Chapter 8: Django Deployment

Intro to Django

link Django Deployment

By the end of this lesson, developers will be able to:

  • Use docker to test containerized deployments
  • Create a continuous delivery pipeline with Gitlab CI and Docker


Launch time. Are you ready?

In this section, we will cover two approaches to deploying the library app:

  1. Standard deployment with the Heroku CLI.

  2. Containerized deployment with Docker.

We will also include references to an advanced deployment with Gitlab CI.

link Heroku CLI

It's time to launch libby to Heroku.

Make sure you download the heroku cli and run heroku login

link Installation

Let's begin by installing some of the packages we will need:

pipenv install whitenoise dj-database-url gunicorn psycopg2-binary

link Static Files

Add the following to library/

    # ...


Whitenoise will now handle hosting our static assets.


Add a new Procfile in the root directory library/Procfile:

web: gunicorn library.wsgi

In this Procfile, we declare a web process for our application.

Heroku Create

First, create and name your new heroku application:

heroku create your-heroku-app-name

Based on your app name, you will need to replace the HEROKU_APP_NAME value in your library/ to whitelist this URL.


Next, add the following to your library/

import dj_database_url

DEBUG = False

ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['localhost', '', '']

# ...

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.sqlite3',
        'NAME': os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'db.sqlite3'),

DATABASE_URL = os.environ.get('DATABASE_URL')
db_from_env = dj_database_url.config(default=DATABASE_URL, conn_max_age=500, ssl_require=True)

link Deployment

  1. git status
  2. git commit -am "add any pending changes"
  3. git push heroku master
  4. heroku run python3 migrate
  5. heroku run python3 createsuperuser

link Docker

Download Docker Desktop, and ensure it's running on your machine with the following command:


If you see the list of docker commands, you're all set. We will utilize the docker build command to test our builds locally.

Let's get started with a new Dockerfile in our root folder:

# pull official base image
FROM python:3.8.3-slim

# set work directory

# set environment variables

# install system dependencies
RUN apt-get update && \
    apt-get install -y --no-install-recommends gcc

RUN apt-get install -y python3-pip

RUN pip install pipenv

# install dependencies
COPY Pipfile* /app
RUN cd /app && pipenv lock --requirements > requirements.txt
RUN pip install -r /app/requirements.txt

# copy project
COPY . .

# collect static files
RUN python collectstatic --noinput

# migrate database
RUN python migrate

# run gunicorn
CMD gunicorn library.wsgi:application --bind$PORT

Here, I made a few decisions in the above file. Namely, to keep the build small, I selected the latest python:3.8.3-slim base image.

In summary:

  1. Create a work directory at /app
  2. Set environment variables
  3. Install dependencies
  4. Copy project content
  5. Run python commands

You may notice that pipenv handles locking our dependencies at build time. We would like to omit the Pipfile.lock in this build process, so let's add a .dockerignore to omit files from the build process.

Add a new .dockerignore file in our root folder:


As of now, we can build and test the docker image locally with the following commands:

docker build -t web:latest .
docker run -d --name django-heroku -e "PORT=8765" -e "DEBUG=0" -p 8007:8765 web:latest

Verify http://localhost:8007/api works as expected.

To stop and remove your local containers, run the following:

docker stop django-heroku
docker rm django-heroku

link Docker Deploy

With this approach, you can deploy pre-built Docker images to Heroku.

Log in to the Heroku Container Registry, to indicate to Heroku that we want to use the Container Runtime:

heroku container:login

Re-build the Docker image and tag it with the following format:<app>/<process-type>

Make sure to replace <app> with the name of the Heroku app that you just created and <process-type> with web since this will be for a web process.

For example:

docker build -t .

Push the image to the registry:

docker push

Release the image:

heroku container:release -a libby-app web

Go ahead and verify your live deployment.

link Gitlab CI

After verifying your initial deployment succeeded, we can move on to a more advanced CI/CD pipeline.

The purpose of Continuous Integration and Deployment, or CI/CD is to automate parts of the deployment process, such as releasing new commits to Heroku.

So our goals with gitlab are to automate the release process, and verify each deployment is building successfully.

For more information about the Gitlab CI/CD, visit

That's a wrap! Congratulations!!

Finally, we made it! Congratulations on completing the library application.

link Final Challenge

Try adding a frontend client to communicate with our library. Whether you decide to use a RESTful service, or GraphQL query interface, you should be able to catalog books, write reviews and upload book images.

link References