repository using the following command:

git clone https://github.com/django/django.git

Note

For users who wish to use virtualenv, you can use:

pip install -e /path/to/your/local/clone/django/

(where django is the directory of your clone that contains setup.py) to link your cloned checkout into a virtual environment. This is a great option to isolate your development copy of Django from the rest of your system and avoids potential package conflicts.

Rolling back to a previous revision of Django

For this tutorial, we’ll be using ticket #17549 as a case study, so we’ll rewind Django’s version history in git to before that ticket’s patch was applied. This will allow us to go through all of the steps involved in writing that patch from scratch, including running Django’s test suite.

Keep in mind that while we’ll be using an older revision of Django’s trunk for the purposes of the tutorial below, you should always use the current development revision of Django when working on your own patch for a ticket!

Note

The patch for this ticket was written by Ulrich Petri, and it was applied to Django as commit ac2052ebc84c45709ab5f0f25e685bf656ce79bc. Consequently, we’ll be using the revision of Django just prior to that, commit 39f5bc7fc3a4bb43ed8a1358b17fe0521a1a63ac.

Navigate into Django’s root directory (that’s the one that contains django, docs, tests, AUTHORS, etc.). You can then check out the older revision of Django that we’ll be using in the tutorial below:

git checkout 39f5bc7fc3a4bb43ed8a1358b17fe0521a1a63ac

Running Django’s test suite for the first time

When contributing to Django it’s very important that your code changes don’t introduce bugs into other areas of Django. One way to check that Django still works after you make your changes is by running Django’s test suite. If all the tests still pass, then you can be reasonably sure that your changes haven’t completely broken Django. If you’ve never run Django’s test suite before, it’s a good idea to run it once beforehand just to get familiar with what its output is supposed to look like.

We can run the test suite by simply cd-ing into the Django tests/ directory and, if you’re using GNU/Linux, Mac OS X or some other flavor of Unix, run:

PYTHONPATH=.. python runtests.py --settings=test_sqlite

If you’re on Windows, the above should work provided that you are using “Git Bash” provided by the default Git install. GitHub has a nice tutorial.

Note

If you’re using virtualenv, you can omit PYTHONPATH=.. when running the tests. This instructs Python to look for Django in the parent directory of tests. virtualenv puts your copy of Django on the PYTHONPATH automatically.

Now sit back and relax. Django’s entire test suite has over 4800 different tests, so it can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to run, depending on the speed of your computer.

While Django’s test suite is running, you’ll see a stream of characters representing the status of each test as it’s run. E indicates that an error was raised during a test, and F indicates that a test’s assertions failed. Both of these are considered to be test failures. Meanwhile, x and s indicated expected failures and skipped tests, respectively. Dots indicate passing tests.

Skipped tests are typically due to missing external libraries required to run the test; see Running all the tests for a list of dependencies and be sure to install any for tests related to the changes you are making (we won’t need any for this tutorial).

Once the tests complete, you should be greeted with a message informing you whether the test suite passed or failed. Since you haven’t yet made any changes to Django’s code, the entire test suite should pass. If you get failures or errors make sure you’ve followed all of the previous steps properly. See Running the unit tests for more information.

Note that the latest Django trunk may not always be stable. When developing against trunk, you can check Django’s continuous integration builds to determine if the failures are specific to your machine or if they are also present in Django’s official builds. If you click to view a particular build, you can view the “Configuration Matrix” which shows failures broken down by Python version and database backend.

Note

For this tutorial and the ticket we’re working on, testing against SQLite is sufficient, however, it’s possible (and sometimes necessary) to run the tests using a different database.

Writing some tests for your ticket

In most cases, for a patch to be accepted into Django it has to include tests. For bug fix patches, this means writing a regression test to ensure that the bug is never reintroduced into Django later on. A regression test should be written in such a way that it will fail while the bug still exists and pass once the bug has been fixed. For patches containing new features, you’ll need to include tests which ensure that the new features are working correctly. They too should fail when the new feature is not present, and then pass once it has been implemented.

