Photo Organizer and Sharing App Part I

Our next project will be an app similar to flickr. We’ll implement tags, ratings, albums, sharing, searching, filtering and sorting.

Defining the Model

As with previous tutorials, we’ll start by defining a model (in photo/

from django.db import models
from django.contrib.auth.models import User
from django.contrib import admin

class Album(models.Model):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=60)
    public = models.BooleanField(default=False)
    def __unicode__(self):
        return self.title

class Tag(models.Model):
    tag = models.CharField(max_length=50)
    def __unicode__(self):
        return self.tag

class Image(models.Model):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=60, blank=True, null=True)
    image = models.FileField(upload_to="images/")
    tags = models.ManyToManyField(Tag, blank=True)
    albums = models.ManyToManyField(Album, blank=True)
    created = models.DateTimeField(auto_now_add=True)
    rating = models.IntegerField(default=50)
    width = models.IntegerField(blank=True, null=True)
    height = models.IntegerField(blank=True, null=True)
    user = models.ForeignKey(User, null=True, blank=True)

    def __unicode__(self):

class AlbumAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    search_fields = ["title"]
    list_display = ["title"]

class TagAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ["tag"]

class ImageAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    search_fields = ["title"]
    list_display = ["__unicode__", "title", "user", "rating", "created"]
    list_filter = ["tags", "albums"], AlbumAdmin), TagAdmin), ImageAdmin)

... and running: syncdb; runserver

We also need to create a location for uploaded images and set up our to point to it:

MEDIA_ROOT = '/home/username/dbe/media/'

Admin will need to have its CSS, images and javascript code in this location — you’ll have to copy them from django/contrib/admin/media/. You should also create images dir under media.

At this point, you can go ahead and add a few images in the Admin so that you have something to play with.

Enhancing Admin

I’m not yet sure if we’ll even need the Admin by the end of this tutorial, but adding a few useful features is just too easy (this will also be good as an illustration — it may be that what we’ll do with the Admin alone will be enough for your needs):

from string import join

import os
from PIL import Image as PImage
from settings import MEDIA_ROOT

class Image(models.Model):
    # ...

    def save(self, *args, **kwargs):
        """Save image dimensions."""
        super(Image, self).save(*args, **kwargs)
        im =,
        self.width, self.height = im.size
        super(Image, self).save(*args, ** kwargs)

    def size(self):
        """Image size."""
        return "%s x %s" % (self.width, self.height)

    def __unicode__(self):

    def tags_(self):
        lst = [x[1] for x in self.tags.values_list()]
        return str(join(lst, ', '))

    def albums_(self):
        lst = [x[1] for x in self.albums.values_list()]
        return str(join(lst, ', '))

    def thumbnail(self):
        return """<a href="/media/%s"><img border="0" alt="" src="/media/%s" height="40" /></a>""" % (
    thumbnail.allow_tags = True

class ImageAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    # search_fields = ["title"]
    list_display = ["__unicode__", "title", "user", "rating", "size", "tags_", "albums_",
        "thumbnail", "created"]
    list_filter = ["tags", "albums", "user"]

    def save_model(self, request, obj, form, change):
        obj.user = request.user

If you want to save image dimensions, you’ll need to install PIL module (python-imaging module in Ubuntu/Debian). In save() we’re overriding the default save method to process the image and save dimensions. In tags_() and albums_() we’re getting a list of values from a Many-to-Many object, which has a method values_list() that returns tuples with primary keys and values — we are only interested in values in this case.

You can click the thumbnail to see full-sized image. We could easily add a view to resize the image and show a back button or open an image in a popup window.

Finally, we’re overriding the save_model() method to assign current user as the owner of the image. And that’s what we have so far:


We can’t do much more with the admin, except for one small thing: we’ll add a list of links to images in the Album listing (you’ll also have to add the images field to AlbumAdmin):

class Album(models.Model):
    # ...
    def images(self):
        lst = [ for x in self.image_set.all()]
        lst = ["<a href='/media/%s'>%s</a>" % (x, x.split('/')[-1]) for x in lst]
        return join(lst, ', ')
    images.allow_tags = True

The image_set object is automatically created as a part of Many-to-Many relationship between two models.

Generating Thumbnails

There is a pretty significant performance issue with the way thumbnails are handled right now. If you’re loading a hundred images in the Admin view, the page will load full-sized images and only then resize them for displaying. That’s not good! Thinking ahead, we know we’ll need thumbnails for other views, as well, and we also know we’ll probably want to have more than one size of thumbnails.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say we want to store two different thumbnails for each image and to generate them when an image is added. PIL to the rescue, again!

from django.core.files import File
from os.path import join as pjoin
from tempfile import *

class Image(models.Model):
    # ...

    thumbnail2 = models.ImageField(upload_to="images/", blank=True, null=True)

    def save(self, *args, **kwargs):
        """Save image dimensions."""
        super(Image, self).save(*args, **kwargs)
        im =,
        self.width, self.height = im.size

        # large thumbnail
        fn, ext = os.path.splitext(
        im.thumbnail((128,128), PImage.ANTIALIAS)
        thumb_fn = fn + "-thumb2" + ext
        tf2 = NamedTemporaryFile(), "JPEG"), File(open(, save=False)

        # small thumbnail
        im.thumbnail((40,40), PImage.ANTIALIAS)
        thumb_fn = fn + "-thumb" + ext
        tf = NamedTemporaryFile(), "JPEG"), File(open(, save=False)

        super(Image, self).save(*args, ** kwargs)

There are a few fine points here I need to address: firstly, we have to save to a temporary filename using Python’s tempfile module — the reason is that if we save it to the proper location (which we already know), saving the whole Model will result in a duplicate file because ImageField will refuse to overwrite the old file. Secondly, we have to set save=False when saving thumbnails, otherwise we’ll get an infinite recursive loop (not exactly sure why) — instead, we’re letting both thumbnails be saved with the Model.

You also have to update the thumbnail image display in the listing, but that should be straightforward enough (if not, no worry — full sources will be linked at the end as always).

And that’s that for the Admin.

Go on to the part II