User notification management for the Django web framework

pip install pinax-notifications==6.0.0


Pinax Notifications

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Table of Contents

About Pinax

Pinax is an open-source platform built on the Django Web Framework. It is an ecosystem of reusable Django apps, themes, and starter project templates. This collection can be found at

Important Links

Where you can find what you need:



pinax-notifications is a user notification management app for the Django web framework. Many sites need to notify users when certain events have occurred and to allow configurable options as to how those notifications are to be received. pinax-notifications serves this need.


  • Submission of notification messages by other apps
  • Notification messages via email (configurable by user)
  • Ability to supply your own backend notification channels
  • Ability to scope notifications at the site level

Supported Django and Python Versions

Django / Python 3.6 3.7 3.8
2.2 * * *
3.0 * * *



To install pinax-notifications:

$ pip install pinax-notifications

Add pinax.notifications to your INSTALLED_APPS setting:

    # other apps

Add pinax.notifications.urls to your project urlpatterns:

urlpatterns = [
    # other urls
    url(r"^notifications/", include("pinax.notifications.urls", namespace="pinax_notifications")),


Integrating notification support into your app is a three-step process:

  1. create your notice types
  2. create your notice templates
  3. send notifications

Creating Notice Types

You need to call NoticeType.create(label, display, description) once to create the notice types for your application in the database.

  • label is the internal shortname that will be used for the type
  • display is what the user sees as the name of the notification type
  • description is a short description

For example:

from pinax.notifications.models import NoticeType

    "Invitation Received",
    "you have received an invitation"

One way to create notice types is using a custom AppConfig. Here is an example:

# myapp/signals/

from django.conf import settings
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_noop as _

def create_notice_types(sender, **kwargs): 
    if "pinax.notifications" in settings.INSTALLED_APPS:
        from pinax.notifications.models import NoticeType
        print("Creating notices for myapp")
        NoticeType.create("friends_invite", _("Invitation Received"), _("you have received an invitation"))
        NoticeType.create("friends_accept", _("Acceptance Received"), _("an invitation you sent has been accepted"))
        print("Skipping creation of NoticeTypes as notification app not found")

Notice that the code is wrapped in a conditional clause so if pinax-notifications is not installed, your app will proceed anyway.

Note that the display and description arguments are marked for translation by using ugettext_noop. That will enable you to use Django's makemessages management command and use pinax-notifications i18n capabilities.

# myapp/

from django.apps import AppConfig
from django.db.models.signals import post_migrate

from myapp.signals import handlers

class MyAppConfig(AppConfig):
    name = 'myapp'
    verbose_name = 'My App'

    def ready(self):
        post_migrate.connect(handlers.create_notice_types, sender=self)

This will call the handler to create notices after the application is migrated.

# myapp/

default_app_config = 'myapp.apps.MyAppConfig'


Default templates are provided by the pinax-templates app in the notifications section of that project.

Reference pinax-templates installation instructions to include these templates in your project.

View live pinax-templates examples and source at Pinax Templates!

Customizing Templates

Override the default pinax-templates templates by copying them into your project subdirectory pinax/notifications/ on the template path and modifying as needed.

For example if your project doesn't use Bootstrap, copy the desired templates then remove Bootstrap and Font Awesome class names from your copies. Remove class references like class="btn btn-success" and class="icon icon-pencil" as well as bootstrap from the {% load i18n bootstrap %} statement. Since bootstrap template tags and filters are no longer loaded, you'll also need to update {{ form|bootstrap }} to {{ form }} since the "bootstrap" filter is no longer available.


Base template for other templates.


This template allows the user to specify which notices they want to receive. This template is rendered by the sole view in pinax.notifications.views with the context containing a list of available notice_types as well as the request.user's settings for those notice types.

Backend Templates

Four templates included with pinax-templates support the single email backend that is included with pinax-notifications.


Renders to the email subject.


Renders to the email body.


Renders the entire email body. Contains full.txt.


