Django models fields: How to design better django models

19 March, 2020 - 4 min read

Designing better django models can help improve your applications overall implementations. In this post, we'll get the introduction to django models, ORM concepts and how to design better models.

My first advice is you should PEP8.

PEP8, django code guidelines

  1. Style Consistence - Consistency within a function or module, and a project is most important. It is advised to use judgement when compromising style consistence. A coding style must be ignored if:

    • Applying a guideline makes the code less readable
    • Consistency breaks the codebase.
    • When compatibility questions doesn't allow consistency
  2. Indentation -It's highly advised to use 4 spaces per indentation level.
  3. Spaces are preferred over tabs.
  4. 79 characters is the maximum per line of code.
  5. Code in python should always use UTF-8 encoding.
  6. Absolute paths are recommended when importing.

How to name your django models

Every model class is a typical python class so all the PEP8 guidelines on class definition applies. Always use CapWord andunderscores. Examples:

  • SiteMeta over SiteMeta or sitemeta.
  • UserCatetegory over UserCategory or usercategory

Likewise, the django model attributes must use the lowercase underscores instead of camelCase. Examples:

  • first_name over firstName or FirstName
  • registered_date over registeredDate

Complete Example

from django.db import models from django.utils.translation import gettext_lazy as _ from django.utils.text import slugify from django.urls import reverse # Create your models here. class BlogPost(models.Model): post_title = models.CharField(_("Post title"), max_length=100) post_summary = models.CharField(_("Summary"), max_length=255) keywords = models.CharField(_("SEO Keywords"), max_length=255) body = models.TextField(_("Post body")) published_date = models.DateTimeField(auto_now=True) slug = models.SlugField(_("Slug"), max_length=255, default='', blank=True, unique=True)

The name of the model must always be singular, Use BlogPost over BlogPosts.

The django model class Meta should appear soon after the fields and custom manager attributes are defined.

Order of django model inner classes and functions

  • Database fields
  • custom manager fields
  • class Meta
  • def __str__()
  • def save()
  • def getabsoluteurl()
  • Other custom methods

If the you want to use choices in a model field, each choice must be defined as a list of tuple.


class Transfer(models.Model): user = models.ForeignKey(CustomUser, verbose_name=("user"), on_delete=models.CASCADE) domain_name = models.CharField(help_text="Domain name", max_length=50) note = models.TextField(help_text="Release note from your current registra") objects = models.Manager() class Meta: db_table = "dm_transfer" class __str__(self): return self.domain_name def save(self, *args, **kwargs): sender = subject = "Domain Registration Transfer" full_message = "Domain name: {}, <br> note: {}".format(self.domain_name, self.note) try: send_mail(subject, full_message, sender, ['']) except BadHeaderError: return HttpResponse('Email not valid') super(Transfer, self).save(*args, **kwargs) def get_absolute_url(self): return reverse("index") def send_quote(self): send_some_information()

Django models reverse relationships


The related_name attribute in foreign key definition allows meaningful naming for the reverse relationship. As default, a programmer must use the plural of the model where the foreign key is defined.

class Company: name = models.CharField(max_length=50) class Car: model = models.CharField(max_length=50) manufacturer = models.FpreignKey(Company, on_delete=models.CASCADE, related_name="cars"

The company model now has a field cars and will return all cars instances of a company.

tesla = Company.objects.get(name='Tesla')

The reverse relationship has the power to modify a field on Car instance, for example:

cybertruck = Car.objects.get(model='Cyber Truck') tesla = Company.objects.get(name='Tesla')


The relatedqueryname is used to customize the relationship name, for example:

class Car: model = models.CharField(max_length=40) company = models.ForeignKey( Company, on_delete=models.CASCADE, related_name='cars', related_query_name='car' )

After defining your models and query names, here is the way to use them:

companies = Company.objects.filter(car__model='Cyber Truck')

So the relatedname is plural and the relatedquery_name is singular.

Django Blank and Null Fields

Blank and Null field options in django causes a little confusion sometimes, but it should not. Just remember,

  1. The Null option is used for database level effects. Null is true if you allow null values to be added into your database tables.
  2. The blank field is used for form validation purposes. Blank is true will allow a form to be submitted without a value.

The default values for null and blank are False. When dealing with Boolean fields, always use the NullBooleanField instead of Null.

Django autonow and autonow_add

Though it's advised not to use the autonow and autonowadd and define the date options in your save() method, **autonowadd** sets the date to when the instance is first created, autonow will update the date every time the save method is called.

Recommended Reading

Improve your django web framework knowledge by reading the Django graphene Graphql API and Gatsby react integration.