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Python: Custom App Labels in Django

Django has had a long-standing missing feature that made it impossible to give your apps friendly names. See #3591 and #14251. Thankfully, this will be fixed in Django 1.7, but switching to the latest version of Django is not an option for me right now. This was making my admin look really ugly because I have app names such as "mps" and "budget_cost_data". Those would show up in random places in the admin as "Mps", "Budget_cost_data", "Budget cost data", etc. What I wanted was "MPS" and "Budget Cost Data".

There are many ways to try to solve this problem. You may be able to switch to Django Suit or Grappelli and then use localization to fix it. However, when I tried that approach with Django Suit, the breadcrumbs were still broken.

I finally found this snippet which got me started down a viable path. I grabbed a copy of the Django egg I was using, unzipped it, and copied django/contrib/admin/templates/admin to my project's templates directory. Then I started hacking. I created two filters:

@register.filter(name='custom_app_label')
@stringfilter
def custom_app_label(value):
  """This is used to change the Django app labels.

  See: https://snipt.net/chrisdpratt/overriding-app_label-in-django-admin/

  """
  return settings.CUSTOM_APP_LABELS.get(value.lower(), value)

@register.filter(name='custom_title')
@stringfilter
def custom_title(value):
  """This is used to change the <h1> in admin/base.html."""
  if value == "Site administration":
    return "Site Admin"
  if value.endswith(" administration"):
    try:
      app, administration = value.split()
      app = custom_app_label(app.lower())
      return "%s Admin" % app
    except ValueError:
      pass
  return value

Then, I applied one of those two filters everywhere in the admin templates that I needed to. Make sure you remember to load your filter library at the top of each template you modify.

You may want to give your models friendly names as well, such as:

class PlatformBudgetCostData(models.Model):
  ...
  class Meta(object):
    verbose_name = "Platform Budget Cost Data"
    verbose_name_plural = verbose_name

At the end of the day, I got something that wasn't as beautiful as, say, Django Suit, but at least the app names, titles, capitalization, etc. looked right.

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