Ralph/ February 23, 2020/ Bootstrap, Django

This is Part 3 of Building a Dashboard with Django and Bootstrap:


If you follow the first part of this blog topic, you have a running Django dashboard.

But, the content ist still static. Lets review the current state:

Prepare our Django project

Right now, the whole content of our Django project is provided by the dashboard template


Looking at our web site, you will see the different side menu items. So, intentionally, our web site should display different pages. And each page should provide the dynamic content.

The final goal of this part is to change our web app, so that each side item navigates us to a different page. For this, we have to take care about two things:

  • Navigation: how to we get to another page in our app
  • Project Structure: where to place the required components for each page

Basics of Navigation

Navigation usually is the process of getting from one page to another by clicking on a link.

So, we need to things:

  • the source page, containing the link
  • the destination page
  • the link, pointing to the destination page

Let’s take a look into the site template with the side menu:

The corresponding code in the side template is

<div id="collapseTwo" class="collapse" aria-labelledby="headingTwo">
	<div class="bg-white py-2 collapse-inner rounded">
		<h6 class="collapse-header">Custom Components:</h6>
		<a class="collapse-item" href="buttons.html">Buttons</a>
		<a class="collapse-item" href="cards.html">Cards</a>

This is the result:

Linking to a html page is not possible, because Django does not work with html pages. Navigation in Django works with urls (in urls.py) and views in (views.py).

We must replace the html link tag (<a href="buttons.html">) with an Django-conform code. Read here for more details and the basics.

The idea behind the navigation is

Define the needed links/buttons
Give each link a name“buttons”
Define, which view to call for this linkcomponents/buttons/views.py
Tell Django, how to insert this link in a html page<a href="{% url 'buttons' %}">Buttons</a>

With this in mind, we change our site template for the side navigation (e. g. for the components menu):

But, if you save the template and try to view the web page, you will see this error:

We missed to tell Django, what to do when the corresponding link for this name is requested. We have to tell Django to use the view defined in buttons/views.py to generate the resulting view/page.

So, change the global url mapping file dashboard/urls.py

import dashboard.apps.components.buttons.views as ButtonsViews
import dashboard.apps.components.cards.views as CardsViews

urlpatterns = [
    path('', include('dashboard.apps.urls')),

    path('buttons', 	ButtonsViews.IndexView.as_view(),   name='buttons'),
    path('cards',       CardsViews.IndexView.as_view(),     name='cards'),

    path('admin/', admin.site.urls),


from django.shortcuts import render
from django.views import generic

class IndexView(generic.TemplateView):
    template_name = 'buttons/base.html'


from django.shortcuts import render
from django.views import generic

class IndexView(generic.TemplateView):
    template_name = 'cards/base.html'


{% extends 'site/base.html' %}
{% load static %}

{% block content %}
<h1 style="text-align: center">CARDS</h1>
{% endblock content %}


{% extends 'site/base.html' %}
{% load static %}

{% block content %}
<h1 style="text-align: center">BUTTONS</h1>
{% endblock content %}

Save everything and view at the resulting page

What happens, from showing the page, clicking on the link until you see the final result:

  • Django create the side menu item Cards
  • with the corresponding link localhost:9000/cards
  • which will be the destination page, if you click on the link
  • and finally, Django creates the desired page (through view.py)

Namespaces and structure

Now, think about the names, e. g. buttons and cards in our Components.

Your project is getting bigger and you plan to add an additional page info with general information for both Components and Utilities menu.

So, you will have to additional files, for example

  • dashboard/apps/components/info/views.py
  • dashboard/apps/utilities/info/views.py

The corresponding url mapping (urls.py) could look like this:

import dashboard.apps.components.info.views as ComponentInfoViews
import dashboard.apps.utilities.info.views as UtilitiesInfoViews

urlpatterns = [
    path('', include('dashboard.apps.urls')),

    path('info', ComponentInfoViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='info'),
    path('info', UtilitiesInfoViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='info'),

Two pages with the same name (info) in different views.py!

Of course, we could choose different names and link (component_info, utilities_info), but this not a good programming style.

We will choose a more modern way of programming

  • Spread the responsibility over separate, independent modules
  • Name these modules with different names

What does this mean? We will have

  • a separate module frontend, only responsible for the start page (frontend)
  • a separate module components, responsible for all components
  • a separate module utilities, responsible for all utilities
  • a separate module pages, responsible for all pages

Resulting folder structure and file content

File dashbard/urls.py

urlpatterns = [
    path('', include('dashboard.apps.urls')),
    path('admin/',	admin.site.urls),

File dashbard/apps/urls.py

from django.urls import path
from django.urls.conf import include

from dashboard.apps.frontend.views import IndexView

app_name = 'app'

urlpatterns = [
    path('', IndexView.as_view(), name='index'),
    path('pages/', include('dashboard.apps.pages.urls')),
    path('components/', include('dashboard.apps.components.urls')),
    path('utilities/', include('dashboard.apps.utilities.urls')),

File dashbard/apps/components/urls.py

from django.urls import path

import dashboard.apps.components.buttons.views as ButtonsViews
import dashboard.apps.components.cards.views as CardsViews

app_name = 'components'

urlpatterns = [
    path('', ButtonsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='index'),
    path('buttons/', ButtonsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='buttons'),
    path('cards/', CardsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='cards'),

