Complete Single Server Django Stack Tutorial

Introduction

I notice a lot of people these days using Heroku to host applications they’ve written with Django or Rails. This may save them some time and effort, but they are spending way more money on this specialized hosting than they would pay for a generic Linux host. They are also giving up control of a large portion of their application. I consider the entire stack to be part of my application, and complete control over all the pieces is mandatory.

Because I encourage people to administer their own servers, I have written this tutorial to remove just one more of their excuses not to do so. This tutorial covers everything you need to do to configure a blank Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS 64-bit server to run a Django application properly. I will not be covering anything about writing the application itself. I will also only provide minimal discussion of some topics, like database configuration. If you can finish this tutorial, you can Google the necessary documentation for other things. The only thing I completely skip is configuration of search using Haystack and Solr since it is not needed by most applications.

If you want to use a different Linux distribution, most of this tutorial will still be correct. You will have to translate all of the apt-get statements and package names to your distribution of choice. Configuration file paths and layouts may also differ. I chose Ubuntu 12.04 because it is very popular, available on almost every host, and its long term support will keep this tutorial relevant for a longer period of time.

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Summer Camp Politics

Gather round and listen to this true tale of summer camp. It’s actually true. I swear this is not a lead in to sexual innuendo. It was generic day camp, not band camp.

At this day camp we played a lot of four square. The thing was, we played it inside a cabin. The cabin was square. There was no furniture. There were built-in benches all around the inner edge. It had a roof to block the rain. The square was already painted very clearly on the wooden floor by campers of years past. It was an arena that beckoned for the red Voit. Continue reading

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Anything that is Digital has no National Borders

With the battle raging over SOPA and PIPA, the copyright war is as hot as it has ever been. The same points have been repeated ad nauseam, but there is one aspect that is not emphasized enough. SOPA and PIPA supporters often claim that these laws only affect sites outside the United States. Even if that were true, that’s a point against these laws, not for them! The national segregation on the part of media companies needs to end. Whether they like it or not, anything that is digital ignores all borders, and now is the time to stop fighting it. Continue reading

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Tutorial: Programatically Post a Status Update to Your Facebook Page

In my last post, To OAuth or Not to OAuth, I said I would write a complete tutorial on how to use the Facebook API to post status updates to your own Facebook page. This is that tutorial. Get ready, it’s a doozy. Continue reading

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To OAuth or Not to OAuth

You’re feeling some pains, so you go see a doctor. The doctor sends you to have some tests done at a lab on the other side of town. The results come in a week later and you have to get those results into your doctor’s hands. You could just go back across town and get them, but that’s a pain. It would be much easier if your doctor could get the results directly from the lab. It would be even better if they could be transferred digitally.

But now we run into problems of security. What if someone else calls the lab impersonating your doctor and gets your test results? What if you change doctors and the lab releases the test results to your old doctor against your wishes? What if the lab is full of jerks and they send all sorts of crap to your doctor in your name. We have this exact same problem on the Internet, and that is why OAuth was created. Continue reading

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You Don’t Impress Me. Try These Hacks Instead.

Recently there have been a lot of computer security attacks. It’s actually hard to say if they are more frequent now than they have been in the past. What is certain is that they are being publicized more now than before. Even so, the majority of these attacks are lame. I may agree or disagree with the motivations behind some of them, but they are almost all just pathetic. I am disappointed. Continue reading

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Keep your California out of my New York

More and more the entrepreneurial community has integrated itself into the technology community. You have to commend them on what an excellent job they have done. At this point startup news and technology news are basically synonymous. At least half of articles posted on tech sites are actually about business and have little at all to do with technology. I’ve mostly just observed and lightly complained about them, but now they are trying to attack my home turf. They are attacking New York City. Continue reading

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