A good way to do this is to write your new tests first, before making any changes to the code. This style of development is called test-driven development and can be applied to both entire projects and single patches. After writing your tests, you then run them to make sure that they do indeed fail (since you haven’t fixed that bug or added that feature yet). If your new tests don’t fail, you’ll need to fix them so that they do. After all, a regression test that passes regardless of whether a bug is present is not very helpful at preventing that bug from reoccurring down the road.

Now for our hands-on example.

Writing some tests for ticket #17549

Ticket #17549 describes the following, small feature addition:

It’s useful for URLField to give you a way to open the URL; otherwise you might as well use a CharField.

In order to resolve this ticket, we’ll add a render method to the AdminURLFieldWidget in order to display a clickable link above the input widget. Before we make those changes though, we’re going to write a couple tests to verify that our modification functions correctly and continues to function correctly in the future.

Navigate to Django’s tests/regressiontests/admin_widgets/ folder and open the tests.py file. Add the following code on line 269 right before the AdminFileWidgetTest class:

class AdminURLWidgetTest(DjangoTestCase):
    def test_render(self):
        w = widgets.AdminURLFieldWidget()
        self.assertHTMLEqual(
            conditional_escape(w.render('test', '')),
            '<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" />'
        )
        self.assertHTMLEqual(
            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example.com')),
            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://example.com">http://example.com</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example.com" /></p>'
        )

    def test_render_idn(self):
        w = widgets.AdminURLFieldWidget()
        self.assertHTMLEqual(
            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example-äüö.com')),
            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://xn--example--7za4pnc.com">http://example-äüö.com</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example-äüö.com" /></p>'
        )

    def test_render_quoting(self):
        w = widgets.AdminURLFieldWidget()
        self.assertHTMLEqual(
            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>')),
            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://example.com/%3Csometag%3Esome%20text%3C/sometag%3E">http://example.com/&lt;sometag&gt;some text&lt;/sometag&gt;</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>" /></p>'
        )
        self.assertHTMLEqual(
            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example-äüö.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>')),
            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://xn--example--7za4pnc.com/%3Csometag%3Esome%20text%3C/sometag%3E">http://example-äüö.com/&lt;sometag&gt;some text&lt;/sometag&gt;</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example-äüö.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>" /></p>'
        )

The new tests check to see that the render method we’ll be adding works correctly in a couple different situations.

But this testing thing looks kinda hard...

If you’ve never had to deal with tests before, they can look a little hard to write at first glance. Fortunately, testing is a very big subject in computer programming, so there’s lots of information out there:

Running your new test

Remember that we haven’t actually made any modifications to AdminURLFieldWidget yet, so our tests are going to fail. Let’s run all the tests in the model_forms_regress folder to make sure that’s really what happens. From the command line, cd into the Django tests/ directory and run:

PYTHONPATH=.. python runtests.py --settings=test_sqlite admin_widgets

If the tests ran correctly, you should see three failures corresponding to each of the test methods we added. If all of the tests passed, then you’ll want to make sure that you added the new test shown above to the appropriate folder and class.

Writing the code for your ticket

Next we’ll be adding the functionality described in ticket #17549 to Django.

Writing the code for ticket #17549

Navigate to the django/django/contrib/admin/ folder and open the widgets.py file. Find the AdminURLFieldWidget class on line 302 and add the following render method after the existing __init__ method:

def render(self, name, value, attrs=None):
    html = super(AdminURLFieldWidget, self).render(name, value, attrs)
    if value:
        value = force_text(self._format_value(value))
        final_attrs = {'href': mark_safe(smart_urlquote(value))}
        html = format_html(
            '<p class="url">{0} <a {1}>{2}</a><br />{3} {4}</p>',
            _('Currently:'), flatatt(final_attrs), value,
            _('Change:'), html
        )
    return html

Verifying your test now passes

Once you’re done modifying Django, we need to make sure that the tests we wrote earlier pass, so we can see whether the code we wrote above is working correctly. To run the tests in the admin_widgets folder, cd into the Django tests/ directory and run:

PYTHONPATH=.. python runtests.py --settings=test_sqlite admin_widgets

Oops, good thing we wrote those tests! You should still see 3 failures with the following exception:

NameError: global name 'smart_urlquote' is not defined

We forgot to add the import for that method. Go ahead and add the smart_urlquote import at the end of line 13 of django/contrib/admin/widgets.py so it looks as follows:

from django.utils.html import escape, format_html, format_html_join, smart_urlquote

Re-run the tests and everything should pass. If it doesn’t, make sure you correctly modified the AdminURLFieldWidget class as shown above and copied the new tests correctly.

