Frequently Asked Questions

Who maintains Django Evolution?

Originally, Django Evolution was built by two guys in Perth, Australia: Ben Khoo and Russell Keith-Magee (a core developer on Django).

Since then, Django Evolution has been taken over by Beanbag, Inc.. We have a vested interest in keeping this alive, well-maintained, and open source for Review Board and other products.

Where do I go for support?

We have a really old mailing list over at Google Groups, where you can ask questions. Truthfully, this group is basically empty these days, but you can still ask there and we’ll answer!

We also provide commercial support. You can reach out to us if you’re using Django Evolution in production and want the assurance of someone you can reach 24/7 if something goes wrong.

What about bug reports?

You can report bugs on our bug tracker, hosted on Splat.

When you file a bug, please be as thorough as possible. Ideally, we’d like to see the contents of your django_project_version and django_evolution tables before and after the upgrade, along with any evolution files, models, and error logs.

How do I contribute patches/pull requests?

We’d love to work with you on your contributions to Django Evolution! It’ll make our lives easier, for sure :)

While we don’t work with pull requests, we do accept patches on, our Review Board server. You can get started by cloning our GitHub repository, and install RBTools (the Review Board command line tools).

To post new changes from your feature branch for review, run:

$ rbt post

To update an existing review request:

$ rbt post -u

See the RBTools documentation for more usage info.

Why evolutions and not migrations?

While most new projects would opt for Django’s own migrations, there are a few advantages to using evolutions:

  1. Evolutions are faster to apply than migrations when upgrading between arbitrary versions of the schema.

    Migrations are applied one at a time. If you have 10 migrations modifying one table, then you’ll trigger a table rebuild 10 times, which is slow – particularly if there’s a lot of data in that table.

    Evolutions going through an optimization process before they’re applied, determining the smallest amount of changes needed. 10 evolutions for a table will generally only trigger a single table rebuild.

    When you fully own the databases you’re upgrading, this may not matter, as you’re probably applying new migrations as you write them. However, if you are distributing self-installed web services (such as Review Board), administrators may not upgrade often. Evolutions help keep these large upgrades from taking forever.

  2. There’s a wide range of Django support.

    If you are still maintaining legacy applications on Django 1.6, it may be hard to transition to newer versions. By switching to Django Evolution, there’s a transition path. You can use evolutions for the apps you control without conflicting with migrations, and begin the upgrade path to modern versions of Django.

    At any time, you can easily switch some or all of your apps from evolutions to migrations, and Django Evolution will take care of it automatically.

  3. Django Evolution is easier for some development processes.

    During development, you may make numerous changes to your database, necessitating schema changes that you wouldn’t want to apply in production. With migrations, you’d need to squash those development-only migration files, which doesn’t play as well if some beta users have only a subset of those migrations applied.

Can I switch apps from evolutions to migrations?

Yes, you can! The MoveToDjangoMigrations mutation will instruct Django Evolution to use migrations instead of evolutions for any future changes. Before it hands your app off entirely, it will apply any unapplied evolutions, ensuring a sane starting point for your new migrations.

Can I switch apps from migrations to evolutions?

No, it’s one way for now. We might add this if anyone wants it in the future. For now, we assume that people using migrations are satisfied with that, and aren’t looking to move to evolutions.

Why do my syncdb/migrate commands act differently?

Starting in Django Evolution 2.0, the evolve command has taken over all responsibilities for creating and updating the database, replacing syncdb and migrate.

For compatibility, those two commands have been replaced, wrapping evolve instead. Some functionality had to be stripped away from the original commands, though.

Our syncdb and migrate commands don’t support loading initial_data fixtures. This feature was deprecated in Django 1.7 and removed in 1.9, and keeping support between Django versions is tricky. We’ve opted not to include it (at least for now).

Our migrate command doesn’t support specifying explicit migration names to apply, or using --fake to pretend migrations were applied.

It’s possible we’ll add compatibility in the future, but only if demand is strong.