Django Evolution Documentation

Django Evolution is a database schema migration tool for projects using the Django web framework. Its job is to help projects make changes to a database’s schema – the structure of the tables and columns and indexes – in the fastest way possible (incurring minimum downtime) and in a way that works across all Django-supported databases.

This is very similar in concept to the built-in migrations support in Django 1.7 and higher. Django Evolution predates both Django’s own migrations, and works alongside it to transition databases taking advantage of the strengths of both migrations and evolutions.

While most will be fine with migrations, there’s a couple reasons why you might find Django Evolution a worthwhile addition to your project:

  1. You’re still stuck on Django 1.6 or earlier and need to make changes to your database.

    Django 1.6 is the last version without built-in support for migrations, and there are still codebases out there using it. Django Evolution can help keep upgrades manageable, and make it easier to transition all or part of your codebase to migrations when you finally upgrade.

  2. You’re distributing a self-installable web application, possibly used in large enterprises, where you have no control over when people are going to upgrade.

    Django’s migrations assume some level of planning around when changes are made to the schema and when they’re applied to a database. The more changes you make, and the more versions in-between what the user is running and what they upgrade to, the longer the upgrade time.

    If a customer is in control of when they upgrade, they might end up with years of migrations that need to be applied.

    Migrations apply one-by-one, possibly triggering the rebuild of a table many times during an upgrade. Django Evolution, on the other hand, can apply years worth of evolutions at once, optimized to perform as few table changes as possible. This can take days, hours or even seconds off the upgrade time.

Django Evolution officially supports Django 1.6 through 3.1.