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Project1 - Wikipedia and First Look at Django

wizlee profile image Wiz Lee Updated on ・3 min read

After the HTML & CSS project0 of creating Google Search front-end, project1 is to design a Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia backend using Django.

▶️ Background

The first impression on Django is surprisingly not as bad as I would have thought. I have used NodeJS and ReactJS before and frankly did had some skepticism towards the ease of use of Django.

To my pleasant surprise, aside from a little getting used to Django isn't actually that convoluted. To be fair, I am used to using Python as that is my "day job" language. And I have to add on that the documentation of Django feels overwhelming with a lot of features.

▶️ Jumping into Project1

A little background before going into details of the 7 specifications required to complete this Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia project. The wiki pages are organized as individual markdown files with its filename as its title. Below is the directory overview:
Alt Text

All the of files shown above are provided except for entry.html & notfound.html which are colored green. This GIF summarized what I had done so far:
Alt Text

In words, I had done the first two specifications which are as follows:

  1. Entry Page: Visiting /wiki/TITLE, where TITLE is the title of an encyclopedia entry, should render a page that displays the contents of that encyclopedia entry.
    • The view should get the content of the encyclopedia entry by calling the appropriate util function.
    • If an entry is requested that does not exist, the user should be presented with an error page indicating that their requested page was not found.
    • If the entry does exist, the user should be presented with a page that displays the content of the entry. The title of the page should include the name of the entry.
  2. Index Page: Update index.html such that, instead of merely listing the names of all pages in the encyclopedia, user can click on any entry name to be taken directly to that entry page.

1️⃣ First Specification

In order to display the correct entry when /wiki/TITLE is requested:

  • views.py needs to handle the request
  • urls.py of the encyclopedia app need to route to the correct function in the views.py

encyclopedia/views.py

Here, the markdown2 python package is used to convert the markdown wiki entries which are then rendered as entry.html.

# encyclopedia/views.py

import markdown2
# ...
def topic(request, title):
    mdStr = util.get_entry(title)
    if mdStr:
        html = markdown2.markdown(mdStr)
        return render(request, "encyclopedia/entry.html", {
            "title": title,
            "content": html
        })
    else:
        return render(request, "encyclopedia/notfound.html", {
            "message": f"Error: Wiki page titled '{title}' not found"
        })
# ...
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encyclopedia/urls.py

# encyclopedia/urls.py
# ...
urlpatterns = [
    # ...
    path("wiki/<str:title>/", views.topic, name="topic"),
    # ...
]
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2️⃣ Second Specification

The second specification is much more straight forward, this documentation example in Django shows how to create an anchor link in HTML that automatically uses the topic route we specified in urls.py.

Showing the example from the documentation for better illustration:

from django.urls import path

from . import views

urlpatterns = [
    #...
    path('articles/<int:year>/', views.year_archive, name='news-year-archive'),
    #...
]
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In the HTML template code:

<a href="{% url 'news-year-archive' 2012 %}">2012 Archive</a>
{# Or with the year in a template context variable: #}
<ul>
{% for yearvar in year_list %}
<li><a href="{% url 'news-year-archive' yearvar %}">{{ yearvar }} Archive</a></li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
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That's all for this post! It's more lengthy this time as I thought of sharing in more details of what I had learnt. Hopefully it's helpful and feel free to discuss any improvements or how easy this can be achieved using any other languages 😉

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