4. App Integration

It is pretty easy to integrate your own Django applications with django CMS. You have 7 ways of integrating your app:

  1. Menus

    Statically extend the menu entries

  2. Attach Menus

    Attach your menu to a page.

  3. App-Hooks

    Attach whole apps with optional menu to a page.

  4. Navigation Modifiers

    Modify the whole menu tree

  5. Custom Plugins

    Display your models / content in cms pages

  6. Toolbar

    Add Entries to the toolbar to add/edit your models

  7. Working with templates

    Templatetags and other CMS-provided utilities

4.2. Attach Menus

Classes that extend from menus.base.Menu always get attached to the root. But if you want the menu to be attached to a CMS Page you can do that as well.

Instead of extending from Menu you need to extend from cms.menu_bases.CMSAttachMenu and you need to define a name. We will do that with the example from above:

from menus.base import NavigationNode
from menus.menu_pool import menu_pool
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _
from cms.menu_bases import CMSAttachMenu

class TestMenu(CMSAttachMenu):

    name = _("test menu")

    def get_nodes(self, request):
        nodes = []
        n = NavigationNode(_('sample root page'), "/", 1)
        n2 = NavigationNode(_('sample settings page'), "/bye/", 2)
        n3 = NavigationNode(_('sample account page'), "/hello/", 3)
        n4 = NavigationNode(_('sample my profile page'), "/hello/world/", 4, 3)
        return nodes


Now you can link this Menu to a page in the ‘Advanced’ tab of the page settings under attached menu.

4.3. App-Hooks

With App-Hooks you can attach whole Django applications to pages. For example you have a news app and you want it attached to your news page.

To create an apphook create a cms_app.py in your application. And in it write the following:

from cms.app_base import CMSApp
from cms.apphook_pool import apphook_pool
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

class MyApphook(CMSApp):
    name = _("My Apphook")
    urls = ["myapp.urls"]


Replace myapp.urls with the path to your applications urls.py.

Now edit a page and open the advanced settings tab. Select your new apphook under “Application”. Save the page.


Whenever you add or remove an apphook, change the slug of a page containing an apphook or the slug if a page which has a descendant with an apphook, you have to restart your server to re-load the URL caches.


If at some point you want to remove this apphook after deleting the cms_app.py there is a cms management command called uninstall apphooks that removes the specified apphook(s) from all pages by name. eg. manage.py cms uninstall apphooks MyApphook. To find all names for uninstallable apphooks there is a command for this as well manage.py cms list apphooks.

If you attached the app to a page with the url /hello/world/ and the app has a urls.py that looks like this:

from django.conf.urls import *

urlpatterns = patterns('sampleapp.views',
    url(r'^$', 'main_view', name='app_main'),
    url(r'^sublevel/$', 'sample_view', name='app_sublevel'),

The main_view should now be available at /hello/world/ and the sample_view has the url /hello/world/sublevel/.


CMS pages below the page to which the apphook is attached to, can be visible, provided that the apphook urlconf regexps are not too greedy. From a URL resolution perspective, attaching an apphook works in same way than inserting the apphook urlconf in the root urlconf at the same path as the page is attached to.


All views that are attached like this must return a RequestContext instance instead of the default Context instance.

4.3.1. Apphook Menus

If you want to add a menu to that page as well that may represent some views in your app add it to your apphook like this:

from myapp.menu import MyAppMenu

class MyApphook(CMSApp):
    name = _("My Apphook")
    urls = ["myapp.urls"]
    menus = [MyAppMenu]


For an example if your app has a Category model and you want this category model to be displayed in the menu when you attach the app to a page. We assume the following model:

from django.db import models
from django.core.urlresolvers import reverse
import mptt

class Category(models.Model):
    parent = models.ForeignKey('self', blank=True, null=True)
    name = models.CharField(max_length=20)

    def __unicode__(self):
        return self.name

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        return reverse('category_view', args=[self.pk])

except mptt.AlreadyRegistered:

We would now create a menu out of these categories:

from menus.base import NavigationNode
from menus.menu_pool import menu_pool
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _
from cms.menu_bases import CMSAttachMenu
from myapp.models import Category

class CategoryMenu(CMSAttachMenu):

    name = _("test menu")

    def get_nodes(self, request):
        nodes = []
        for category in Category.objects.all().order_by("tree_id", "lft"):
            node = NavigationNode(
        return nodes


If you add this menu now to your app-hook:

from myapp.menus import CategoryMenu

class MyApphook(CMSApp):
    name = _("My Apphook")
    urls = ["myapp.urls"]
    menus = [MyAppMenu, CategoryMenu]

You get the static entries of MyAppMenu and the dynamic entries of CategoryMenu both attached to the same page.

