Indicators are a communication mechanism between completely different components of a Django venture that allow parts to ship notifications to set off actions in response to occasions. On this tutorial, we’ll stroll by means of the fundamentals of Django indicators, masking how they allow upkeep of modular and scalable codebase, exploring a number of the built-in indicators, and how we will outline customized indicators.

As a rule, a Django venture could have a couple of app. As an illustration, in an ecommerce venture we would have an app for person administration, an orders app, a merchandise app, a funds app, and so forth. This fashion, every app can be solely centered on a particular perform.

However on the finish of the day, all these apps ought to work in live performance to make the ecommerce venture an entire. A number of apps could be curious about figuring out when a selected occasion takes place in one other app. For instance, the product app could be curious about figuring out when a person confirms an order — which can allow the product app to replace the stock.

However how will the product app know when a person locations an order, on condition that they’re two separate purposes? To resolve this, the Django framework makes use of a sign dispatcher. With this framework, the orders app will ship a sign as soon as an order has been saved, and the merchandise app will replace the stock accordingly upon receiving of this data.

So the signaling framework permits for the purposes in a single venture to be decoupled, enabling them to speak with one another with out being tightly dependent.

Desk of Contents

Key Takeaways

  1. Overview of Django Indicators: Django indicators present a manner for decoupled purposes to obtain notifications when sure actions or occasions happen. This text explains how indicators allow communication between completely different components of a Django software, such because the orders and merchandise apps in an ecommerce venture.
  2. Working Mechanism of Indicators: Indicators in Django observe a publisher-subscriber sample, with sign senders appearing as publishers and receivers as subscribers. This text describes how indicators are arrange and used, together with the creation of customized indicators and the connection of indicators to receivers.
  3. Sensible Functions of Django Indicators: The tutorial consists of sensible examples to display the utilization of indicators in Django. These embody situations like updating stock upon order affirmation and automated creation of buyer profiles, showcasing the flexibility and utility of Django indicators in real-world purposes.

Understanding Indicators

Indicators in Django are a notification system that permits sure “senders” to inform a set of “receivers” when sure actions happen. They assist decoupled purposes get notified when explicit actions or occasions happen elsewhere within the framework. Within the context of our instance, the orders app will “ship” a sign upon the affirmation of an order, and for the reason that merchandise app is on this occasion, it would have registered to “obtain” it, after which it would take some motion upon the receipt.

How indicators work in Django

Indicators work equally to the pub–sub sample — the place the sender of the sign is the writer and the receiver of the sign is the subscriber. Which means that, for a receiver to obtain a sign, it will need to have subscribed (on this case registered) to obtain the sign.

Sign senders and receivers

A sign sender is any Python object that emits a sign, whereas a receiver is any Python perform or technique that will get executed in response to the sign being despatched. It’s additionally necessary to notice that some indicators — particularly the built-in indicators — are at all times despatched out whether or not there’s a registered receiver or not. In our instance, the orders app would be the sender of the sign and the merchandise app would be the receiver of the sign.

Setting Up a Django Challenge

To display how indicators work, let’s implement a pattern venture by following the steps laid out beneath.

Create the venture listing

mkdir my_shop

It will create a listing named my_shop that may maintain the ecommerce venture.

Create and activate a digital atmosphere

A digital atmosphere is an remoted Python atmosphere that permits us to put in the dependencies of a venture with out affecting the worldwide Python atmosphere. This implies we will have completely different initiatives working in a single machine, every with its personal dependencies and presumably working on completely different variations of Django.

To create a digital atmosphere, we’ll use the virtualenv package deal. It’s not a part of the usual Python library, so set up it with the next command:

pip set up virtualenv

Upon set up of the package deal, to create a digital atmosphere for this venture now we have to get into the my_shop listing:

cd my_shop

Create a digital atmosphere utilizing the next command:

virtualenv venv

The above command creates a digital atmosphere named venv. Having created it, now we have to activate it to make use of it.

For Linux/macOS:

. venv/bin/activate 

For Home windows:

. venvScriptsactivate

Set up Django and different dependencies

As soon as the digital atmosphere is energetic, we will set up Django and different dependencies the venture may want, however for this demonstration we simply want Django:

pip set up Django

Creating the venture

Upon profitable set up of Django, create a venture and identify it my_shop equally to the venture holder we created above:

django-admin startproject my_shop .

The above command creates a Django venture named my_shop. The dot on the finish signifies that we want to create the venture within the present listing, with out creating further directories.

Creating the person apps

We’ll now create two apps — the merchandise app and the orders app. We’ll first create the merchandise app with the default information for any Django app:

python startapp merchandise

Add the merchandise app to the put in apps of the venture, open the my_shop listing, then go to the file and go to the INSTALLED_APPS setting, including the next line of code on the backside:


That setting registers the merchandise app with the venture and permits us to run migrations that may create the database tables.

