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How to be a better Django developer

Django is a powerful and popular web framework that allows you to build web applications quickly and easily. However, to make the most of Django, you need to follow some best practices that will help you write clean, maintainable, and secure code. In this article, we will cover some of the most important Django best practices that will keep your developers happy and your users satisfied.

Coding Style

One of the first things you should do when starting a new Django project is to follow a consistent coding style. This will make your code easier to read, debug, and collaborate on. Django has an official coding style guide that you can find here:

Some of the main points of the Django coding style are:

  • Use four spaces for indentation, not tabs.
  • Use underscores for variable names, not camelCase.
  • Use single quotes for strings, unless they contain single quotes themselves.
  • Use trailing commas in lists, tuples, and dictionaries.
  • Use absolute imports, not relative imports.
  • Order your imports alphabetically by module name.
  • Use flake8 or black to check your code for style errors.

You can also use a code editor or an IDE that supports Django and has built-in tools for formatting and linting your code. Some popular options are VS Code, PyCharm, and Sublime Text.

Project Structure

Another important aspect of Django development is how you structure your project. A good project structure will help you organize your code logically and avoid duplication and confusion. Django has a default project structure that you can use as a starting point, but you can also customize it according to your needs and preferences.

A typical Django project structure looks something like this:

myproject/ myproject/ myapp/ templates/ myapp/ base.html index.html … static/ myapp/ css/ style.css js/ script.js … …

Some of the best practices for structuring your project are:

  • Keep your settings in a separate file or folder, and use different settings for different environments (development, testing, production, etc.).
  • Use a custom user model instead of the default one, and put it in a separate app called users or accounts.
  • Use apps to group related functionality, and name them according to their purpose (e.g., blog, shop, polls, etc.).
  • Use descriptive and plural names for your models (e.g., Post, Product, Question, etc.).
  • Use class-based views instead of function-based views, and name them according to their functionality (e.g., PostListView, ProductDetailView, QuestionCreateView, etc.).
  • Use namespaces for your app URLs, and include them in the project URLs with the include function.
  • Use template inheritance and blocks to avoid repeating HTML code in your templates.
  • Use static files to store your CSS, JavaScript, images, and other assets, and use the static template tag to load them in your templates.
  • Write tests for your models, views, forms, and other components of your app.

** Security**

Django is a mature and secure web framework that provides many features and tools to protect your web application from common attacks and vulnerabilities. However, security is not something that you can ignore or take for granted. You still need to follow some best practices to ensure that your web application is safe and secure.

Some of the most important security best practices for Django are:

  • Use HTTPS for all communication between your web server and your clients.
  • Keep your Django version up to date with the latest security patches and bug fixes.
  • Use the SECRET_KEY setting to generate random and unique values for various security-related features of Django.
  • Use the ALLOWED_HOSTS setting to specify which domains can serve your web application.
  • Use the CSRF middleware and the csrf_token template tag to protect your forms from cross-site request forgery attacks.
  • Use the clickjacking middleware and the X_FRAME_OPTIONS setting to prevent your web pages from being embedded in other sites using iframes.
  • Use the password hashing system and the auth module to handle user authentication and password management securely.
  • Use the permissions system and the @login_required decorator to control access to your views based on user roles and privileges.

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