4.3.2. Attaching an Application multiple times

If you want to attach an application multiple times to different pages you have 2 possibilities.

  1. Give every application its own namespace in the advanced settings of a page.
  2. Define an app_name attribute on the CMSApp class.

The problem is that if you only define a namespace you need to have multiple templates per attached app.

For example:

{% url 'my_view' %}

Will not work anymore when you namespace an app. You will need to do something like:

{% url 'my_namespace:my_view' %}

The problem is now if you attach apps to multiple pages your namespace will change. The solution for this problem are application namespaces.

If you’d like to use application namespaces to reverse the URLs related to your app, you can assign a value to the app_name attribute of your app hook like this:

class MyNamespacedApphook(CMSApp):
    name = _("My Namespaced Apphook")
    urls = ["myapp.urls"]
    app_name = "myapp_namespace"



If you do provide an app_label, then you will need to also give the app a unique namespace in the advanced settings of the page. If you do not, and no other instance of the app exists using it, then the ‘default instance namespace’ will be automatically set for you. You can then either reverse for the namespace(to target different apps) or the app_name (to target links inside the same app).

If you use app namespace you will need to give all your view context a current_app:

def my_view(request):
    current_app = resolve(request.path).namespace
    context = RequestContext(request, current_app=current_app)
    return render_to_response("my_templace.html", context_instance=context)


You need to set the current_app explicitly in all your view contexts as django does not allow an other way of doing this.

You can reverse namespaced apps similarly and it “knows” in which app instance it is:

{% url myapp_namespace:app_main %}

If you want to access the same url but in a different language use the language template tag:

{% load i18n %}
{% language "de" %}
    {% url myapp_namespace:app_main %}
{% endlanguage %}


The official Django documentation has more details about application and instance namespaces, the current_app scope and the reversing of such URLs. You can look it up at https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/dev/topics/http/urls/#url-namespaces

When using the reverse function, the current_app has to be explicitly passed as an argument. You can do so by looking up the current_app attribute of the request instance:

def myviews(request):
    current_app = resolve(request.path).namespace

    reversed_url = reverse('myapp_namespace:app_main',

Or, if you are rendering a plugin, of the context instance:

class MyPlugin(CMSPluginBase):
    def render(self, context, instance, placeholder):
        # ...
        current_app = resolve(request.path).namespace
        reversed_url = reverse('myapp_namespace:app_main',
        # ...

4.3.3. Automatically restart server on apphook changes

As mentioned above, whenever you add or remove an apphook, change the slug of a page containing an apphook or the slug if a page which has a descendant with an apphook, you have to restart your server to re-load the URL caches. To allow you to automate this process, the django CMS provides a signal cms.signals.urls_need_reloading which you can listen on to detect when your server needs restarting. When you run manage.py runserver a restart should not be needed.


This signal does not actually do anything. To get automated server restarting you need to implement logic in your project that gets executed whenever this signal is fired. Because there are many ways of deploying Django applications, there is no way we can provide a generic solution for this problem that will always work.


The signal is fired after a request. If you change something via API you need a request for the signal to fire.

4.5. Custom Plugins

If you want to display content of your apps on other pages custom plugins are a great way to accomplish that. For example, if you have a news app and you want to display the top 10 news entries on your homepage, a custom plugin is the way to go.

For a detailed explanation on how to write custom plugins please head over to the Custom Plugins section.

4.6. Toolbar

Your app might also want to integrate in the Extending the Toolbar to provide a more streamlined user experience for your admins.

4.7. Working with templates

Application can reuse cms templates by mixing cms templatetags and normal django templating language.

4.7.1. static_placeholder

Plain placeholder cannot be used in templates used by external applications, use static_placeholder instead.


New in version 3.0.

CMS_TEMPLATE is a context variable available in the context; it contains the template path for CMS pages and application using apphooks, and the default template (i.e.: the first template in CMS_TEMPLATES) for non-CMS managed urls.

This is mostly useful to use it in the extends templatetag in the application templates to get the current page template.

Example: cms template

{% load cms_tags %}
    {% cms_toolbar %}
    {% block main %}
    {% placeholder "main" %}
    {% endblock main %}

Example: application template

{% extends CMS_TEMPLATE %}
{% load cms_tags %}
{% block main %}
{% for item in object_list %}
    {{ item }}
{% endfor %}
{% static_placeholder "sidebar" %}
{% endblock main %}

CMS_TEMPLATE memorizes the path of the cms template so the application template can dynamically import it.

4.7.3. render_model

New in version 3.0.

render_model allows to edit the django models from the frontend by reusing the django CMS frontend editor.