Custom Django Apps

The functionality of the Airavata Django Portal can be extended by adding custom Django apps that can provide completely custom user interfaces while leveraging the Airavata Django Portal REST API. This page documents how to get started with creating a custom Django app that works with the Airavata Django Portal and how to make use of functionality provided.

Getting Started

Creating a custom Django app requires creating an installable Python package with metadata describing that it is a Django app meant to be automatically installed into the Airavata Django Portal when it is loaded into the virtual environment.

We'll go through the minimal setup code needed. This will follow along with the code in the repo, which represents a minimal custom Django app for the Django Portal.

  1. Install the Airavata Django Portal. See the for instructions.
  2. With the Django Portal virtual environment activated, navigate to a separate directory outside the airavata-django-portal, where you'll create your custom django app. The following instructions wil assume this directory is $HOME/custom-django-app but it could be called and placed anywhere. In $HOME/custom-django-app, run django-admin startapp my_custom_app, but instead of my_custom_app specify the module name you want to use. For example, let's say your directory is called custom-django-app and you want to call the module name custom_app. Then you would run

    cd $HOME/custom-django-app
    django-admin startapp custom_app

    This will result in the following files:

  3. Create a file in your custom apps root directory. In the example above that would be in the $HOME/custom-django-app/ directory.

import setuptools

    description="... description ...",
custom_app = custom_app.apps:CustomAppConfig

Change the name and description as appropriate. The necessary metadata for letting the Airavata Django Portal know that this Python package is a custom Django app is specified in the [airavata.djangoapp] section.

  1. Create the CustomAppConfig class that is referenced above. Open $HOME/custom-django-app/custom_app/ and edit to match the following:
from django.apps import AppConfig

class CustomAppConfig(AppConfig):
    name = 'custom_app'
    label = name
    verbose_name = 'My Custom App'
    fa_icon_class = 'fa-comment'

This the main metadata for this custom Django app. Besides the normal metadata that the Django framework expects, this also defines a display name (verbose_name) and an icon (fa_icon_class) to use for this custom app. See AppConfig settings for details on available properties here. Note that app_order isn't supported for custom Django apps. Only name, label and verbose_name are required. See Django project documentation on AppConfig for description of these properties.

  1. Create a simple template based view in $HOME/custom-django-app/custom_app/
from django.shortcuts import render
from django.contrib.auth.decorators import login_required

# Create your views here.

def hello_world(request):
    return render(request, "custom_app/hello.html")

This view will render the template custom_app/hello.html which we'll create in the next step. Add the @login_required decorator to any views that should be authenticated.

  1. Create the hello.html template in $HOME/custom-django-app/custom_app/templates/custom_app/hello.html
{% extends 'base.html' %}
{% block content %}
<div class="main-content-wrapper">
    <main class="main-content">
        <div class="container-fluid">
            <h1>Hello World</h1>
{% endblock content %}


Notice that we created a directory for our templates in custom_app called templates/custom_app/hello.html. That might look like redundancy, but it is intentional. The convention in Django is to create a separately named directory under templates for each Django app. From the Django docs:

It’s possible – and preferable – to organize templates in subdirectories inside each directory containing templates. The convention is to make a subdirectory for each Django app, with subdirectories within those subdirectories as needed.

  1. Create a url mapping for this view in $HOME/custom-django-app/custom_app/
from django.conf.urls import url, include

from . import views

app_name = 'custom_app'
urlpatterns = [
    url(r'^hello/', views.hello_world, name="home"),

Note that app_name specifies the namespace for your app's urls and should be changed to something appropriate for your app.

  1. That defines a basic Hello World Django app. To preview and develop this Django app further we need to install it into a locally running Django portal. See the for notes on getting the Django portal installed locally. Let's assume you install the Django portal locally in $HOME/airavata-django-portal. To install the custom Django app in that portal you would:
# First activate the Django portal's virtual environment
cd $HOME/airavata-django-portal
source venv/bin/activate
# Then change to the custom app and install it in develop mode
cd $HOME/custom-django-app
python develop

Now when you log into the Django portal at http://localhost:8000 you should see the custom app in the dropdown menu in the top of the page (the one that defaults to Workspace when you login).

Next Steps

AiravataAPI JS library

To use the airavata-api.js JavaScript library to call the Django portal REST API (which in turn calls the Airavata API), you can include it in your templates in the scripts block:

{% block scripts %}
<script src="{% static 'django_airavata_api/dist/airavata-api.js' %}"></script>
    const { models, services, session, utils } = AiravataAPI;

    // Your code here ...
{% endblock scripts %}

For more information on the AiravataAPI library:

  • see the Gateways tutorial
  • see the index.js file in the AiravataAPI to see what models and services are provided by the library

Custom Django apps

There are now several examples of custom Django apps that can be learned from: