How to create a Django project and a Django application

Learn how to create a Django project and a Django application in this quick-start tutorial.

How to create a Django project and a Django application

How to create a Django project

To start off create a new folder for the Django project and move into it:

mkdir django-quick-start && cd $_

Here I called django-quick-start the main folder that will hold the project. Pay attention, this is not the actual Django project, but just its "home". Once inside the new folder create a Python virtual environment and activate it (note, these are two distinct commands):

python3 -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate

Next up install Django with:

pip install django

When the installer is done you can create a new Django project:

django-admin startproject django_quick_start .

Pay attention again: django_quick_start now is the actual Django project created inside the django-quick-start folder. The name of this home folder doesn't matter, but Django projects cannot have dashes in the name. That's the reason for these underscores in django_quick_start.

Pay also attention to the dot in django-admin startproject django_quick_start .. With the dot we can avoid additional folder nesting.

How to create a Django application

Every Django project is made of stand alone applications. Each application may have models, views, and custom logic. There is also a great choice of community applications ready to be installed in your project.

Most of the times when you're first starting out all you need is a simple custom app. To create a Django app you can run:

django-admin startapp my_first_app

Where my_first_app is the name of your app. With the app in place you can start creating things in Django: models, views, and urls, but not before enabling the app in your project's setting. Open up django_quick_start/settings.py and enable the app in the INSTALLED_APPS list:

INSTALLED_APPS = [
    "django.contrib.admin",
    "django.contrib.auth",
    "django.contrib.contenttypes",
    "django.contrib.sessions",
    "django.contrib.messages",
    "django.contrib.staticfiles",
    # enable your app
    "my_first_app.apps.MyFirstAppConfig",
]

Next up you can create models in my_first_app/models.py. Here's a simple model:

from django.db import models


class Customer(models.Model):
    first_name = models.CharField(max_length=100)
    last_name = models.CharField(max_length=100)

Don't forget to create and apply Django's migrations once the model is in place (note, these are two distinct commands):

python manage.py makemigrations
python manage.py migrate

And now you're ready to run Django!

python manage.py runserver

Where to go from here

In this quick-start tutorial you learned how to create a Django project and a Django application. Now you're ready to build amazing things! Make sure to follow all my Django guides, just scroll below for a list of tutorials and start building!

When you're ready for more serious things grab a cup of tea and learn how to create a Django project from a template.

Valentino Gagliardi

Hi! I’m Valentino! Educator and consultant, I help people learning to code with on-site and remote workshops. Looking for JavaScript and Python training? Let’s get in touch!

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