File dashbard/apps/utilities/urls.py

from django.urls import path

import dashboard.apps.utilities.colors.views as ColorsViews
import dashboard.apps.utilities.borders.views as BordersViews
import dashboard.apps.utilities.animations.views as AnimationsViews
import dashboard.apps.utilities.others.views as OthersViews

app_name = 'utilities'

urlpatterns = [
    path('', BordersViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='index'),
    path('animations/', AnimationsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='animations'),
    path('borders/', BordersViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='borders'),
    path('colors/', ColorsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='colors'),
    path('others/', OthersViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='others'),

File dashbard/apps/pages/urls.py

from django.urls import path

import dashboard.apps.pages.blank.views as BlankViews
import dashboard.apps.pages.login.views as LoginViews
import dashboard.apps.pages.pagenotfound.views as PageNotFoundViews
import dashboard.apps.pages.password.views as PasswordViews
import dashboard.apps.pages.register.views as RegisterViews
import dashboard.apps.pages.charts.views as ChartsViews
import dashboard.apps.pages.tables.views as TablesViews

app_name = 'pages'

urlpatterns = [
    path('', ChartsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='index'),
    path('blank', BlankViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='blank'),
    path('charts', ChartsViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='charts'),
    path('login', LoginViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='login'),
    path('pagenotfound', PageNotFoundViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='pagenotfound'),
    path('password', PasswordViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='password'),
    path('register', RegisterViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='register'),
    path('tables', TablesViews.IndexView.as_view(), name='tables'),

Let’s finally check the namespace structure:

$ find . -name urls.py

We create three levels for our namespaces:

Djane URL FileNamespace

These namespaces must be used in the template files, for example:

<a href="{% url 'app:components:buttons' %}" class="collapse-item" >Buttons</a>
<a href="{% url 'app:components:cards' %}" class="collapse-item" >Cards</a>
<a class="collapse-item" href="{% url 'app:utilities:colors' %}">Colors</a>
<a class="collapse-item" href="{% url 'app:utilities:borders' %}">Borders</a>
<a class="collapse-item" href="{% url 'app:utilities:animations' %}">Animations</a>
<a class="collapse-item" href="{% url 'app:utilities:others' %}">Other</a>

Install the Django Extensions for additional commands:

pip install django-extensions

Add Django Extensions to the INSTALLED_APPS



Show URLs and Namespaces (only for out apps, admin urls are removed)

python3 manage.py show_urls

Preparing required components and pages

In summary, these are the steps to create the desired folder structure:

mkdir -p dashboard/apps/components/buttons/templates/buttons
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/components/cards/templates/cards
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/blank/templates/blank
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/charts/templates/charts
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/login/templates/login
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/pagenotfound/templates/pagenotfound
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/password/templates/password
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/register/templates/register
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/pages/tables/templates/tables
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/utilities/animations/templates/animations
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/utilities/borders/templates/borders
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/utilities/colors/templates/colors
mkdir -p dashboard/apps/utilities/others/templates/others
python3 manage.py startapp buttons dashboard/apps/components/buttons
python3 manage.py startapp cards dashboard/apps/components/cards
python3 manage.py startapp blank dashboard/apps/pages/blank
python3 manage.py startapp charts dashboard/apps/pages/charts
python3 manage.py startapp login dashboard/apps/pages/login
python3 manage.py startapp pagenotfound dashboard/apps/pages/pagenotfound
python3 manage.py startapp password dashboard/apps/pages/password
python3 manage.py startapp register dashboard/apps/pages/register
python3 manage.py startapp tables dashboard/apps/pages/tables
python3 manage.py startapp animations dashboard/apps/utilities/animations
python3 manage.py startapp borders dashboard/apps/utilities/borders
python3 manage.py startapp colors dashboard/apps/utilities/colors
python3 manage.py startapp others dashboard/apps/utilities/others
echo "{% extends 'site/base.html' %}

{% block    content %}
{% endblock content %}"> base.html
cp base.html dashboard/apps/components/buttons/templates/buttons
cp base.html dashboard/apps/components/cards/templates/cards
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/blank/templates/blank
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/charts/templates/charts
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/login/templates/login
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/pagenotfound/templates/pagenotfound
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/password/templates/password
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/register/templates/register
cp base.html dashboard/apps/pages/tables/templates/tables
cp base.html dashboard/apps/utilities/animations/templates/animations
cp base.html dashboard/apps/utilities/borders/templates/borders
cp base.html dashboard/apps/utilities/colors/templates/colors
cp base.html dashboard/apps/utilities/others/templates/others
rm base.html

Each of the folders has the same structure, for example the buttons component. We will delete some unnecessary files

Replacing Projects with dynamic data

Replacing the static parts with dynamic content could be achieved by the following approach:

  • Identify the dynamic parts
  • Move these parts from the site template into the view template base.html of the component
  • Modify frontend view.py to generate dynamic content from data

The steps are the same for all components (all items of the side menu).

Find the

Identify dynamic parts in template

Create templates for side menu pages

For every side menu item, their is a corresponding html file in the install folder of the sb-admin-2 template:

Remember the environment variable we create in part 1 for the start of our project

find dashboard/apps install/sb-admin-2 -name *.html

Each template file base.html has a corresponding html file unter sb-admin-2. Look at the following table to find the mapping:


Each template base.html should have the following content:

{% extends 'site/base.html' %}

{% block    content %}
{% endblock content %}

And each corresponding view.py file should have the following content, only the template_name should be different (the name of the template base.html file)

from django.views import generic

class IndexView(generic.TemplateView):
    template_name = 'buttons/base.html'

So, for each template file, we have to

  • locate the corresponding html file from the install folder (see table above)
  • copy the content between these tags to the template file:
        <!-- Begin Page Content -->
        <div class="container-fluid">
        <!-- /.container-fluid -->

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