Then create the orders app:

python startapp orders

As we did for the merchandise app, we add the orders app to the INSTALLED_APPS setting too. Open the file and add the next line of code on the backside:


Defining the fashions for the apps

This demonstration will contain altering and updating some values within the database, to point some state adjustments, which finally results in some occasions going down, and for that we’ll must outline fashions for the 2 apps. Let’s outline the fashions for the merchandise app first. Open the merchandise app and go to the file and put within the following block of code:

from django.db import fashions

class Product(fashions.Mannequin):
    identify = fashions.CharField(max_length=100)
    description = fashions.TextField()
    value = fashions.DecimalField(max_digits=10, decimal_places=2)
    amount = fashions.PositiveIntegerField(default=0)

    def __str__(self):
        return self.identify

The code above defines a product mannequin that can be mapped to a merchandise desk within the database — with just a few fields which are fairly descriptive.

Subsequent outline the orders fashions. Open the orders app and put within the following code to the file:

from django.db import fashions
from merchandise.fashions import Product

class Order(fashions.Mannequin):
    product = fashions.ForeignKey(Product, on_delete=fashions.CASCADE)
    amount = fashions.PositiveIntegerField()
    total_price = fashions.DecimalField(max_digits=10, decimal_places=2, clean=True, null=True)
    confirmed = fashions.BooleanField(default=False)

    def save(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.total_price = self.product.value * self.amount
        tremendous().save(*args, **kwargs)

    def __str__(self):
        return f"{self.amount} x {self.product.identify}"

Having outlined the fashions, now we have to run migrations. It will create the tables within the database. The Django ORM avails varied database administration instructions, however for now we’ll use the 2 which are used to arrange the database tables.

Up up to now, we haven’t run the venture to check if it’s setup appropriately. Earlier than working the migrations to create the 2 new fashions, let’s run the venture utilizing the next command:

python runserver

The above command fires up the event server, and if every part is about up appropriately, we should always have an output much like the one beneath:

Watching for file adjustments with StatReloader
Performing system checks...

System test recognized no points (0 silenced).

You've got 18 unapplied migration(s). Your venture could not work correctly till you apply the migrations for app(s): admin, auth, contenttypes, periods.
Run 'python migrate' to use them.
January 15, 2024 - 11:22:19
Django model 5.0.1, utilizing settings 'sitepoint_django_signals_tutorial.settings'
Beginning improvement server at
Give up the server with CONTROL-C.

If now we have comparable output, which means the venture is configured correctly and now we have a fundamental Django venture working. If an error does happen, I like to recommend heading over to the neighborhood to get some options about the best way to cope with them.

Whereas nonetheless on the output, let’s notice the fourth line that begins with, “You’ve got 18 unapplied migrations”. If we select to make use of a database for our Django venture, being a batteries-included framework, Django will create some tables meant for administration, and that’s what this warning is about. It implies that we haven’t created the Django administration tables.

To create them, run the next command:

python migrate

Working that command creates fairly numerous tables. However the place are the tables being created? We haven’t arrange a database to be used in our venture but! Django ships with SQLite3 preconfigured by default. Subsequently, we don’t must do any configuration for our venture to work with SQLite.

Now that the Django administration tables have been created, now we have to create the tables for the merchandise and orders apps. To do this, we’ll want two units of instructions, and that is the format adopted each time we wish to create a brand new desk for newly outlined mannequin. The primary command converts or maps our mannequin class definition to the SQL wanted to create the database tables, and the command is makemigrations:

python makemigrations

Working that command with out specifying any app creates migrations for all apps. The following factor is to use the migrations, which finally creates the tables, utilizing the next command:

python migrate

This command creates the tables for 2 apps that now we have on this pattern software.

Fundamentals of Django Indicators

On this part, let’s delve into the basics of Django indicators. We’ll discover the steps to observe to get indicators working in an software. We’ll do this by making incremental adjustments within the venture we’ve simply arrange.

Importing needed modules

To get indicators to work in our venture, it’s important to import the required modules. For a begin, let’s import the Sign and receiver from the django.dispatch module. The Sign class is used to create a sign occasion — particularly if we wish to create customized indicators. Within the pattern venture, within the orders app, we’re solely going to import the Sign class, whereas the receiver module can be imported within the merchandise app. The receiver module avails the receiver decorator, which connects the sign handler to the sign sender.

Whereas the django.dispatch module serves because the core module for outlining customized indicators, Django affords built-in indicators which are accessible by means of different modules. We’ll cowl them in additional element within the built-in indicators part.

