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Python Django: Using multiple database, inspectdb and admin for existing database

One of the most powerful parts of Django is the automatic admin interface. It allows all users including developers to manipulated data inside database table. Often people use django admin tool to manage their database rather than using the console management tool provided by the database software itself or any other tool which are very limited and specific to one type of database only.

I have an existing setup mysql database with all the required schema and stored data. I want to use Django’s powerful administration tool to manage some of the stuffs on the database.

Lets get started on.

I have setup a django project called boad with necessary configurations updated in the file. I have added my mysql server as default database for the project.

Since running migration using django management command would create default django tables like django_sessions, django_migrations etc on my database which I dont like as I would like to keep my database very neat and clean as it was prior to django setup. So I decided to use django multiple database feature using database router that would route database operations of all other django related table to other database. I have setup a database router which will route read,write and syncdb operation of all tables not related to my existing database.

First in my I set up two databases as:

    'sqlite': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.sqlite3',
        'NAME': os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'db.sqlite3'),
    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.mysql',
        'HOST': 'localhost'
        'USER': 'root',
        'PASSWORD': '',
        'NAME': 'boad_database'

DATABASE_ROUTERS = ['boad.router.NonBoadAttributeRouter',] #Router's module path

I have used two database sqlite and mysql (default). I would be using sqlite to store data that are specific to django tables.

I created a file in the project module directory as:

class NonBoadAttributeRouter:

    non_boad_attribute_tables = ['auth', 'admin', 'contenttypes', 'sessions', 'messages', 'staticfiles', 'migrations']
    def db_for_read(self, model, **hints):
        if model._meta.app_label in self.non_boad_attribute_tables:
            return 'sqlite'
        return None

    def db_for_write(self, model, **hints):
        if model._meta.app_label in self.non_boad_attribute_tables:
            return 'sqlite'
        return None

    def allow_relation(self, obj1, obj2, **hints):
        if obj1._meta.app_label in self.non_boad_attribute_tables or obj1._meta.app_label in self.non_boad_attribute_tables:
            return True
        return None

    def allow_migrate(self, db, app_label, model_name=None, **hints):
        if app_label in self.non_boad_attribute_tables:
            return db=='sqlite'
        return None

Here I have stated that if application label is either of labels defined in non_boad_attribute_tables python variable, they should operate by “sqlite” database. Each router’s function would check for app label and route to “sqlite” database as per required or would return “None” which would tell django to fall back to “default” database for database operation.

Django have an “inspectdb” management command which is very useful to generate Django model from the existing database. As an example here I have use inspectdb to generate model for my course_category table in mysql.

venv) D:\Learnings\Django\boad\src>python inspectdb course_category
# This is an auto-generated Django model module.
# You'll have to do the following manually to clean this up:
# * Rearrange models' order
# * Make sure each model has one field with primary_key=True
# * Make sure each ForeignKey has `on_delete` set to the desired behavior.
# * Remove `managed = False` lines if you wish to allow Django to create, modify, and delete the table
# Feel free to rename the models, but don't rename db_table values or field names.
from __future__ import unicode_literals

from django.db import models

class CourseCategory(models.Model):
 course_cat_id = models.AutoField(primary_key=True)
 coursename = models.CharField(max_length=100)
 code = models.CharField(max_length=10, blank=True, null=True)
 project = models.CharField(max_length=30, blank=True, null=True)
 created_by = models.CharField(max_length=60)
 created_date = models.DateTimeField()
 deleted_by = models.CharField(max_length=60)
 deleted_date = models.DateTimeField(blank=True, null=True)
 deleted = models.IntegerField()

class Meta:
 managed = False
 db_table = 'course_category'

I have generated an model from existing database. I can do same for other mysql tables and create put it inside their own respective django app created using

python startapp courses


Now finally in file of each django app folder, I have register each model in admin as:

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

from django.contrib import admin

from course.models import CourseCategory

class CourseCategoryAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ['course_cat_id', 'coursename', 'code', 'project']
    list_filter = ['project',]
    list_editable = ['code',], CourseCategoryAdmin)


Running django’s migration command wont create any other tables in my mysql database but instead will be created in other sqlite database.

After successful migration I can test my django app using:

python runserver

course_admin_interfaceI can now successfully setup admin interface for managing my mysql database.

This approach of creating admin interface is applicable to most of popular database systems like Oracle, postgres etc. Django is going more popular day by day and equally getting more recognition for its quick and powerful admin interface generation.


Deploying Django App using gunicorn and nginx on Linux (Ubuntu) server

According to official site,

Django is a free and open-source web framework, written in Python, which follows the model-view-template architectural pattern.

Nginx is a web server which can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer and HTTP cache.

We are going to use above technologies and deploy a sample Django app “dproject” with structure as

Djproject is the main Django project folder containing the import wsgi file, settings, urls. Djapp is my Django app and venv is python virtual environment folder where needed python packages and gunicorn is installed.

We can install gunicorn using pip as

pip install gunicorn

Now we will test if gunicorn can server our Django app or not

gunicorn –bind dproject.wsgi

If that works well we can proceed on further creating a gunicorn service to serve my app on nginx server

Now we’ll create a system service that can manage above gunicorn process.

Create a file for the gunicorn service as

vim /etc/systemd/system/dproject_gunicorn.service

Descriptioin = Gunicorn Daemon for dproject
After =

ExecStart=/home/gopal/dproject/venv/bin/gunicorn –access-logfile - --workers 3 –bind unix:/home/gopal/dproject/dproject.sock dproject.wsgi:application


Our service is dependent on We are using ‘gopal’ and ‘www-data’ as linux os user and group to serve our app. WorkingDirectory is pointed to our project directory.

ExecStart is a command line that will execute on service run. Here we have started our gunicorn process with 3 workers that will serve dproject through unix socket file.

We are also telling that we want our service to be managed by runlevel

Now we will allow our port 80 through firewall

ufw allow 80


firewall-cmd –permanent –add-port=80/tcp
firewall-cmd –reload

Now we will start and enable our gunicorn service so that our service is started automatically after every boot

systemctl start dproject_gunicorn
systemctl enable dproject_gunicorn

Now we’ll create nginx configuration file for our Django app which is served through unix socket file dproject.sock via gunicorn

vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/dproject

server {
  listen: 80;
  location /static/ {
    root /home/gopal/dproject;
  location / {
    include proxy_params;
    proxy_pass http://unix:/home/gopal/dproject/dproject.sock;

We will enable this configuration file by creating a symlink to site-enabled directory of nginx configuration directory

ln –s /etc/nginx/sites-available/dproject /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/dproject

We will now test if our configuration is ok

nginx –t

It says “OK”

Now we will restart out nginx server and allow nginx ports in our firewall

systemctl restart nginx
ufw allow “Nginx Full”


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