Manual Project Setup Guide


In setting up your project, it is strongly recommended that you deploy your new project by running the following:

django-admin startproject --template <your_project_name>

However, it is also possible to deploy a new project by manually editing to enter the needed values.

This section describes how to do such an installation. Keep in mind that manual installation is only recommended for advanced users who wish to integrate the danceschool app into a pre-existing Django installation. If you are just looking to customize the project, then you likely want to follow the Development Installation guide.

Importing Third-Party Settings

Setting up the Django-danceschool project requires setting a large number of configuration options for third-party apps. However, these options can be imported automatically so that you do not need to enter them yourself. Near the top of the file, add the following:

from danceschool.default_settings import *

Note also that any of the options specified in danceschool.default_settings can readily be overridden in Just be sure to set your chosen setting values below the import command above.

Installed Apps

In addition to the various apps that are components of the danceschool project, there are several other apps that need to be added to your project’s INSTALLED_APPS. It is important to note that the order in which apps are added often matters. In particular, because Django’s template loading and URL pattern matching functions use the first matching template/pattern, some apps need to be loaded before others in order for them to function correctly.

First, list the Django CMS app in INSTALLED_APPS, followed by the Django dynamic preferences app. These apps go first so that they can find and register CMS plugins and dynamic preferences from other apps:

‘cms’, ‘dynamic_preferences’,

Next, list the core danceschool app, preceded by the themes app. The core app provides all of the necessary functionality of the project, and is required. The themes app is optional, but it is highly recommended because it provides the functionality necessary to enabled the project’s built-in themes.

If you have setup any custom app which overrides the templates used by the danceschool project, then this should also be listed here:

# ‘<your_custom_app>’, ‘danceschool.themes’, ‘danceschool.core’,

The danceschool.core app contains all of the necessary basic functionality of the project. However, depending on your needs, you may want to install some of all of the following apps by adding them to INSTALLED_APPS:

'',        # Financial reporting and expense/revenue tracking
'danceschool.private_events',   # Non-public events and calendar with reminders and feeds
'danceschool.discounts',        # Configurable registration discounts
'danceschool.vouchers',         # Vouchers, gift certificates, and the referral program
'danceschool.prerequisites',    # Configurable prerequisites for specific classes
'danceschool.stats',            # School performance statistics
'',             # A simple news feed
'danceschool.faq',              # A simple FAQ system
'danceschool.payments.paypal',  # Paypal Express Checkout payment processor
'danceschool.payments.stripe',  # Stripe Checkout payment processor

Then, before including the Django contrib apps, add the following apps (the order of these does not matter, but some apps must be listed before django.contrib.admin):


If you have enabled the danceschool.themes app, then you will also need:

‘djangocms_icon’, ‘djangocms_link’, ‘djangocms_picture’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_alerts’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_badge’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_card’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_carousel’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_collapse’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_content’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_grid’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_jumbotron’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_link’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_listgroup’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_media’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_picture’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_tabs’, ‘djangocms_bootstrap4.contrib.bootstrap4_utilities’,

Finally, be sure that the following django contrib apps are all listed in INSTALLED_APPS at the bottom:


Template settings

Django CMS requires some specialized context processors to be enabled. So, add the following to TEMPLATES['OPTIONS']['context_processors']:



Django CMS requires the following to be added to MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES:

At the top:




Site ID and Language Code

Because Django CMS makes use of django.contrib.sites, in order for a default URL to be available for pages, the CMS needs to know the database identifier ofyour default site. For most installations, this means adding:


Django CMS also uses slightly different language designations than Django as a whole. By default, Django’s ships with LANGUAGE_CODE = 'en-us'. Assuming that your site will be running in English, you should change this to LANGUAGE_CODE = 'en'.

URL Handling

The Danceschool project has a single file which handles all of the URLs for the project and its core dependencies. Similarly, Django CMS requires a catch-all URL pattern that tries to match any unmatched URLs to CMS pages. So, be sure to add the following code to the bottom of your

from django.conf.urls import include, url


# Add this at the bottom of
urlpatterns += [
    # Include your own app's URLs first to override default app URLs
    # url(r'^', include('<yourapp>.urls')),
    # Now, include default app URLs and CMS URLs
    url(r'^', include('danceschool.urls')),
    url(r'^', include('cms.urls')),

Note: If for any reason you wish to modify any of the default URL paths provided by the project, you can do so by adding your own URLs prior to the inclusion of danceschool.urls.

Other Settings You May Wish to Modify

As with all Django projects, you are generally free to modify other settings as you see fit. However, there are certain other settings that are commonly modified for each installation, and that you will likely wish to modify.

For more information on these settings, see the Django documentation.

Static file storage/upload settings:

  • STATIC_URL (set to “/static/” by default)

Django email settings (needed for confirmation emails, etc.)

For more details on email setup, see the dedicated email setup documentation: email_setup.

  • host: EMAIL_HOST
  • port: EMAIL_PORT
  • username: EMAIL_HOST_USER
  • use_tls: EMAIL_USE_TLS
  • use_ssl: EMAIL_USE_SSL

Django database settings (recommended to change from default SQLite for production applications):

  • DATABASES['default']['ENGINE']
  • DATABASES['default']['NAME']
  • DATABASES['default']['USER']
  • DATABASES['default']['PASSWORD']
  • DATABASES['default']['HOST']
  • DATABASES['default']['PORT']

Django-filer settings

See the Django-filer documentation for more details:


** Payment processors **

These are just the settings listed above in Paypal, Stripe, and Square.

For Paypal:

  • PAYPAL_MODE (either “sandbox” or “live”)



Huey (and Redis) setup for production

Certain website tasks are best run asynchronously. For example, when a student successfully registers for a class, the website does not need to wait for the confirmation email to be sent in order for the process to proceed. Similarly, other tasks such as closing of class registration are run at regular intervals and do not depend on user interaction. For these reasons, this project uses the Huey task queue. Huey is run as a separate process from your webserver, and when tasks are submitted to Huey via functions in each app’s, they are handled by this separate process.

If you followed the quick start instructions, then Huey is already installed and a default setup is enabled that will enable you to get going quickly. On a separate command line from your test server, simply type in python3 run_huey to run a Huey instance that will handle sending emails, etc., automatically. Your site will continue to these features as well as recurring tasks for as long as this process continues to run.

The default settings for Huey involve storing the task queue data in SQLite-based file storage. Upon running Huey, you will see a newly created SQLite file in the same directory as your project’s file, which stores the task queue data. Although this approach allows for convenient setup for testing purposes using the project’s default settings, it is not recommended to use Huey’s SQLite storage backend for production purposes. Instead, it is strongly recommended that you set up the popular Redis cache server, and modify your file to use Huey’s Redis integration.

Note that These instructions are designed for Linux, and they assume that you will be running Redis locally using default settings. Getting Redis running on Windows may require a slightly different process, and configuring Huey to use a remote Redis installation will also involve modifying site settings.

  1. Install the Redis client for Python: pip3 install redis
  2. Start the Redis server: sudo service redis-server start
  3. Add the following to (this basic setup can be customized, see the Huey documentation).
from huey import RedisHuey
from redis import ConnectionPool
pool = ConnectionPool(host='localhost', port=6379, max_connections=20)
HUEY = RedisHuey('danceschool',connection_pool=pool)
  1. As before, run Huey in its own command shell: python3 run_huey

With these two steps, your installation should now be able to send emails programmatically, and your site should also run recurring tasks as long as both Redis and Huey continue to run.