How does it work, the naming convention for Django INSTALLED_APPS?


The tutorial on the site creates an app named polls. It’s using django 1.9, so in the INSTALLED_APPS it is:


I’m watching a tutorial he names the app newsletter and in INSTALLED_APPS he has


he’s using 1.8, though. I am using 1.9. I’ve watched other tutorials and they also just add a name without dots in the syntax as he does. I realize things may be different, that’s understood. To be clear if I named my app dogs,. in the installed apps it would be named like this


or if it was tree it would be


Is that how the naming convention goes? also I would assume things would get shorter in newer versions and more convenient. so to go from just adding


to having to type out


seems weird to me. But I’m new so I maybe missing something. Any and all advice is welcome

Asked By: losee



That is the Application Configuration feature, new to Django 1.7.

Basically, now you can list in INSTALLED_APPS either the module that contains the application or a class that derives from django.apps.AppConfig and defines the behavior of the application.

This feature provides several advantages:

  • Apps can be configured more easily, and even subclassed for customization.
  • You can have several apps in the same module.

Application modules can define the special module variable default_app_config to specify the name of their AppConfig, so that they can use the new features without having to specify the full name of that class in INSTALLED_APPS. But this is a backwards compatibility feature and new applications are recommended to write the full AppConfig name.

Anyway, most django/contrib apps use that default_app_config, for compatibility with old configurations. See for example the file django/contrib/messages/ is just:

from django.contrib.messages.api import *
from django.contrib.messages.constants import *

default_app_config = 'django.contrib.messages.apps.MessagesConfig'

So, adding it up, per OP request:

  • If you add in INSTALLED_APPS the typename foo.apps.FooConfig, then that class will be used to setup the foo app, 1.7 style (recommended).
  • If you add in INSTALLED_APPS the plain name foo, then:

    • if there is a variable foo.default_app_config this class will be used to setup the foo app, 1.7 style. Most (all?) the standard Django apps have this variable, so that you don’t need to change your INSTALLED_APPS when you upgrade from Django-1.6 to Django-1.7.
    • if there is not such a variable, then the 1.6 style application will be used, with default values for the advanced configuration options.
Answered By: rodrigo

In the ,under the Installed apps just add app_name like

    'polls', # <--- here
Answered By: Pom Skipper

While I was searching about INSTALLED_APPS constant like you I have seen this explanation on documents:

A list of strings designating all applications that are enabled in this Django installation. Each string should be a dotted Python path to:

  • an application configuration class (preferred), or
  • a package containing an application.

The second bullet is explaining that you can use your application folder for resolving the existing settings automatically. The first option can be also used for activate your application. But the most important thing is that it is preferred one.

If you want to go with the preferred one first you have to create in your new application folder then set like this:

# my_new_app/
from django.apps import AppConfig

class MyNewAppConfig(AppConfig):
    name = 'my_new_app'
    verbose_name = "My Brand New Application"

# my_new_app/
default_app_config = 'my_new_app.apps.MyNewAppConfig'

Why the first one is preferred? Because I think of that it is explicit.

Answered By: vildhjarta
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