Renders the entire email subject. Contains short.txt.

In addition to the extra context supplied via the send call in your site or app, these templates are rendered with the following context variables:

  • default_http_protocol - https if settings.PINAX_USE_SSL is True, otherwise http
  • current_site - Site.objects.get_current()
  • base_url - the default http protocol combined with the current site domain
  • recipient - the user who is getting the notice
  • sender - the value supplied to the sender kwarg of the send method (often this is not set and will be None)
  • notice - display value of the notice type

You can override default templates shipped with pinax-templates by adding alternative templates to a directory on the template path called pinax/notifications/<notice_type_label>/. For the example NoticeType above we might override short.txt to surround the notice with asterisks:

{# pinax/notifications/friends_invite/short.txt #}
{% autoescape off %}{% load i18n %}{% blocktrans %}*** {{ notice }} ***{% endblocktrans %}{% endautoescape %}

If any of the four email backend templates are missing from the alternative directory, the appropriate installed default template is used.

Sending Notifications

There are two different ways of sending out notifications. We have support for blocking and non-blocking methods of sending notifications. The most simple way to send out a notification, for example::

from pinax.notifications.models import send_now, send, queue

send([to_user], "friends_invite", {"from_user": from_user})

One thing to note is that send is a proxy around either send_now or queue. They all have the same signature::

send(users, label, extra_context)

The parameters are:

  • users is an iterable of User objects to send the notification to.
  • label is the label you used in the previous step to identify the notice type.
  • extra_content is a dictionary to add custom context entries to the template used to render to notification. This is optional.
send_now vs. queue vs. send

Lets first break down what each does.


This is a blocking call that will check each user for elgibility of the notice and actually peform the send.


This is a non-blocking call that will queue the call to send_now to be executed at a later time. To later execute the call you need to use the emit_notices management command.


A proxy around send_now and queue. It gets its behavior from a global setting named PINAX_NOTIFICATIONS_QUEUE_ALL. By default it is False. This setting is meant to help control whether you want to queue any call to send.

send also accepts now and queue keyword arguments. By default each option is set to False to honor the global setting which is False. This enables you to override on a per call basis whether it should call send_now or queue.

Optional Notification Support

In case you want to use pinax-notifications in your reusable app, you can wrap the import of pinax-notifications in a conditional clause that tests if it's installed before sending a notice. As a result your app or project still functions without notification.

For example:

from django.conf import settings

if "notification" in settings.INSTALLED_APPS:
    from pinax.notifications import models as notification
    notification = None

and then, later:

if notification:
    notification.send([to_user], "friends_invite", {"from_user": from_user})


The following allows you to specify the behavior of pinax-notifications in your project. Please be aware of the native Django settings which can affect the behavior of pinax-notifications.


Defaults to:

    ("email", ""),



This is a proposed common setting across the Pinax ecosystem. It currently may not be consistant across all apps.

Defaults to False.

This is used to specify the beginning of URLs in the default email_body.txt file. A common use-case for overriding this default might be https for use on more secure projects.

Formerly named DEFAULT_HTTP_PROTOCOL and defaulted to "http".


There is not set default for this setting. It allows users to specify their own notification language.

Example model in a languages app::

from django.conf import settings

class Language(models.Model):

    user = models.ForeignKey(User)
    language = models.CharField(max_length=10, choices=settings.LANGUAGES)

Setting this value in




Defaults to webmaster@localhost and is a standard Django setting.

Default e-mail address to use for various automated correspondence from


Defaults to a tuple of all available languages and is a standard Django setting.

The default for this is specifically used for things like the Django admin. However, if you need to specify a subset of languages for your site's front end you can use this setting to override the default. In which case this is the definated pattern of usage::

gettext = lambda s: s

    ("en", gettext("English")),
    ("fr", gettext("French")),


It defaults to False.

By default, calling notification.send will send the notification immediately, however, if you set this setting to True, then the default behavior of the send method will be to queue messages in the database for sending via the emit_notices command.



