How to Customize Django Admin Application

How to Customize Django Admin Application

Django Admin interface or app is a powerful feature of Django framework as it allows you to automatically scaffold a full featured CRUD application for your database models saving you from reinventing the wheel when building admin interfaces or back offices for your projects .It can also be used for building quick prototypes .

Most developers are not aware of the hidden power of Django admin so in this tutorial we are going to show you how we can extend it to customize its look and also its behavior with custom actions .

The Admin site is enabled by default in each generated Django project .

To create an admin site or back office you need to follow these predefined steps :

First create your database models in

Next register your models with Django Admin in module .

Customize the admin area with optional look or custom actions and views .

Lets use the models from a simple product inventory manager where we have 4 models : Product ,Family , Location and Transaction .

After creating a skeleton project with utility .You'll have Django admin already included and configured for you all you have to do is creating the models and register them .

Creating a Django app

Create a Django app inside your project and add your models inside your app file :

python startapp inventory 

Adding models

In inventory/

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
from __future__ import unicode_literals

from django.db import models

class Product(models.Model):

    sku = models.CharField(max_length=13,help_text="Enter Product Stock Keeping Unit")
    barcode = models.CharField(max_length=13,help_text="Enter Product Barcode (ISBN, UPC ...)")

    title = models.CharField(max_length=200, help_text="Enter Product Title")
    description = models.TextField(help_text="Enter Product Description")

    unitCost = models.FloatField(help_text="Enter Product Unit Cost")
    unit = models.CharField(max_length=10,help_text="Enter Product Unit ")

    quantity = models.FloatField(help_text="Enter Product Quantity")
    minQuantity = models.FloatField(help_text="Enter Product Min Quantity")

    family = models.ForeignKey('Family')
    location = models.ForeignKey('Location')

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        Returns the url to access a particular instance of Product.
        return reverse('product-detail-view', args=[str(])

    def __str__(self):

        return self.title

class Family(models.Model):

    reference = models.CharField(max_length=13, help_text="Enter Family Reference")
    title = models.CharField(max_length=200, help_text="Enter Family Title")
    description = models.TextField(help_text="Enter Family Description")

    unit = models.CharField(max_length=10,help_text="Enter Family Unit ")

    minQuantity = models.FloatField(help_text="Enter Family Min Quantity")

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        Returns the url to access a particular instance of Family.
        return reverse('family-detail-view', args=[str(])

    def __str__(self):

        return self.title

class Location(models.Model):

    reference = models.CharField(max_length=20, help_text="Enter Location Reference")
    title = models.CharField(max_length=200, help_text="Enter Location Title")
    description = models.TextField(help_text="Enter Location Description")

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        Returns the url to access a particular instance of Location.
        return reverse('family-detail-view', args=[str(])

    def __str__(self):

        return self.title

Registering models with the Admin Site

After adding models we are now ready to add register them with the Admin site .So open inventory/ and import the models and register them

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
from __future__ import unicode_literals

from django.contrib import admin

from .models import Product ,Family ,Location ,Transaction

We have followed the simplest way of registering models but as we have said before Django Admin is highly customizable and we will see how to customize it later in this tutorial .

Now lets continue by first creating a login for your admin site so we can sign in to our admin interface

Creating a super user for Django Admin login

To add a super user or admin to your database simply invoke :

python createsuperuser

The command will prompt you for a username and password .Once they are entered you will be able to use them to login to your Admin site .

Next run your server with :

python runserver    

Then go to with your browser .

Enter your admin login credentials and hit enter ,you should be presented with an admin interface with all registered models .

Play with your Admin interface by entering some products to see how admin site operates .

Advanced customization

Lets start by customize admin site wide parameters ,namely the site title and header = "My Product Inventory "; = "My Product Inventory ";

Now lets further customize our admin interface .Here is what we can do :

In List or Change Views we can add more displayed fields (Django Admin displays one field by default)

Add filters in List views to show filtered data rows .

Add custom actions

Choose which fields to dispaly in detail views .

Add inline related models in editing views .

Customize List Views with ModelAdmin Classes

To customize how a model is dispayed in the admin interface we add a ModelAdmin when regsitering the model .

There are two methods ,lets see them with the Product model .

class ProductAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    pass , ProductAdmin)


class ProductAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):

Adding fields to display

Now lets add the fields we want to display :

class ProductAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ['sku', 'title', 'unit', 'unitCost', 'quantity']

Adding List filters

After adding the fields to display in list view of Products lets add filters to be able to display fitered rows

We want to filter by SKU and UNIT :

class ProductAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ['sku', 'title', 'unit', 'unitCost', 'quantity']
    list_filter = ('sku', 'unit') 

You'll get a filtering box to the right of the list view .

Customize Detail Views

The detail view displays the fields vertically ,in the order they are declared in their models but you can customize the order of display ,which fields are displayed or excluded and the form sections ,you can also display fields horizontally or vertically and other things .

the fields attribute displays the specified the fields in the order they are specified and group them horizontally if they are grouped with tuples

class ProductAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ['sku', 'title', 'unit', 'unitCost', 'quantity']
    list_filter = ('sku', 'unit')
    fields = [('family','location'),('sku','barcode'), ('title','description'),('unit', 'unitCost'), ('quantity','minQuantity')]

Adding form sections or fieldsets

You can further customize detail views with fieldsets or sections using fieldsets attribute.

Lets add three sections with names Section 1 , Section 2 and Section 3 .

class ProductAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ['sku', 'title', 'unit', 'unitCost', 'quantity']
    list_filter = ('sku', 'unit')
    #fields = [('family','location'),('sku','barcode'), ('title','description'),('unit', 'unitCost'), ('quantity','minQuantity')]
    fieldsets = (
        ('Section 1', {
            'fields': ('family','location')
        ('Section 2', {
            'fields': ('title','description')
        ('Section 3', {
            'fields': ('sku','barcode','unit', 'unitCost','quantity','minQuantity')


That's it ! you have seen how to register your models with Django Admin site and how to customize the admin site for better display and also how to create a super user to login to your admin interface .

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