Categories
Django Python

My First Django Project

I’ve been writing code for about 15 years (on and off) and Python for about 4 or 5 years. With Python it’s mostly small scripts and such. I’ve never considered myself a ‘real programmer’ (Python or otherwise).

About a year ago, I decided to change that (for Python at the very least) when I set out to do 100 Days Of Web in Python from Talk Python To Me. Part of that course were two sections taught by Bob regarding Django. I had tried learn Flask before and found it … overwhelming to say the least.

Sure, you could get a ‘hello world’ app in 5 lines of code, but then what? If you wanted to do just about anything it required ‘something’ else.

I had tried Django before, but wasn’t able to get over the ‘hump’ of deploying. Watching the Django section in the course made it just click for me. Finally, a tool to help me make AND deploy something! But what?

The Django App I wanted to create

A small project I had done previously was to write a short script for my Raspberry Pi to tell me when LA Dodger (Baseball) games were on (it also has beloved Dodger Announcer Vin Scully say his catch phrase, “It’s time for Dodger baseball!!!”).

I love the Dodgers. But I also love baseball. I love baseball so much I have on my bucket list a trip to visit all 30 MLB stadia. Given my love of baseball, and my new found fondness of Django, I thought I could write something to keep track of visited stadia. I mean, how hard could it really be?

What does it do?

My Django Site uses the MLB API to search for games and allows a user to indicate a game seen in person. This allows them to track which stadia you’ve been to. My site is composed of 4 apps:

  • Users
  • Content
  • API
  • Stadium Tracker

The API is written using Django Rest Framework (DRF) and is super simple to implement. It’s also really easy to changes to your models if you need to.

The Users app was inspired by Will S Vincent ( a member of the Django Software Foundation, author, and podcaster). He (and others) recommend creating a custom user model to more easily extend the User model later on. Almost all of what’s in my Users App is directly taken from his recommendations.

The Content App was created to allow me to update the home page, and about page (and any other content based page) using the database instead of updating html in a template.

The last App, and the reason for the site itself, is the Stadium Tracker! I created a search tool that allows a user to find a game on a specific day between two teams. Once found, the user can add that game to ‘Games Seen’. This will then update the list of games seen for that user AND mark the location of the game as a stadium visited. The best part is that because the game is from the MLB API I can do some interesting things:

  1. I can get the actual stadium from visited which allows the user to indicate historic (i.e. retired) stadia
  2. I can get details of the game (final score, hits, runs, errors, stories from MLB, etc) and display them on a details page.

That’s great and all, but what does it look like?

The Search Tool

Stadia Listing

National League West

American League West

What’s next?

I had created a roadmap at one point and was able to get through some (but not all) of those items. Items left to do:

  • Get Test coverage to at least 80% across the app (currently sits at 70%)
  • Allow users to be based on social networks (right now I’m looking at Twitter, and Instagram) probably with the Django Allauth Package
  • Add ability to for minor league team search and stadium tracking (this is already part of the MLB API, I just never implemented it)
  • Allow user to search for range of dates for teams
  • Update the theme … it’s the default MUI CSS which is nice, but I’d rather it was something a little bit different
  • Convert Swagger implementation from django-rest-swagger to drf-yasg

Final Thoughts

Writing this app did several things for me.

First, it removed some of the tutorial paralysis that I felt. Until I wrote this I didn’t think I was a web programmer (and I still don’t really), and therefore had no business writing a web app.

Second, it taught me how to use git more effectively. This directly lead to me contributing to Django itself (in a very small way via updates to documentation). It also allowed me to feel comfortable enough to write my first post on this very blog.

Finally, it introduced me to the wonderful ecosystem around Django. There is so much to learn, but the great thing is that EVERYONE is learning something. There isn’t anyone that knows it all which makes it easier to ask questions! And helps me in feeling more confident to answer questions when asked.

The site is deployed on Heroku and can be seen here. The code for the site can be seen here.

This article was also posted on the PyBit.es Blog

Categories
Django PyCharm Python

Mischief Managed

A few weeks back I decided to try and update my Python version with Homebrew. I had already been through an issue where the an update like this was going to cause an issue, but I also knew what the fix was.

With this knowledge in hand I happily performed the update. To my surprise, 2 things happened:

  1. The update seemed to have me go from Python 3.7.6 to 3.7.3
  2. When trying to reestablish my Virtual Environment two packages wouldn’t installed: psycopg2 and django-heroku

Now, the update/backdate isn’t the end of the world. Quite honestly, next weekend I’m going to just ditch homebrew and go with the standard download from Python.org because I’m hoping that this non-sense won’t be an issue anymore

The second issue was a bit more irritating though. I spent several hours trying to figure out what the problem was, only to find out, there wasn’t one really.

The ‘fix’ to the issue was to

  1. Open PyCharm
  2. Go to Setting
  3. Go to ‘Project Interpreter’
  4. Click the ‘+’ to add a package
  5. Look for the package that wouldn’t install
  6. Click ‘Install Package’
  7. Viola … mischief managed

The next time this happens I’m just buying a new computer

Categories
Contributing Django

My first commit to an Open Source Project: Django

Last September the annual Django Con was held in San Diego. I really wanted to go, but because of other projects and conferences for my job, I wasn’t able to make it.

The next best thing to to watch the videos from DjangoCon on YouTube. I watched a couple of the videos, but one that really caught my attention was by Carlton Gibson titled “Your Web Framework Needs You: An Update by Carlton Gibson”.

