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Mobile App on Subdomain with Django

Using an alternate settings file for a mobile version of my site.

I've noticed a fairly common pattern arising with mobile and iPhone versions of websites using sub-domains. Clicky is an excellent example of this. They provide an iPhone version of their site at and a generic mobile version at

I want to create something similar for I assumed that Django, with all its awesomeness could handle this without much fuss. But I really wasn't sure how to put all the pieces together. Essentially, I need to create new sites on sub-domains that use the same models with different views and templates. My initial search of Google returned various results of simply creating mobile versions of existing websites by providing alternate templates, but that is not what I need to do (well, I suppose I ought to, but that's not on the priority list yet). I don't want my sales & info pages at the root of the site, I want the actual app that users log in to budget with - only a dumbed-down version without all the ajax.

Creating a new project is one solution, but it is not ideal. I could have my settings point to the same database and copy or symlink my model, but it seems a bit kludgy.

So I went to where I normally go to get quick tips on Django - the #django IRC channel. jumpa was particularly helpful in providing the tip I needed.

Since I am using mod_wsgi, I can create an alternate settings file for my mobile sub-domains. That works great on my live site, but for my testing environment I don't use mod_wsgi. I simply use runserver. I learned that is not much of an issue either as I can call runserver --settings=mobile_settings

So now, I have the preliminary info I need, I can start building. Just one last thing. I figure I can use most of the existing settings in my main settings file, so I plan to just extend it to At the top of I would just add the following, then proceed to overwrite/add the necessary settings:

1from settings import *


As I suspected there wasn't much to it. I created a new app in my project name mobile. I also created a new template directory for my mobile templates. Here is an example of what my file looks like:

1from settings import *
3ROOT_URLCONF = 'mysite.mobile_urls'
6 "/path/to/my/mobile/templates",
10 '',

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Dustin Davis

Dustin Davis is a software engineer, people manager, hacker, and entreprenuer. He loves to develop systems and automation. He lives with his wife and five kids in Utah.

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Dustin Davis