This tutorial will cover some of the common errors that you encounter when upgrading your Python Django application to Django 2.

Yes, Django 3 has been released, but it still doesn't have an LTS version, so I imagine with Django 2.2 still supported until April 2022, Django 2 is still the version of choice for many individuals and companies.

When I upgraded a few projects from Django 1.11 to Django 2, I was bombarded with a number of different errors due to some breaking changes introduced in Django 2. So, I thought I would provide a record of the errors I encountered and how I fixed them.

1. No module named 'django.core.urlresolvers'

In Django, it's pretty common to use the reverse function to get the path of a url from its name.

The problematic line was the following:

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from django.core.urlresolvers import reverse

The urlresolver module was removed in Django 2 and can no longer be used. Instead, you can use the resolve function from the urls module as such:

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from django.urls import reverse

Awesome! One down. Let's continue.

2. missing 1 required positional argument: 'on_delete'

Django 2 now requires the on_delete keyword to be specified for foreign key fields that are used in your models. Previously, it would default to models.CASCADE.

In order to resolve this problem, you're going to need to add the on_delete keyword arguement to every foreign key field. You also need to specify on_delete for the OneToOneField as well.

Your options for the on_delete keyword argument include:

  • models.CASCADE
  • models.PROTECT
  • models.SET_NULL
  • models.SET_DEFAULT
  • models.SET()
  • models.DO_NOTHING

You can read about the values you can pass to on_delete in the Django documentation.

Here's an example of what specifying the on_delete keyword looks like:

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my_field = models.ForeignKey(MyModel, on_delete=models.CASCADE)

OK, moving on to the next error.

3. Specifying a namespace in include() without providing an app_name

This error is caused by a change in the api for Django's include function. We need to make sure the include function is being passed the correct arguments.

First, you need to go to the urls.py file you are trying to include and add a variable called app_name. You can add it anywhere in the file, but I would recommend putting it at the top after your imports.


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# my_app/urls.py

... your imports

app_name="my_app"

... rest of your code

Now, go to the urls.py file that includes the other file. You can now add the app_name you specified as the second parameter to the include function.

Here is an example:


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re_path(r"^api/my_path", include("my_app.urls","my_app")),

4. There are duplicate field(s) in fieldsets[][]

In my case, there was an issue with my custom ModelAdmin class. It seems Django used to allow duplicate fields before, but now it does not.

Simply remove the duplicate fields from your custom admin class and you shouldn't have any issues.

5. JSONField default should be a callable instead of an instance so that it's not shared between all field instances

This is an issue you will only encounter if you are using PostgreSQL along with the PostgreSQL JSONField.

Basically, Django only wants you to pass a callable as the default value for this field. This is to avoid the default being shared among all objects which could lead to problems in the case of modification.

  • If your default is {}, replace that with dict.

  • If your default is [], replace that with list.

6. request.user.is_authenticated() TypeError: 'bool' object is not callable

In Django 2, is_authenticated can no longer be called as a function. It is a boolean property and you need to call it like a property as follows:

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request.user.is_authenticated

7. Optional Changes

You are probably using the url function from django.conf.urls. Your code probably looks something like the following:


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from django.conf.urls import url

url(r"^books/$", views.BookList.as_view()),

The url function is an alias to django.urls.re_path() and it's likely to be deprecated according to the Django documentation.

I highly recommend changing to import re_path to avoid future issues when the function is in fact deprecated.

Rewritten with re_path, the example from above would become:


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from django.urls import re_path
re_path(r^"books/$", views.BookList.as_view()),

And that about sums it up. I hope that this helped you have a smooth upgrade to Django 2.

Still Need Some Help?

If you are confused upgrading your Django project, or have any other issues, consider signing up for codementor where you can get help from a number of different mentors, including myself. If you sign up using this link , you can get $10 in codementor credits towards your first session. Also, if you would like to book a session with me specifically, please check out my codementor profile.

If you liked this and want to see similar content, here are some other python articles I wrote. Perhaps you are using heroku to host your Django project. If so, check out my article on how to change your python version in heroku.

Also, if you are interested in reading more awesome articles about being a remote software developer, please consider subscribing to my mailing list.

Keep on coding!