Most Important Changes in Django 1.5

With the announcement of Django 1.5B1 and the final release of 1.5 around the corner I thought I’d go over some of the largest new features. For those that want to see the release notes you can do so here.

Configurable User Model

The largest change coming to Django 1.5 is the ability to specify your own user model instead of having to use the one that’s been shipped with Django for the past 6 years. Before Django 1.5, applications that wanted to use Django’s auth framework (django.contrib.auth) were forced to use Django’s definition of a “user”. In Django 1.5 you can create your own User account and include any of the fields you wish (Twitter, Facebook, larger email field, etc…).

You can read more about it here.

Python 3 Support

Django 1.5 also includes experimental Python 3 support. They suggest not using it in production yet due to the complex nature of porting applications from Python 2 to Python 3 and the lack of use so far in production environments. Django 1.6 will have full Python 3 support.

Saving a Subset of Model’s Fields

You can now supply a update_fields argument to .save() and the model will only update those fields instead of updating every field. This can help in high-concurrency operations, and can improve performance. = 'Adam'
obj.age = '25'
# This will only update the name field.['name'])

{% verbatim %} template tag

Some Javascript template syntax conflicts with Django’s own templating syntax. Now you can wrap your code in {% verbatim %}{% endverbatim %} tags to make sure that Django won’t parse out the Javascript code.

404.html and 500.html are no longer needed

Previously when setting up a new project you had to make sure you have 404.html and 500.html templates in your template directory or Django would throw an exception. Pretty much every beginner programmer to Django had this problem at least once. Now Django provides defaults for these if the files aren’t there. You should still create your own to provide a nicer look and more information but at least Django won’t error out if they aren’t there.

Multi-Column Indexes

You can now have multi-column indexes if your database supports it. Use index_together = ['field_1', 'field_2'] to create a multi-column index.


Django 1.5 Deprecations (Removed in Django 1.7)

Along with every release Django is deprecating a few features that are no longer necessary or rarely used.


AUTH_PROFILE_MODULE and .get_profile() are now obsolete with the new customizable User objects. If you still need to associate data with a User object the best practice is to have a OneToOne field from the Profile to the User model.


Since Django 1.5 drops support for Python 2.5 and below they can now rely on the json module that’s included with Python 2.6+. This could have some unknown side-effects but for the most part probably shouldn’t make any difference.

I know I’m looking forward to Django 1.5. I think the ability to have configurable User models is a big win for the framework. You can download Django 1.5B1 here.

  • David

    Think you mean 404.html

    • Adam McKerlie

      You are most definitely correct. Updated!

  • Kern3l

    Is “New URL” change so obvious that it needed no comment? ;]

    • Adam McKerlie

      The reason why I didn’t include the new URL style is that it’s just a deprecation that was already announced in 1.3.

      For those that don’t know you’ll now need to do your URLs as {% url "myview" %} if you want to use the literal string or {% url variable_name %} if you want to pass in a variable. This just continues on with the consistency of variables and strings in Django’s templates.

  • Kerr

    I didn’t know about the multi-column indexes feature. For me, this is almost as welcome as the configurable user model enhancement.

  • Derek

    Any ideas as to date for Djnago 1.5 … early in 2013?

  • Aidan Zhakypov

    If you had to develop a new (production) web site now, would you use Django 1.5?

    • silent1mezzo

      I always wait until Django has released the final version until I upgrade my proudction systems. I would wait until 1.5 is officially released to upgrade. If you’re using virtualenv’s and pip it’s fairly simple to upgrade.

      Because there’s very little backwards incompatibility I wouldn’t worry to much about upgrading.

  • Suhail Vs

    so auth_profile_module is going to depreciate. that sounds bad. any way i hopes the new customizable user will be great.

  • jones42546

    It was very expected and finally we find the change in here.I think this is very Important Changes in Django and people also like it so much of it.For more feature such kind of change help us to get more interesting in it.