Django 1.1 beta 1 release notes

March 23, 2009

Welcome to Django 1.1 beta 1!

This is the second 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 beta 1

See also

The 1.1 alpha release notes, which has a list of everything new between Django 1.0 and Django 1.1 alpha.

Model improvements

A number of features have been added to Django’s model layer:

“Unmanaged” models

You can now control whether or not Django creates database tables for a model using the managed model option. This defaults to True, meaning that Django will create the appropriate database tables in syncdb and remove them as part of reset command. That is, Django manages the database table’s lifecycle.

If you set this to False, however, no database table creating or deletion will be automatically performed for this model. This is useful if the model represents an existing table or a database view that has been created by some other means.

For more details, see the documentation for the managed option.

Proxy models

You can now create proxy models: subclasses of existing models that only add Python behavior and aren’t represented by a new table. That is, the new model is a proxy for some underlying model, which stores all the real data.

All the details can be found in the proxy models documentation. This feature is similar on the surface to unmanaged models, so the documentation has an explanation of how proxy models differ from unmanaged models.

Deferred fields

In some complex situations, your models might contain fields which could contain a lot of data (for example, large text fields), or require expensive processing to convert them to Python objects. If you know you don’t need those particular fields, you can now tell Django not to retrieve them from the database.

You’ll do this with the new queryset methods defer() and only().

New admin features

Since 1.1 alpha, a couple of new features have been added to Django’s admin application:

Editable fields on the change list

You can now make fields editable on the admin list views via the new list_editable admin option. These fields will show up as form widgets on the list pages, and can be edited and saved in bulk.

Admin “actions”

You can now define admin actions that can perform some action to a group of models in bulk. Users will be able to select objects on the change list page and then apply these bulk actions to all selected objects.

Django ships with one pre-defined admin action to delete a group of objects in one fell swoop.

Testing improvements

A couple of small but very useful improvements have been made to the testing framework:

  • The test Client now can automatically follow redirects with the follow argument to Client.get() and This makes testing views that issue redirects simpler.
  • It’s now easier to get at the template context in the response returned the test client: you’ll simply access the context as request.context[key]. The old way, which treats request.context as a list of contexts, one for each rendered template, is still available if you need it.

Conditional view processing

Django now has much better support for conditional view processing using the standard ETag and Last-Modified HTTP headers. This means you can now easily short-circuit view processing by testing less-expensive conditions. For many views this can lead to a serious improvement in speed and reduction in bandwidth.

Other improvements

Finally, a grab-bag of other neat features made their way into this beta release, including:

  • The dumpdata management command now accepts individual model names as arguments, allowing you to export the data just from particular models.
  • There’s a new safeseq template filter which works just like safe for lists, marking each item in the list as safe.
  • Cache backends now support incr() and decr() commands to increment and decrement the value of a cache key. On cache backends that support atomic increment/decrement – most notably, the memcached backend – these operations will be atomic, and quite fast.
  • Django now can easily delegate authentication to the Web server via a new authentication backend that supports the standard REMOTE_USER environment variable used for this purpose.
  • There’s a new django.shortcuts.redirect() function that makes it easier to issue redirects given an object, a view name, or a URL.
  • The postgresql_psycopg2 backend now supports native PostgreSQL autocommit. This is an advanced, PostgreSQL-specific feature, that can make certain read-heavy applications a good deal faster.

The Django 1.1 roadmap

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

  • 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 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 beta release is, again, not intended for production use, you can help the Django team by trying out the beta 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.