Utilizing the pattern venture, let’s see how we might add the indicators performance. The Django documentation recommends that we create a file that may comprise all of the code for the indicators. Within the root of the merchandise and orders app, create a file and identify it

Making a sign occasion

Within the orders app, open the file and put within the following code:

from django.dispatch import Sign

order_confirmed = Sign()

The code above creates an order_confirmed sign that can be despatched when an order is confirmed, albeit manually.

Connecting indicators in

In order to make the sign sending and receipt performance accessible all through the lifecycle of the appliance, now we have to attach the indicators within the app configuration file. We’re going to do that for each purposes.

Open the orders app then go to the file, replace the OrdersConfig class with the next technique:

def prepared(self):
    import orders.indicators

The prepared() technique is a built-in technique of the AppConfig class that’s prolonged by the configuration courses of the actual app we’re working with. On this explicit case, the OrdersConfig extends it, and therefore the strategies, together with prepared(), can be found for it to increase and override. Subsequently, overriding the strategy on this case units indicators to be despatched when the app is totally loaded.

Subsequent step is to attach the indicators within the merchandise app. Open it and go the file and put within the following block of code:

def prepared(self):
    import merchandise.indicators

This addition in each apps ensures that indicators can be despatched when the request response cycle begins.

Making a sign sender

Django offers two strategies to allow sign sending. We will use Sign.ship() or Sign.send_robust(). Their distinction is that the ship() technique doesn’t catch any exceptions raised by receivers.

To ship a sign, the strategy takes the next format:

Sign.ship(sender, **kwargs)

Sign is considerably of a placeholder to imply the sending sign — akin to order_confirmed.ship() — whereas the sender argument may very well be the app sending the sign or a mannequin or another a part of the framework that may ship indicators. The sender in our instance would be the occasion of the order that has simply been confirmed as sender=order.

Let’s see the best way to use the order_confirmed sign in our pattern software. Since we wish to ship the sign upon the affirmation of an order, within the view that may deal with order processing, that’s the place we would like ship the sign from as soon as a person confirms their order. So open the orders app the and put within the following block of code:

from django.shortcuts import get_object_or_404
from django.http import HttpResponse
from django.dispatch import receiver
from orders.fashions import Order

def confirm_order(request, order_id):
    if request.technique == 'POST':
        order = get_object_or_404(Order, id=order_id)



        return HttpResponse(f"Order {order_id} confirmed efficiently.")
        return HttpResponse("Invalid request technique. Use POST to substantiate the order.")

Connecting a sign handler (receiver)

A sign handler is a perform that will get executed when an related sign is distributed. Django offers two methods of connecting a handler to a sign sender. We will join the sign manually, or we will use the receiver decorator.

Guide connection

If we select to do it manually, we will do it this manner:

from orders.indicators import order_confirmed


Utilizing the decorator

Utilizing the @receiver decorator, we’re in a position to affiliate a sign sender with a selected sign handler. Let’s use this technique. Create a perform that may replace the stock when the order_confirmed sign is distributed. This handler can be in merchandise app. Open the merchandise/ file and put it the next code:

from django.dispatch import receiver
from orders.indicators import order_confirmed

def update_quantity_on_order_confirmation(sender, **kwargs):
    Sign handler to replace the stock when an order is confirmed.
    product = sender.product

    product.amount -= sender.amount

    print(f"Amount up to date for {product.identify}. New amount: {product.amount}")

The handler perform ought to at all times soak up a sender and &ast;&ast;kwargs arguments. Django will throw an error if we write the perform with out the &ast;&ast;kwargs arguments. That may be a pre-emptive measure to make sure our handler perform is ready to deal with arguments in future in the event that they come up.

Constructed-in Indicators in Django

Django ships with some built-in indicators for varied use circumstances. It has indicators despatched by the mannequin system; it has indicators despatched by django-admin; it has indicators despatched in the course of the request/response cycle; it has indicators despatched by database wrappers; there are additionally indicators despatched when working exams.

Mannequin indicators

Mannequin indicators are indicators despatched by the mannequin system. These are indicators despatched when varied occasions happen or are about to happen in our fashions. We will entry the indicators like so: django.db.fashions.indicators.<the_signal_to_use>


This sign is distributed originally of the mannequin save() technique. It sends varied arguments with it: the sender is the mannequin class sending the sign, occasion is the precise occasion being saved, uncooked is a Boolean worth which is true if the mannequin is saved precisely as introduced.


This sign is distributed on the finish of mannequin save() technique. This can be a notably helpful sign and it may be utilized in varied circumstances. For instance, within the my_shop venture, we will use it to inform the merchandise app upon the affirmation of an order. Just like the pre_save sign, it additionally sends some arguments alongside — the sender, occasion, created, uncooked, utilizing and update_fields. most of those arguments are non-compulsory, however understanding the consequences of their utilization goes an extended technique to making certain we use indicators appropriately in our software.

Request/response indicators

Request/response indicators are indicators which are despatched out by the core framework in the course of the request/response cycle. We will entry the indicators like so: django.core.indicators.<the_signal>.


