Django includes a “signal dispatcher” which helps allow decoupled applications get notified when actions occur elsewhere in the framework. In a nutshell, signals allow certain senders to notify a set of receivers that some action has taken place. They’re especially useful when many pieces of code may be interested in the same events.
Django provides a set of built-in signals that let user code get notified by Django itself of certain actions. These include some useful notifications:
Sent before or after a model’s
save() method is called.
Sent when a
ManyToManyField on a model is changed.
Sent when Django starts or finishes an HTTP request.
See the built-in signal documentation for a complete list, and a complete explanation of each signal.
You can also define and send your own custom signals; see below.
To receive a signal, register a receiver function using the
Signal.connect() method. The receiver function is called when the signal is sent. All of the signal’s receiver functions are called one at a time, in the order they were registered.
Signal.connect(receiver, sender=None, weak=True, dispatch_uid=None)
Let’s see how this works by registering a signal that gets called after each HTTP request is finished. We’ll be connecting to the
First, we need to define a receiver function. A receiver can be any Python function or method:
def my_callback(sender, **kwargs): print("Request finished!")
Notice that the function takes a
sender argument, along with wildcard keyword arguments (
**kwargs); all signal handlers must take these arguments.
We’ll look at senders a bit later, but right now look at the
**kwargs argument. All signals send keyword arguments, and may change those keyword arguments at any time. In the case of
request_finished, it’s documented as sending no arguments, which means we might be tempted to write our signal handling as
This would be wrong – in fact, Django will throw an error if you do so. That’s because at any point arguments could get added to the signal and your receiver must be able to handle those new arguments.
There are two ways you can connect a receiver to a signal. You can take the manual connect route:
from django.core.signals import request_finished request_finished.connect(my_callback)
Alternatively, you can use a
|Parameters:||signal – A signal or a list of signals to connect a function to.|
Here’s how you connect with the decorator:
from django.core.signals import request_finished from django.dispatch import receiver @receiver(request_finished) def my_callback(sender, **kwargs): print("Request finished!")
my_callback function will be called each time a request finishes.
Where should this code live?
Strictly speaking, signal handling and registration code can live anywhere you like, although it’s recommended to avoid the application’s root module and its
models module to minimize side-effects of importing code.
In practice, signal handlers are usually defined in a
signals submodule of the application they relate to. Signal receivers are connected in the
ready() method of your application configuration class. If you’re using the
receiver() decorator, import the
signals submodule inside
Some signals get sent many times, but you’ll only be interested in receiving a certain subset of those signals. For example, consider the
django.db.models.signals.pre_save signal sent before a model gets saved. Most of the time, you don’t need to know when any model gets saved – just when one specific model is saved.
In these cases, you can register to receive signals sent only by particular senders. In the case of
django.db.models.signals.pre_save, the sender will be the model class being saved, so you can indicate that you only want signals sent by some model:
from django.db.models.signals import pre_save from django.dispatch import receiver from myapp.models import MyModel @receiver(pre_save, sender=MyModel) def my_handler(sender, **kwargs): ...
my_handler function will only be called when an instance of
MyModel is saved.
Different signals use different objects as their senders; you’ll need to consult the built-in signal documentation for details of each particular signal.
In some circumstances, the code connecting receivers to signals may run multiple times. This can cause your receiver function to be registered more than once, and thus called as many times for a signal event. For example, the
ready() method may be executed more than once during testing. More generally, this occurs everywhere your project imports the module where you define the signals, because signal registration runs as many times as it is imported.
If this behavior is problematic (such as when using signals to send an email whenever a model is saved), pass a unique identifier as the
dispatch_uid argument to identify your receiver function. This identifier will usually be a string, although any hashable object will suffice. The end result is that your receiver function will only be bound to the signal once for each unique
from django.core.signals import request_finished request_finished.connect(my_callback, dispatch_uid="my_unique_identifier")
Your applications can take advantage of the signal infrastructure and provide its own signals.
When to use custom signals
Signals are implicit function calls which make debugging harder. If the sender and receiver of your custom signal are both within your project, you’re better off using an explicit function call.
All signals are
import django.dispatch pizza_done = django.dispatch.Signal()
This declares a
There are two ways to send signals in Django.
To send a signal, call either
Signal.send() (all built-in signals use this) or
Signal.send_robust(). You must provide the
sender argument (which is a class most of the time) and may provide as many other keyword arguments as you like.
For example, here’s how sending our
pizza_done signal might look:
class PizzaStore: ... def send_pizza(self, toppings, size): pizza_done.send(sender=self.__class__, toppings=toppings, size=size) ...
send_robust() return a list of tuple pairs
[(receiver, response), ... ], representing the list of called receiver functions and their response values.
send() differs from
send_robust() in how exceptions raised by receiver functions are handled.
send() does not catch any exceptions raised by receivers; it simply allows errors to propagate. Thus not all receivers may be notified of a signal in the face of an error.
send_robust() catches all errors derived from Python’s
Exception class, and ensures all receivers are notified of the signal. If an error occurs, the error instance is returned in the tuple pair for the receiver that raised the error.
The tracebacks are present on the
__traceback__ attribute of the errors returned when calling
Signal.disconnect(receiver=None, sender=None, dispatch_uid=None)
receiver argument indicates the registered receiver to disconnect. It may be
dispatch_uid is used to identify the receiver.
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Licensed under the BSD License.