Configure a more complex application

In the previous section of the tutorial, we added an application and deployed it. However, the installation process was extremely simple and required very minimal configuration.

In practice, adding a Django application to a project will generally require more complex configuration.

We’ll explore this by adding Django Debug Toolbar to the project.

Add django-debug-toolbar to

The Django Debug Toolbar installation notes suggest to install it using pip install django-debug-toolbar. The latest stable version at the time of writing is 2.2, so add:



As before, run docker-compose build web to rebuild the project with the new requirement.


Django Debug Toolbar requires various settings to be configured.


Debug Toolbar requires django.contrib.staticfiles and debug_toolbar to be present in INSTALLED_APPS. Is django.contrib.staticfiles already there? There’s an easy way to check: run

docker-compose run web python diffsettings

The Django diffsettings management command shows the differences between your settings and Django’s defaults. In this case it should reassure us that django.contrib.staticfiles is already there as it’s included in Divio Django projects by default, so we just need to add debug_toolbar to INSTALLED_APPS:


Configure middleware settings

The installation documents note that we must set up the middleware, and that it should come as soon as possible in the list “after any other middleware that encodes the response’s content, such as GZipMiddleware.”

A suitable place would be right after django.middleware.gzip.GZipMiddleware, and we can use a little Python list manipulation to insert it there. In addition, it makes sense only to activate the Debug Toolbar middleware when we’re running with Django’s Debug mode, and we’ll check for this (with if DEBUG:):


        MIDDLEWARE.index("django.middleware.gzip.GZipMiddleware") + 1,

This will find the GZipMiddleware in the list, and insert the DebugToolbarMiddleware immediately after it.

Triggering the toolbar

The toolbar should only be triggered if certain conditions are met. By default, it’s only if DEBUG = True and the server IP address is listed in INTERNAL_IPS.

With Docker, we don’t have a way to know what internal IP address a project will have, so we can’t rely on that. However, relying on DEBUG will be enough, so we define a function that will serve as a SHOW_TOOLBAR_CALLBACK callback to replace the default.

At the end of the file, add:

def show_toolbar(request):
    return DEBUG



We need to include the debug_toolbar.urls in the project’s URL configuration. Our approach here is similar: we only want it active in DEBUG mode, so add this to the end of your project’s

from django.conf import settings

if settings.DEBUG:

    from django.urls import include, path
    import debug_toolbar
    urlpatterns = [
        path('__debug__/', include(debug_toolbar.urls)),
    ] + urlpatterns

See the results

And that’s it (Debug Toolbar has no database tables, so you don’t need to run migrations).

Visit the admin to see the Debug Toolbar in action.

'Django Debug Toolbar'

Where to go next?

This completes the basic cycle of project creation, development and deployment; you should now be familiar with the fundamental concepts and tools involved.

Other sections of the documentation expand upon them. The how-to guides in particular cover many common operations. And if there’s something you’re looking for but can’t find, please contact Divio support.