I took what Carlton said to heart and thought, I really should be able to do something to help.

I went to the Django Issues site and searched for an Easy Pickings issue that involved documentation and found issue 31006 “Document how to escape a date/time format character for the |date and |time filters.”

I read the steps on what I needed to do to submit a pull request, but since it was my first time ever participating like this … I was a bit lost.

Luckily there isn’t anything that you can break, so I was able to wonder around for a bit and get my bearings.

I forked the GitHub repo and I cloned it locally.

I then spent an embarasingly long time trying to figure out where the change was going to need to be made, and exactly what needed to change.

Finally, with my changes made, I pushed my code changes to GitHub and waited.

Within a few hours Mariusz Felisiak replied back and asked about a suggestion he had made (but which I missed). I dug back into the documentation, found what he was referring to, and made (what I thought) was his suggested change.

Another push and a bit more waiting.

Mariusz Felisiak replied back with some input about the change I pushed up, and I realized I had missed the mark on what he was suggesting.

OK. Third time’s a charm, right?

Turns out, in this case it was. I pushed up one last time and this time, my changes were merged into the master and just like that, I am now a contributor to Django (albeit a very, very, very minor contributor).

Overall, this was a great experience, both with respect to learning about contributing to an open source project, as well as learning about GitHub.

I’m hoping that with the holidays upon us I’ll be able to find the time to pick up one or two (maybe even three) Easy Pickings issues from the Django issue tracker.

Categories
Django

Updating the models for my Django Rest Framework API

I’ve been working on a Django project which would allow users to track games that they’ve seen and, therefore, see what stadia they have visited.

This is all being done at a site i set up called StadiaTracker.com. Initially when constructing my model I kept it relatively simple. I had one model that had two fields. The two fields tied the User from my CustomUser Model to a Game ID that I retrieve from an API that MLB provides.

I thought this simple approach would be the best approach. In addition to having a Django App I set up a Django Rest Framework (DRF) API. My initial plan was to have a DRF backend with a Vue (or React) front end. (I still want to do that, but I really wanted to try and finish a project before proceeding down that path).

After some development and testing I quickly realized that the page loads for the app were suffering because of the number of API calls to MLB that were being made.

I created a new model to tie the user id (still from the CustomUser model I’d created) to the game id, but in addition I’d get and store the following information:

  • Home Team Name
  • Home Team Score
  • Home Team Hits
  • Home Team Errors
  • Away Team Name
  • Away Team Score
  • Away Team Hits
  • Away Team Errors
  • Game Recap Headline
  • Game Recap Summary
  • Game Date / Time

By storing all of this my views could render more quickly because they didn’t have to go to the MLB API to get the information.

Of course, once I did this I realized that the work I had done on the DRF API would also need to be updated.

Initially I kept putting off the refactoring that was going to have to be done. Finally, I just sat down and did it. And you know what, within 10 minutes I was done.

I only had to change 3 files:

  • serializers.py
  • urls.py
  • views.py

For the searializers.py and views.py all I had to do was add the new model and then copy and paste what I had done for the previous model.

For the urls.py it was just a simple matter of updating the the DRF path and detail path to use the new views I had just created.

It was so amazingly simple I could barely believe it. This thing I had put off for a couple of weeks because I was afraid it was going to be really hard, just wasn’t.

Categories
Django Heroku

My first project after completing the 100 Days of Web in Python

As I mentioned in my last post, after completing the 100 Days of Web in Python I was moving forward with a Django app I wrote.

I pushed up my first version to Heroku on August 24. At that point it would allow users to add a game that they had seen, but when it disaplyed the games it would show a number (the game’s ID) instead of anything useful.

A few nights ago (Aug 28) I committed a version which allows the user to see which game they add, i.e. there are actual human readable details versus just a number!

The page can be found here. It feels really good to have it up in a place where people can actually see it. That being said I discovered a a couple of things on the publish that I’d like to fix.

I have a method that returns details about the game. One problem is that if any of the elements return None then the front page returns a Server 500 error … this is not good.

It took a bit of googling to see what the issue was. The way I found the answer was to see an idea to turn Debug to True on my ‘prod’ server and see the output. That helped me identify the issue.

To ‘fix’ it in the short term I just deleted all of the data for the games seen in the database.

I’m glad that it happened because it taught me some stuff that I knew I needed to do, but maybe didn’t pay enough attention to … like writing unit tests.

Based on that experience I wrote out a roadmap of sorts for the updates I want to get into the app:

  • Tests for all classes and methods
  • Ability to add minor league games
  • Create a Stadium Listing View
  • More robust search tool that allows a single team to be selected
  • Logged in user view for only their games
  • Create a List View of games logged per stadium
  • Create a List View of attendees (i.e. users) at games logged
  • Add more user features:
    • Ability to add a picture
    • Ability to add Twitter handle
    • Ability to add Instagram handle
    • Ability to add game notes
  • Create a Heroku Pipeline to ensure that pushes to PROD are done through a UAT site
  • Create a blog (as a pelican standalone sub domain)

It’s a lot of things but I’ve already done some things that I wanted to:

  • Added SSL
  • Set up to go to actual domain instead of Heroku subdomain

I’ll write up how I did the set up for the site so I can do it again. It’s not well documented when your registrar is Hover and you’ve got your site on Heroku. Man … it was an tough.