It defaults to -1.

It defines how long to wait for the lock to become available. Default of -1 means to never wait for the lock to become available. This only applies when using crontab setup to execute the emit_notices management command to send queued messages rather than sending immediately.


Scoping Notifications

Sometimes you have a site that has groups or teams. Perhaps you are using pinax-teams. If this is the case you likely want users who might be members of multiple teams to be able to set their notification preferences on a per team or group basis.

You will need to to simply override NoticeSettingsView to provide your own scoping object.

Override NoticeSettingsView

I think it's best if we just demonstrate via code:


from pinax.notifications.views import NoticeSettingsView

class TeamNoticeSettingsView(NoticeSettingsView):
    def scoping(self):

Then override the url:


from django.conf.urls import url

from .views import TeamNoticeSettingsView

urlpatterns = [
    # other urls
    url(r"^notifications/settings/$", TeamNoticeSettingsView.as_view(), name="notification_notice_settings"),

Change Log


  • Drop Django 1.11, 2.0, and 2.1, and Python 2,7, 3.4, and 3.5 support
  • Add Django 2.2 and 3.0, and Python 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8 support
  • Update packaging configs
  • Direct users to community resources


  • Remove unneeded compatibility


  • Fix bytestring decoding bug
  • Update django>=1.11 in requirements
  • Update CI config
  • Add sorting guidance for 3rd-party app imports
  • Improve documentation and markup


  • Standardize documentation layout
  • Drop Django v1.8, v1.10 support


  • Fix another silly documentation error


  • Fix installation documentation


  • Add Django 2.0 compatibility testing
  • Drop Django 1.9 and Python 3.3 support
  • Move documentation into README
  • Convert CI and coverage to CircleCi and CodeCov
  • Add PyPi-compatible long description


  • BI: To support changes to render_to_string in Django 1.10 and above, your notice full.txt and short.txt plain text templates must now be autoescaped explicitly using the {% autoescape %} tag. (#68)


  • initial support for Django 1.10


  • fix compatability with Django migrations


  • add Django migrations


  • renamed app as pinax-notifications
  • added the ability to override NoticeSetting model
  • added documentation on scoping notifications


  • fixed a deprecation warning


  • added Russian locale
  • added travis integration for tests/lints
  • added created_notice_type wrapper
  • cleaned up some small bugs identified by pylint


  • removed unused module
  • removed captureas templatetag
  • added notice_settings.html template
  • other minor fixes and tweaks, mostly to code style


  • pluggable backends


  • BI: renamed Notice.user to Notice.recipient
  • BI: renamed {{ user }} context variable in notification templates to {{ recipient }}
  • BI: added nullable Notice.sender and modified send_now and queue to take an optional sender
  • added received and sent methods taking a User instance to Notice.objects
  • New default behavior: single notice view now marks unseen notices as seen
  • no longer optionally depend on mailer; use django.core.mail.send_mail and we now encourge use of Django 1.2+ for mailer support
  • notifications are not sent to inactive users
  • users which do not exist when sending notification are now ignored
  • BI: split settings part of notices view to its own view notice_settings


  • added support for DEFAULT_HTTP_PROTOCOL allowing https absolute URLs

BI = backward incompatible change


This app was originally named django-notification but was renamed to bring a common package name like notification under the pinax namespace to avoid conflicts with other like named packages.

In addition, we wanted to take the opportunity to rename it to the plural form, notifications to be in line with the convention we've adopted across the ecosystem.


Contributing information can be found in the Pinax community health file repo.

Code of Conduct

In order to foster a kind, inclusive, and harassment-free community, the Pinax Project has a Code of Conduct. We ask you to treat everyone as a smart human programmer that shares an interest in Python, Django, and Pinax with you.

Connect with Pinax

For updates and news regarding the Pinax Project, please follow us on Twitter @pinaxproject and check out our Pinax Project blog.


Copyright (c) 2012-present James Tauber and contributors under the MIT license.