Skip to content

Getting started

If you just want to see django-pattern-library up and running, have a look at our online demo.


django-pattern-library is available on PyPI. First install it in your Django project:

# With pip,
pip install django-pattern-library
# Alternatively, with Poetry,
poetry add --dev django-pattern-library


We support:

  • Django 2.2.x, 3.0.x, 3.1.x, 3.2.x (experimental)
  • Python 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9
  • Django Templates only, no Jinja support


Django settings

In your Django settings file, add pattern_library to INSTALLED_APPS:

    # ...
    # ...

Also add pattern_library.loader_tags to OPTIONS["builtins"] into the TEMPLATES setting:

        "BACKEND": "django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates",
        "DIRS": [],
        "APP_DIRS": True,
        "OPTIONS": {
            "context_processors": [
            "builtins": [

Pattern library settings

Still in Django settings, set the PATTERN_LIBRARY setting. Here is an example showing the defaults:

    # Groups of templates for the pattern library navigation. The keys
    # are the group titles and the values are lists of template name prefixes that will
    # be searched to populate the groups.
    "SECTIONS": (
        ("components", ["patterns/components"]),
        ("pages", ["patterns/pages"]),

    # Configure which files to detect as templates.
    "TEMPLATE_SUFFIX": ".html",

    # Set which template components should be rendered inside of,
    # so they may use page-level component dependencies like CSS.
    "PATTERN_BASE_TEMPLATE_NAME": "patterns/base.html",

    # Any template in BASE_TEMPLATE_NAMES or any template that extends a template in
    # BASE_TEMPLATE_NAMES is a "page" and will be rendered as-is without being wrapped.
    "BASE_TEMPLATE_NAMES": ["patterns/base_page.html"],

Note the templates in your PATTERN_LIBRARY settings must be available to template loaders.


Include pattern_library.urls in your urlpatterns. Here is an example

from django.apps import apps
from django.urls import include, path

urlpatterns = [
    # … Your URLs

if apps.is_installed("pattern_library"):
    urlpatterns += [
        path("pattern-library/", include("pattern_library.urls")),


This package isn’t intended for production usage, and hasn’t received extensive security scrutiny.

It is highly recommended to only enable this package in testing environments, for a restricted, trusted audience. One way to do this is to only expose its URLs if apps.is_installed("pattern_library"), as demonstrated above, and only have the app installed in environment-specific settings.

Alright, now that we got this far, we can navigate to http://localhost:8000/pattern-library/ to see our pattern library! But if we tried to do this now, we would likely get a PatternLibraryEmpty error – this is expected, as we haven’t added any patterns yet.

Screenshot of the PatternLibraryEmpty error message from Django

Now let’s look at adding our first template!

First pattern

Now we’ve done all of the configuration – let’s create a UI component. We’ll use quote-block as an example, and place it at patterns/components/quote_block/quote_block.html inside one of our Django apps:

<blockquote class="quote-block block--spacing">
    <div class="quote-block__text">
        <p class="quote-block__quote">{{ quote }}</p>
        {% if attribution %}
            <p class="quote-block__attribution">{{ attribution }}</p>
        {% endif %}

Base template

We additionally need to customize a base template, so the standalone component can be rendered within a page with CSS. This is what the PATTERN_BASE_TEMPLATE_NAME setting is for. As a separate template in patterns/base.html:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <title>My Base</title>
  {% block content %}
    {# pattern_library_rendered_pattern is where the pattern library will inject the rendered pattern. #}
    {{ pattern_library_rendered_pattern }}
  {% endblock %}

quote_block should now appear in the pattern library UI menu! But the template doesn’t display anything – we additionally need to provide it with test data.

Component data

We can provide context and tags overrides for our new component by creating a quote_block.yaml YAML file alongside the HTML, at patterns/components/quote_block/quote_block.yaml in our example.

  quote: What is love?
  attribution: Haddaway

We could also provide it with a custom name:

name: Quote Block
  quote: What is love?
  attribution: Haddaway

And that’s it! Our quote_block should finally appear in the pattern library, along with its rendering with this mock data.

Screenshot of the quote_block template

Last update: 2020-11-02