What are addons, and why use them?

The Divio Cloud addons framework allows packages to be installed and configured very easily and in some cases fully automatically.

What are Divio Cloud addons?

Addons can be thought of as wrappers for Python packages such as Django or django CMS that allow them to take advantage of our addons framework. You’ll see for example addons such as Aldryn Django (a wrapper/installer for Django) and Aldryn Django CMS (a wrapper/installer for django CMS).

Addons are provided as a convenience. If you’d like Django in your project, with all its settings configured for our infrastructure (uWSGI gateway, database, media storage etc), and in such a way that they will work correctly in the Live, Test and local environments, then Aldryn Django will take care of that for you; if it’s installed, all that configuration and wiring will be done automatically.

In the case of Aldryn Django CMS, it will configure settings such as MIDDLEWARE and TEMPLATES automatically.

Packages as installed by Divio Cloud addons (such as Django or django CMS) are completely standard and unmodified.

Installation and basic configuration of addons is managed via the project’s dashboard in the Control Panel. More advanced configuration can be managed via settings and environment variables.

Using addons is optional

Using the Addons framework on Divio Cloud is completely optional.

You don’t need Aldryn Django to install or use Django. Similarly, django CMS can be installed and configured manually, without using Aldryn Django CMS, if you prefer, and the same goes for others.

Why use addons?

Software installed without taking advantage of the addons framework won’t make use of our convenience layers, and it will require a developer to install and configure them, whereas software packaged as an addon can be installed and configured with a few clicks, without any technical knowledge.

Using our addons will make your work as a developer faster and easier, allowing you to concentrate on development instead of configuration.

The addons system exposes packages, along with their versions and configuration options, in our Control Panel - you can apply settings and manage upgrades with our GUI, not even needing to set the repository up locally to edit its code or requirements. This can save a great deal of time, especially when a new version of a package requires different configuration in settings.py.

The Control Panel will alert you when updates are available, or in the case of critical security fixes.

The vast majority of Divio Cloud developers users prefer to make use of the framework and the wrapper applications, though some prefer to undertake configuration manually and choose not to use it.