Running Django’s test suite for the second time

Once you’ve verified that your patch and your test are working correctly, it’s a good idea to run the entire Django test suite just to verify that your change hasn’t introduced any bugs into other areas of Django. While successfully passing the entire test suite doesn’t guarantee your code is bug free, it does help identify many bugs and regressions that might otherwise go unnoticed.

To run the entire Django test suite, cd into the Django tests/ directory and run:

PYTHONPATH=.. python runtests.py --settings=test_sqlite

As long as you don’t see any failures, you’re good to go. Note that this fix also made a small CSS change to format the new widget. You can make the change if you’d like, but we’ll skip it for now in the interest of brevity.

Writing Documentation

This is a new feature, so it should be documented. Add the following on line 925 of django/docs/ref/models/fields.txt beneath the existing docs for URLField:

.. versionadded:: 1.5

    The current value of the field will be displayed as a clickable link above the
    input widget.

For more information on writing documentation, including an explanation of what the versionadded bit is all about, see Writing documentation. That page also includes an explanation of how to build a copy of the documentation locally, so you can preview the HTML that will be generated.

Generating a patch for your changes

Now it’s time to generate a patch file that can be uploaded to Trac or applied to another copy of Django. To get a look at the content of your patch, run the following command:

git diff

This will display the differences between your current copy of Django (with your changes) and the revision that you initially checked out earlier in the tutorial.

Once you’re done looking at the patch, hit the q key to exit back to the command line. If the patch’s content looked okay, you can run the following command to save the patch file to your current working directory:

git diff > 17549.diff

You should now have a file in the root Django directory called 17549.diff. This patch file contains all your changes and should look this:

diff --git a/django/contrib/admin/widgets.py b/django/contrib/admin/widgets.py
index 1e0bc2d..9e43a10 100644
--- a/django/contrib/admin/widgets.py
+++ b/django/contrib/admin/widgets.py
@@ -10,7 +10,7 @@ from django.contrib.admin.templatetags.admin_static import static
 from django.core.urlresolvers import reverse
 from django.forms.widgets import RadioFieldRenderer
 from django.forms.util import flatatt
-from django.utils.html import escape, format_html, format_html_join
+from django.utils.html import escape, format_html, format_html_join, smart_urlquote
 from django.utils.text import Truncator
 from django.utils.translation import ugettext as _
 from django.utils.safestring import mark_safe
@@ -306,6 +306,18 @@ class AdminURLFieldWidget(forms.TextInput):
             final_attrs.update(attrs)
         super(AdminURLFieldWidget, self).__init__(attrs=final_attrs)

+    def render(self, name, value, attrs=None):
+        html = super(AdminURLFieldWidget, self).render(name, value, attrs)
+        if value:
+            value = force_text(self._format_value(value))
+            final_attrs = {'href': mark_safe(smart_urlquote(value))}
+            html = format_html(
+                '<p class="url">{0} <a {1}>{2}</a><br />{3} {4}</p>',
+                _('Currently:'), flatatt(final_attrs), value,
+                _('Change:'), html
+            )
+        return html
+
 class AdminIntegerFieldWidget(forms.TextInput):
     class_name = 'vIntegerField'

diff --git a/docs/ref/models/fields.txt b/docs/ref/models/fields.txt
index 809d56e..d44f85f 100644
--- a/docs/ref/models/fields.txt
+++ b/docs/ref/models/fields.txt
@@ -922,6 +922,10 @@ Like all :class:`CharField` subclasses, :class:`URLField` takes the optional
 :attr:`~CharField.max_length`argument. If you don't specify
 :attr:`~CharField.max_length`, a default of 200 is used.

+.. versionadded:: 1.5
+
+The current value of the field will be displayed as a clickable link above the
+input widget.

