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Sospeter Mongare
Sospeter Mongare

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Django best practices and tips for writing better code


Django, the high-level Python web framework, is renowned for its simplicity and efficiency in building robust web applications. However, like any programming endeavor, writing clean and maintainable code is crucial to the success of your Django projects. In this article, we'll explore some Django best practices and tips for writing better code that will not only enhance the quality of your applications but also make your development process more enjoyable.

  1. Follow the DRY Principle

The "Don't Repeat Yourself" (DRY) principle is a fundamental concept in software development. In Django, this means avoiding code duplication. When you find yourself writing the same logic in multiple places, consider creating reusable functions, modules, or even custom template tags. By keeping your code DRY, you'll reduce the risk of bugs, improve code maintainability, and save time in the long run.

Before: Code duplication

def calculate_area(radius):
return 3.14 * radius * radius

def calculate_circumference(radius):
return 2 * 3.14 * radius

After: DRY principle applied

def calculate_area_and_circumference(radius):
area = 3.14 * radius * radius
circumference = 2 * 3.14 * radius
return area, circumference

  1. Properly Organize Your Project

Django provides a well-defined project structure, but it's essential to adhere to it. Keep your project organized by placing related files in their respective directories. For instance, templates should be in the "templates" folder, static files in the "static" directory, and so on. A tidy project structure makes it easier for both you and your team to find and work on different parts of the application.


  1. Use Django's Built-in Features

Django offers a wide range of built-in features and utilities. Make the most of them before reinventing the wheel. For example, use Django's authentication system, form handling, and database models. Leveraging these built-in tools not only saves you time but also ensures that you benefit from established best practices.

from django.contrib.auth.models import User
from django import forms

Using Django's built-in User model and form

class UserForm(forms.ModelForm):
class Meta:
model = User
fields = ('username', 'email', 'password')

  1. Write Comprehensive Tests

Testing is a critical aspect of Django development. It's not only about ensuring that your code works but also about maintaining its functionality over time. Write comprehensive unit tests and integration tests to cover your application's critical paths. Django's testing framework makes it relatively easy to write tests for your views, models, and forms.

from django.test import TestCase
from myapp.models import MyModel

class MyModelTestCase(TestCase):
def setUp(self):
MyModel.objects.create(name="Test Model")

def test_model_name(self):
    test_model = MyModel.objects.get(name="Test Model")
    self.assertEqual(, "Test Model")
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  1. Keep Security in Mind

Security is paramount in web development. Django provides numerous security features by default, such as protection against common vulnerabilities like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). However, you should still be vigilant. Validate user input, use Django's built-in security measures, and keep up with security updates for the packages you use.

Protect against SQL injection

from django.db import connection
cursor = connection.cursor()
cursor.execute("SELECT * FROM mytable WHERE name = %s", [user_input])

Prevent Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

from django.utils.html import escape
user_input = "alert('XSS')"
escaped_input = escape(user_input)

  1. Document Your Code

Proper documentation is often underestimated but is essential for maintaining and collaborating on projects. Write clear comments for your functions, classes, and methods. Additionally, use docstrings to document the purpose and usage of your modules and classes. Well-documented code is not only more understandable but also more inviting for others to contribute to.

def calculate_area(radius):
Calculate the area of a circle.

:param radius: The radius of the circle.
:return: The area of the circle.
return 3.14 * radius * radius
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  1. Optimize Database Queries

Efficient database queries are vital for the performance of your Django application. Utilize the Django QuerySet API to construct efficient queries. Minimize database hits by employing methods like select_related and prefetch_related to fetch related data in a single query, rather than through additional database calls.

Suboptimal query: N+1 problem

for item in MyModel.objects.all():
related_data = item.related_set.all()

Optimized query: Use select_related or prefetch_related

for item in MyModel.objects.select_related('related').all():
related_data = item.related

  1. Choose Descriptive Variable and Function Names

The readability of your code is crucial. Choose meaningful and descriptive names for your variables, functions, and classes. A well-named function or variable makes your code more self-explanatory and reduces the need for excessive comments.

Before: Non-descriptive names

x = calculate_area(5)

After: Descriptive names

area_of_circle = calculate_area(5)

  1. Implement Version Control

Version control systems like Git are invaluable for tracking changes in your codebase, collaborating with others, and quickly reverting to previous versions if needed. Set up a version control system for your Django project, and make regular commits with meaningful messages.

Initialize a Git repository using the following command:

   git init
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Making Commits:

  1. Add your project files to the staging area using the git add command. For example:
   git add .
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  1. Commit your changes with a meaningful message using the git commit command:
   git commit -m "Initial project setup"
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Managing Versions:

  1. As you make changes to your project, continue to add and commit them to Git with informative commit messages.
   git add .
   git commit -m "Added user authentication feature"
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Working with Branches (Optional):

If you want to work on features or experiments in isolation, create and switch to a new branch using the git checkout -b command:

git checkout -b feature/my-new-feature
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Collaborating and Hosting:

You can collaborate with others by pushing your Git repository to a hosting service like GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket. This allows multiple developers to work on the same project while keeping track of changes.

  1. Continuous Integration and Deployment

Automate your deployment process and set up continuous integration (CI) to catch potential issues early. Services like Jenkins, Travis CI, or GitHub Actions can help you automate testing and deployment, ensuring that your code is always in a deployable state.

In conclusion,

writing better code in Django is not just about adhering to best practices; it's about fostering a mindset of continuous improvement and a commitment to producing clean, maintainable, and efficient code. By following these best practices, you'll not only enhance the quality of your Django projects but also make your development journey smoother and more enjoyable. Happy coding!

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