Basic Customization

Customizing Email Templates

By default, the site sends out a confirmation email whenever a customer successfully completes their registration and submits payment. It also sends out a confirmation email when a customer purchases a gift certificate. The templates for these emails are completely configurable, and they are stored in the database, so you can customize them without requiring access to the underlying code. The first time that you run the server, the templates are populated with default content using

To edit these email templates (and to create other custom email templates for your own purposes), simply log in as the superuser (or another user with appropriate permissions) and go to http://yoursite/admin/core/emailtemplate/. You will see the templates listed there, simply click on them and edit as needed.

Note also that these custom email templates are processed much like standard Django templates, with the exception that some functionality is disabled for security purposes.

TODO: Explain further.

Customizing Page Templates

You will almost certainly want to customize your site’s layout and look somewhat, that means that you will need to add one or more custom templates to your project. To understand how to adapt custom templates for your site, you should first understand that Django uses something called template inheritance. That is, if you want to define a specific template for a specific page, it is generally not necessary to recreate all of the logic and code to describe the way that the page is laid out. Rather, you can create a custom template that inherits from another, more general template, changing only the pieces of the page that differ from the parent template.

Many templates are also designed not for laying out an entire page, but for laying out only one section of a page. For example, the navigation section of a page is often the same across all public-facing pages, but it may be more convenient to keep the navigation layout in a separate file and simply use an {% include %} tag to include it in other templates as needed. Similarly, CMS plugins that are used to display pieces of information like lists of upcoming classes or lists of instructors use templates to describe how that information should be laid out.

With that in mind, most projects will need to override only a couple of key templates in order to accomplish the vast majority of customization desired (all of these templates are located in danceschool/core/templates/):

  • cms/home.html: The base template for all public-facing pages. By default, this shows all information in a single column, and all of the other templates that are included for public-facing pages (twocolumns_rightsidebar.html and twocolumns_leftsidebar.html, as well as various other templates) inherit from this template.
  • cms/navbar.html: The template that is used to show the navigation at the top of the page. By default, this template produces a dropdown menu that goes across the top of the page, with two levels of pages displayed.
  • cms/admin_home.html: The base template for all private and administrative within-site functions, such as the various reporting forms and financial summaries. The defaults for this template are very plain but also very usable, so you may find that you do not need to override this template at all.

All templates can be overridden, but here are a few other templates that you may wish to consider overriding:

  • core/event_registration.html: The template used for the first step of the registration process.
  • core/individual_class.html and core/individual_event.html: The templates used on the automatically-generated pages for each class and/or event.
  • core/account_profile.html: The template used for the “customer profile” page that is displayed when a customer logs in. If you are not allowing customers to sign up or log into the site, then you will likely not need to change this template.

Where should I put my custom templates?

When looking for a requested template, Django uses the first template with the appropriate file name that it encounters. So, when providing custom templates, there are two places to put them:

  1. In a templates folder within the root folder of your project
  2. In the templates folder of a custom app that is listed in INSTALLED_APPS before the original template’s app.

Notice also that templates in this project are namespaced, meaning that they are contained within a subfolder with the name of the app for which they are designed. So, if I have created a new cms/home.html template, which defines the basic layout for public-facing pages, I can either save it as <BASE_DIR>/templates/cms/home.html. or I can save it as <BASE_DIR>/my_custom_app/templates/cms/home.html, where my_custom_app is the name of an app that has been added to INSTALLED_APPS before danceschool.core.

Custom Django CMS Templates

Django CMS (the content management system that is used to manage most public-facing pages) allows you to select the appropriate template for each page. However, not all templates are designed for laying out CMS pages. By default, the project provides a few CMS-appropriate templates:

  • cms/home.html: For public-facing one-column layouts
  • cms/twocolumn_rightsidebar.html: A two-column layout with a main “content” region on the left-hand side and a sidebar on the right.
  • cms/twocolumn_leftsidebar.html: A two-column layout with a main “content” region on the right-hand side and a sidebar on the left.
  • cms/admin_home.html: A one-column plain layout for administrative functions.

If these templates are insufficient for your needs, you may wish to add entirely new templates, not just to override preexisting templates. For example, perhaps you want the front page of your site to be a splash page, which looks different from the more content-focused pages of your site. In that case, you will need to do the following:

  1. Add your custom template to either the templates folder of your project’s root directory, or to the templates folder within a custom app.
  2. Add the template’s filename and a brief description to the setting CMS_TEMPLATES within your project’s
  3. Restart the server for your Django project so that the settings are reloaded.

Once you have done these steps, you should see your custom template available as an option for any new or existing pages that you create.

Sources of Templates to Customize

Although you have complete control over the layout of your site using custom templates, it is often handy to work from a pre-existing template. To assist in this process, this project is built using the popular Bootstrap CSS and Javascript framework. There are many existing free and paid themes available that are built on the Bootstrap framework. Here are a couple of sources for these types of templates:

For more details on how to customize templates for use with Django CMS, see the Django CMS Documentation.

For more general information on Django templates, how they work, and how to customize them, see the Django Documentation.