Django 1.1 alpha 1 release notes

February 23, 2009

Welcome to Django 1.1 alpha 1!

This is the first in a series of preview/development releases leading up to the eventual release of Django 1.1, currently scheduled to take place in April 2009. This release is primarily targeted at developers who are interested in trying out new features and testing the Django codebase to help identify and resolve bugs prior to the final 1.1 release.

As such, this release is not intended for production use, and any such use is discouraged.

What’s new in Django 1.1 alpha 1

ORM improvements

Two major enhancements have been added to Django’s object-relational mapper (ORM):

Aggregate support

It’s now possible to run SQL aggregate queries (i.e. COUNT(), MAX(), MIN(), etc.) from within Django’s ORM. You can choose to either return the results of the aggregate directly, or else annotate the objects in a QuerySet with the results of the aggregate query.

This feature is available as new aggregate() and annotate() methods, and is covered in detail in the ORM aggregation documentation.

Query expressions

Queries can now refer to a another field on the query and can traverse relationships to refer to fields on related models. This is implemented in the new F object; for full details, including examples, consult the documentation for F expressions.

Performance improvements

Tests written using Django’s testing framework now run dramatically faster (as much as 10 times faster in many cases).

This was accomplished through the introduction of transaction-based tests: when using django.test.TestCase, your tests will now be run in a transaction which is rolled back when finished, instead of by flushing and re-populating the database. This results in an immense speedup for most types of unit tests. See the documentation for TestCase and TransactionTestCase for a full description, and some important notes on database support.

Other improvements

Other new features and changes introduced since Django 1.0 include:

  • The CSRF protection middleware has been split into two classes – CsrfViewMiddleware checks incoming requests, and CsrfResponseMiddleware processes outgoing responses. The combined CsrfMiddleware class (which does both) remains for backwards-compatibility, but using the split classes is now recommended in order to allow fine-grained control of when and where the CSRF processing takes place.
  • reverse() and code which uses it (e.g., the {% url %} template tag) now works with URLs in Django’s administrative site, provided that the admin URLs are set up via include( (sending admin requests to the view still works, but URLs in the admin will not be “reversible” when configured this way).
  • The include() function in Django URLconf modules can now accept sequences of URL patterns (generated by patterns()) in addition to module names.
  • Instances of Django forms (see the forms overview) now have two additional methods, hidden_fields() and visible_fields(), which return the list of hidden – i.e., <input type="hidden"> – and visible fields on the form, respectively.
  • The redirect_to generic view now accepts an additional keyword argument permanent. If permanent is True, the view will emit an HTTP permanent redirect (status code 301). If False, the view will emit an HTTP temporary redirect (status code 302).
  • A new database lookup type – week_day – has been added for DateField and DateTimeField. This type of lookup accepts a number between 1 (Sunday) and 7 (Saturday), and returns objects where the field value matches that day of the week. See the full list of lookup types for details.
  • The {% for %} tag in Django’s template language now accepts an optional {% empty %} clause, to be displayed when {% for %} is asked to loop over an empty sequence. See the list of built-in template tags for examples of this.

The Django 1.1 roadmap

Before Django 1.1 goes final, several other preview/development releases will be made available. The current schedule consists of at least the following:

  • Week of March 20, 2009: Django 1.1 beta 1, at which point Django 1.1 will be in “feature freeze”: no new features will be implemented for 1.1 past that point, and all new feature work will be deferred to Django 1.2.
  • Week of April 2, 2009: Django 1.1 release candidate. At this point all strings marked for translation must freeze to allow translations to be submitted in advance of the final release.
  • Week of April 13, 2009: Django 1.1 final.

If deemed necessary, additional alpha, beta or release candidate packages will be issued prior to the final 1.1 release.

What you can do to help

In order to provide a high-quality 1.1 release, we need your help. Although this alpha release is, again, not intended for production use, you can help the Django team by trying out the alpha codebase in a safe test environment and reporting any bugs or issues you encounter. The Django ticket tracker is the central place to search for open issues:

Please open new tickets if no existing ticket corresponds to a problem you’re running into.

Additionally, discussion of Django development, including progress toward the 1.1 release, takes place daily on the django-developers mailing list:

... and in the #django-dev IRC channel on If you’re interested in helping out with Django’s development, feel free to join the discussions there.

Django’s online documentation also includes pointers on how to contribute to Django:

Contributions on any level – developing code, writing documentation or simply triaging tickets and helping to test proposed bugfixes – are always welcome and appreciated.

Development sprints for Django 1.1 will also be taking place at PyCon US 2009, on the dedicated sprint days (March 30 through April 2), and anyone who wants to help out is welcome to join in, either in person at PyCon or virtually in the IRC channel or on the mailing list.