[Fixed]-What is an "app" in Django?


What makes an app (for us) is one thing:

An App Is The Unit Of Reuse

If we might want to split it off to use somewhere else, it’s an app.

If it has a reusable data model, it’s an app. User Profiles: App. Customers: App. Customer Statistical History (this is hard to explain without providing too many details): App. Reporting: App. Actuarial Analysis: App. Vendor API’s for data gathering: App.

If it is unique and will never be reused (i.e., customer specific) it’s an app that depends on other apps. Data Loads are customer specific. Each is an app that builds on an existing pair of apps (Batch Uploads, and Statistical History)



Django apps are bundles of reusable functionality. When starting off it’s easy to just use one custom app for your project, but the “Django way” is to break it up into separate apps that each only do one thing. You can take a look at django.contrib for examples of really well made reusable apps.

A recent example of mine: a client needed a way to import CSV data into the Django models. The easiest way would be to just add a model with a FileField and write a quick parser for the specific format of what they are uploading. That would work fine until the format changed and I had to go make the parser match. But this is a commonly repeated task (importing data) and unrelated to the existing app (managing that data) so I broke it out on its own. This pluggable app can import data for any active model. Now the next time a client needs import functionality I just add this code to installed_apps and run syncdb.

It’s a judgement call when to break out an app onto its own, but the rule of thumb for me is if I’m likely to do something again I’ll take the extra time to make it a generic app. That means I’ve created some tiny apps (some just contain a template tag), but it’s little overhead for the future gains.


User management could very well be an app, if you are not going to use Django’s built in user framework.

It has user interfaces and defined models for stored data, and it is really separate from the Blog or the Wiki application (although the information will be shared).

As long as both applications are in the same ‘project’ they should use the same settings for the DB. You should be able to by just making sure the proper models are imported where you are trying to use them.

See this link for a little more information.

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