 Relationship fields
 ===================
diff --git a/tests/regressiontests/admin_widgets/tests.py b/tests/regressiontests/admin_widgets/tests.py
index 4b11543..94acc6d 100644
--- a/tests/regressiontests/admin_widgets/tests.py
+++ b/tests/regressiontests/admin_widgets/tests.py

@@ -265,6 +265,35 @@ class AdminSplitDateTimeWidgetTest(DjangoTestCase):
                     '<p class="datetime">Datum: <input value="01.12.2007" type="text" class="vDateField" name="test_0" size="10" /><br />Zeit: <input value="09:30:00" type="text" class="vTimeField" name="test_1" size="8" /></p>',
                 )

+class AdminURLWidgetTest(DjangoTestCase):
+    def test_render(self):
+        w = widgets.AdminURLFieldWidget()
+        self.assertHTMLEqual(
+            conditional_escape(w.render('test', '')),
+            '<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" />'
+        )
+        self.assertHTMLEqual(
+            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example.com')),
+            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://example.com">http://example.com</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example.com" /></p>'
+        )
+
+    def test_render_idn(self):
+        w = widgets.AdminURLFieldWidget()
+        self.assertHTMLEqual(
+            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example-äüö.com')),
+            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://xn--example--7za4pnc.com">http://example-äüö.com</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example-äüö.com" /></p>'
+        )
+
+    def test_render_quoting(self):
+        w = widgets.AdminURLFieldWidget()
+        self.assertHTMLEqual(
+            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>')),
+            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://example.com/%3Csometag%3Esome%20text%3C/sometag%3E">http://example.com/&lt;sometag&gt;some text&lt;/sometag&gt;</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>" /></p>'
+        )
+        self.assertHTMLEqual(
+            conditional_escape(w.render('test', 'http://example-äüö.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>')),
+            '<p class="url">Currently:<a href="http://xn--example--7za4pnc.com/%3Csometag%3Esome%20text%3C/sometag%3E">http://example-äüö.com/&lt;sometag&gt;some text&lt;/sometag&gt;</a><br />Change:<input class="vURLField" name="test" type="text" value="http://example-äüö.com/<sometag>some text</sometag>" /></p>'
+        )

 class AdminFileWidgetTest(DjangoTestCase):
     def test_render(self):

So what do I do next?

Congratulations, you’ve generated your very first Django patch! Now that you’ve got that under your belt, you can put those skills to good use by helping to improve Django’s codebase. Generating patches and attaching them to Trac tickets is useful, however, since we are using git - adopting a more git oriented workflow is recommended.

Since we never committed our changes locally, perform the following to get your git branch back to a good starting point:

git reset --hard HEAD
git checkout master

More information for new contributors

Before you get too into writing patches for Django, there’s a little more information on contributing that you should probably take a look at:

  • You should make sure to read Django’s documentation on claiming tickets and submitting patches. It covers Trac etiquette, how to claim tickets for yourself, expected coding style for patches, and many other important details.
  • First time contributors should also read Django’s documentation for first time contributors. It has lots of good advice for those of us who are new to helping out with Django.
  • After those, if you’re still hungry for more information about contributing, you can always browse through the rest of Django’s documentation on contributing. It contains a ton of useful information and should be your first source for answering any questions you might have.

Finding your first real ticket

Once you’ve looked through some of that information, you’ll be ready to go out and find a ticket of your own to write a patch for. Pay special attention to tickets with the “easy pickings” criterion. These tickets are often much simpler in nature and are great for first time contributors. Once you’re familiar with contributing to Django, you can move on to writing patches for more difficult and complicated tickets.

If you just want to get started already (and nobody would blame you!), try taking a look at the list of easy tickets that need patches and the easy tickets that have patches which need improvement. If you’re familiar with writing tests, you can also look at the list of easy tickets that need tests. Just remember to follow the guidelines about claiming tickets that were mentioned in the link to Django’s documentation on claiming tickets and submitting patches.

What’s next?

After a ticket has a patch, it needs to be reviewed by a second set of eyes. After uploading a patch or submitting a pull request, be sure to update the ticket metadata by setting the flags on the ticket to say “has patch”, “doesn’t need tests”, etc, so others can find it for review. Contributing doesn’t necessarily always mean writing a patch from scratch. Reviewing existing patches is also a very helpful contribution. See Triaging tickets for details.

Questions/Feedback

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