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How to create django REST API in less than 20 minutes

1. Set up a python virtual enviornment

a. install virtualenv

sudo easy_install pip
sudo pip install setuptools --no-use-wheel --upgrade
sudo pip install virtualenv
sudo pip install virtualenvwrapper
cd $HOME
mkdir .virtualenvs
echo "source /usr/local/bin/" >> ~/.bash_profile
. /usr/local/bin/

b. create a virutal env

mkvirtualenv <your_env_name>
pip install django

2. Create a empty django project startproject --template= --name=Procfile meetups

3. Install requirements.txt dependencies

pip install -r requirements.txt

4. Create the database

./ syncdb

5. Run the webserver

./ runserver

6. Install the new app

Open meetups/ and add 'meetups' to INSTALLED_APPS

7. Create a views module

Create meetups/ and add the following lines:

from django.http import HttpResponse

def test(request):
    return HttpResponse("Hello WWCode")

8. Create a url to simple view


Import our newly created view module

import meetups2.views

Add the line to the urls tuple:


9. Return JSON data

In, add a python dictionary of users and return a json response instead. Change the file as follows:

from django.http import HttpResponse
import json

def test(request):

    my_dict = {'users': ['bob','mary','kate']}
    json_data = json.dumps(my_dict)
    return HttpResponse(my_dict)
    return HttpResponse(json_data, content_type="application/json")

10. Create a models module

Create a file called meetups/ with the following contents:

from django.db import models

class Image(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=200, blank=True, null=True)
    image_url = models.CharField(max_length=1000, blank=True, null=True)

    def __unicode__(self):

class Meetup(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=200, blank=True, null=True)
    description = models.TextField(blank=True, null=True)
    meeting_time = models.CharField(max_length=200, blank=True, null=True)
    location = models.CharField(max_length=200, blank=True, null=True)
    postcode = models.CharField(max_length=12, blank=True, null=True)
    contact = models.CharField(max_length=200, blank=True, null=True)
    image = models.ForeignKey(Image, blank=True, null=True, on_delete=models.SET_NULL)
    website = models.CharField(max_length=500, blank=True, null=True)

    def __unicode__(self):

11. Show these models in the database


./ migrate

Open up db.sqlite3 and show the tables we have created.

12. Set up the Django Admin Console

Create a file meetups/

from django.contrib import admin
from models import *

class MeetupAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ('name','description', 'contact', 'location'), MeetupAdmin)

class ImageAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ('name','image_url',), ImageAdmin)

13. Now, we install the django rest framework

Install the django rest framework:

pip install djangorestframework

Add 'rest_framework' to INSTALLED_APPS

14. Create a serializer module

Create a file called meetsup/ and add the following content:

from rest_framework import serializers
from meetups2.models import *

class ImageSerializer(serializers.ModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Image
        fields = ('id','image_url')

class MeetupSerializer(serializers.ModelSerializer):

    image_url = serializers.CharField(source='image.image_url', read_only=True)

    class Meta:
        model = Meetup
        fields = ('id','name','description','meeting_time','location','postcode','contact','image_url')

#15. Create Mixin classes for Meetups

In, add the following headers

from meetups2.models import Meetup
from meetups2.serializers import MeetupSerializer
from rest_framework import generics

Then add the following classes:

class MeetupList(generics.ListCreateAPIView):
    queryset = Meetup.objects.all()
    serializer_class = MeetupSerializer

class MeetupDetail(generics.RetrieveUpdateDestroyAPIView):
    queryset = Meetup.objects.all()
    serializer_class = MeetupSerializer

16. Add a url for each class view

Open, add the follwing import to

from rest_framework.urlpatterns import format_suffix_patterns

Add this code to end of

urlpatterns = format_suffix_patterns(urlpatterns)

Then add the following lines to the url dispatcher tuple:

url(r'^meetups$', views.MeetupList.as_view(), name='meetup-list'),
url(r'^meetups/(?P<pk>[0-9]+)$', views.MeetupDetail.as_view(), name='meetup-detail'),

17. Enjoy

/meetups will now show you the lovely Django REST Frameworks UI for interacting with your models through REST

#18. Push to Heroku

Capture all new python dependencies in the requirements file:

pip freeze > requirements.txt

You may need to first install heroku toolbelt. Then type the following command:

heroku create

This will create a heroku app with a generated name. It will also set up your git repository with a new remote for heroku so that you can now just push your repo to heroku using the following command:

git push heroku master

Remember that you need to initialize your new heroku database:

heroku run python syncdb

Navigate to the URL and it should be working.

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