This sign is distributed when Django begins processing a request.


This sign is distributed when Django finishes sending a HTTP response to a consumer.

The framework avails fairly numerous built-in indicators to be used. Be taught extra about them within the signals documentation.

Tips on how to use built-in indicators in a venture

Utilizing built-in indicators in a venture will not be so completely different from utilizing customized indicators. The one distinction is that we don’t must manually initialize sending the sign, because it’s despatched out robotically by the framework whether or not there’s a receiver registered or not. In different phrases, we don’t need to explicitly name a strategies like Sign.ship() to set off built-in indicators, as Django takes care of that.

As an illustration, let’s see how we might make the most of the post_save to display order affirmation and replace the stock. Within the merchandise/ file, replace the code like so:

from django.db.fashions.indicators import post_save
from django.dispatch import receiver
from orders.fashions import Order

@receiver(post_save, sender=Order)  
def update_quantity_on_order_confirmation(sender, occasion, created, **kwargs):
    if created:
        product = occasion.product

        product.amount -= occasion.amount


The above code imports the post_save sign from the fashions.indicators. I additionally imports the receiver module from django.dispatch and eventually the Order mannequin from the orders app.

Within the @receiver decorator, other than together with the post_save sign because the sender, we additionally embody the mannequin from which we wish to pay attention for indicators from. The explanation for that is that every one fashions in our venture will emit the post_save sign, so we wish to be particular as to which mannequin we’re listening to indicators from.

Within the handler perform, notice that updating the stock will solely occur if the created possibility is true. The explanation for that is that post_save sign is distributed for brand new order creation situations and updates to orders, so we wish to replace the stock when a brand new order is created.

Within the orders app, we’ll replace the confirm_order view and cast off the half the place we ship the sign manually, for the reason that post_save sign can be despatched robotically by the Order mannequin class.

Sensible Examples

Whereas we’ve seen the utilization of indicators to substantiate an order, there’s fairly numerous completely different ways in which indicators can be utilized in our initiatives, so let’s take a look at just a few examples.

Instance 1: Utilizing indicators for automated buyer profile creation

To increase on the ecommerce venture, we might have an app for account administration. That is the place we would create varied accounts for customers in our system the place we’d have administrative customers, and different customers like clients. We might arrange our system in akin to manner that customers who signal as much as the system within the frontend can be clients, and we might have one other manner of making superusers of the system. So on this case, we might even have an app for buyer administration, however have clients created upon signing up.

This fashion, the accounts administration app can be liable for accounts creation, and as soon as an account is created for a person, a buyer profile can be robotically created for them.

Let’s see an instance:

from django.db.fashions.indicators import post_save
from django.dispatch import receiver
from django.contrib.auth.fashions import Consumer
from clients.fashions import Buyer

@receiver(post_save, sender=Consumer)
def create_customer_profile(sender, occasion, created, **kwargs):
    if created:

On this code instance, a sign is employed to robotically create a buyer profile each time a brand new person is registered. The create_customer_profile perform is linked to the post_save sign for the Consumer mannequin utilizing the @receiver decorator. When a brand new person occasion is created (as indicated by the created flag), the perform generates a corresponding buyer profile by using the Buyer mannequin’s supervisor to create an occasion with a reference to the newly registered person. This method streamlines the method of associating buyer profiles with new person registrations, enhancing the effectivity and maintainability of the appliance’s person administration system.

Instance 2: Triggering e-mail notifications with indicators

On this use case, we might have a running a blog software the place the authors are notified by means of an e-mail when a reader leaves a remark for them on their weblog.

Let’s see an instance:

from django.db.fashions.indicators import post_save
from django.dispatch import receiver
from django.core.mail import send_mail
from weblog.fashions import Remark

@receiver(post_save, sender=Remark)
def send_comment_notification(sender, occasion, created, **kwargs):
    if created:
        topic = 'New Remark Notification'
        message = 'A brand new remark has been posted in your weblog.'
        from_email = '[email protected]'
        recipient_list = []

        send_mail(topic, message, from_email, recipient_list)

The above code makes use of indicators to set off an e-mail notification when a brand new remark is posted on a weblog. The send_comment_notification perform is linked to the post_save sign for the Remark mannequin, making certain its execution upon every save. The perform checks if the remark is newly created (not up to date) and, if that’s the case, constructs an e-mail notification with a predefined topic and message. The e-mail is distributed to the writer of the weblog to inform them of the brand new remark. This method permits automated and real-time e-mail notifications for weblog authors, enhancing person engagement and interplay with the platform.


On this tutorial, we’ve lined indicators in Django, what they’re and the best way to use them. We’ve additionally checked out the best way to outline customized indicators, built-in indicators and some actual world use circumstances of indicators.