E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


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Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

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At least 236559 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

World's ugliest Django app

OK, this is an ugly hack. But also (possibly) cool if you're into ugly hacks.

I've written a small Python script that is a fully functional, self-contained, self-starting Django application. You don't need to put it on your PYTHONPATH or set DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE. You don't need a web server. It even creates some dummy content for you. I call it jngo.py -- it's somewhat compressed.

The only prerequisites are a Unix-like operating system (i.e. I couldn't tell you how to make it work on Windows), SQLite and a working install of Django trunk. It is fully "Works on My Machine" certified.

When you type python jngo.py, it runs the syncdb command to create a database in the working directory, then prompts you to create a superuser, then populates the database with some dummy content, then launches the built-in development server. When you go to the provided URL you'll see something like this:

jngo: don't try this at home

(Actually, you'll only see the "Edit this page" link if you log in, either to the admin site at /admin/ or into the login-protected "Top Secret" page.)

Features include:

All in a single file of under 60 lines of actual Python code (Though the lines containing the templates are a bit long).

The source is on dpaste.com if you're curious. You know you are.

Scary as it is, I think it's also a neat demo of all the stuff Django gives you for free. jngo.py uses, among other features, the syndication feed framework, the Flatpages application, the elusive comments framework, the user authentication features, and of course the glorious admin application .

Monday, January 21st, 2008
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Comment from Joshua Bloom , later that day

Nicely done. Crazy how quick you can get something running with Django and python at hand.

Comment from Kent Johnson , later that day

I couldn't resist making a version that works with Django 0.96. It is slightly fewer lines because the call to createsuperuser() is not needed.


Comment from stubblechin , later that day

I just read jngo.py...despicable, and yet...bravo!

Comment from Andy Baker , later that day

Even for someone with as small an understanding of Django's innards as me - it's surprisingly readable. Apart from the templates!

Comment from Andy , later that day

I couldn't tell you how to make it work on Windows

It works just fine without alteration on Windows.

Comment from Paul , later that day

Thanks! I should have had more faith. I updated the post accordingly.

Comment from Tane Piper , 1 day later

Hey, this looks pretty cool :) We're developing an app at the moment that would work well as a self-contained application and this might come in handy :)

Comment from Myles Braithwaite , 1 day later

It is really nice to see that Django can be used like Ruby on Rails Camping and web.py.

Comment from Sandro , 1 week later

It works on windows and mysql to have a look at http://dpaste.com/33699/

Comment from mzee.richo , 9 months later

NIce example , thats just what django is about . Less code , Agile development .

Comment from ismail , 20 months later

Hey man, trying to find this code but dpaste seems to have cleared it. Would it be possible to put it somewhere again? Looking at a way to package a django app. Send zip to customer and just tell them to run the command. THe app will be quite simple.

Comment from Paul , 21 months later

OK, ismail, it's now restored. Note that the code predates Django 1.0, so getting it running with modern Django may take a little tweaking.

Also, in case it's useful, check out this thread where this script and a few similar options are discussed: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1297873/how-do-i-write-a-single-file-django-app

Comment from Derek , 22 months later

Source code at dpaste is missing?

Comment from pbx , 22 months later

Derek -- thanks for the inquiry. The fact that it disappeared means there was a 30 day stretch where nobody looked at it, so it was purged.

I've reinstated it at its former url: http://dpaste.com/hold/31935/

If it gets purged again I'll take that as a sign that it should be let go!

Enjoy (and the cautions I mentioned above still apply of course).

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