Welcome | Get started | Dive into Lino | Contribute | Topics | Reference | More

Create your first Lino site

Create your first Lino site

Run getlino startsite to create a first site:

$ getlino startsite polly first

The first argument ("polly") is the nickname of the application to install. Run getlino list to get a list of available choices.

The second argument ("first") is the nickname you give to your Lino site.

Run runserver:

$ go first
$ runserver

Start your browser and point it to

You should see something like the image in Install your Lino developer environment.

It looks the same because it is the same application (Polly), but the files are organized differently. This is no longer a demo project, it is the first Lino site running on your machine.

File locations


This is your projects root, the base directory for every project of which you are the author. Every new Lino site created with getlino startsite will be a directory below this one.


This directory contains the first site you just created. It is a Django project directory.

Django project directory

A directory that contains a runnable Django project. It contains the files necessary for that specific instance of a given Lino application.

Usually there is one Django project directory for every Lino site.

Lino project directories are not very big, and you will hopefully create many such projects and want to keep a backup of them.

Let's have a look at the files in ~/lino/lino_local/first.

The settings.py file

Your first settings.py file should look as follows:

# -*- coding: UTF-8 -*-
from lino_noi.lib.noi.settings import *
from lino_local.settings import *

class Site(Site):
    title = "first"
    server_url = "http://localhost"
    languages = 'en'
    # use_linod = True
    default_ui = 'lino_react.react'
    show_internal_field_names = True

    def get_plugin_configs(self):
        yield super().get_plugin_configs()
        # example of local plugin settings:
        # yield ('ledger', 'start_year', 2018)
        yield ('help', 'make_help_pages', True)

SITE = Site(globals())
DEBUG = True
# ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['localhost']
    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.sqlite3',
        'NAME': 'first',


  • It imports the settings from lino_noi.lib.noi.settings because you said noi as the application for our first site. It imports them directly into your global namespace using the wildcard *. Yes, you want them to become our Django settings.

  • It then does the same with the lino_local.settings. This module has been created by getlino configure, its source code is in ~/lino/lino_local/settings.py, and it contains Django settings that are likely to be the same for all Lino sites on a same server. For example ADMINS, EMAIL_HOST or SERVER_EMAIL

  • Then you redefine the Site class using local settings.

  • Then comes the trick that turns your Django project into a Lino application:

    SITE = Site(globals(), ...)

    That is, you instantiate a Site class and store this object as SITE in your Django settings. This line will automatically install default values for all required Django settings (e.g. DATABASES and LOGGING) into your global namespace.

You might add DEBUG = True or other settings of your choice after these two lines.

More about the settings.py file in The local settings.py file.

The manage.py file

The manage.py file should have the following content:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import os
import sys

sys.path.insert(0, '/home/joe/lino')

if __name__ == "__main__":
    from django.core.management import execute_from_command_line

A manage.py file does two things: it sets the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable and then calls Django's execute_from_command_line function.

Visualizing database content from the command-line

The runserver command starts a web server and lets you interact with the database through the web interface. But Django also offers a shell interface. We will come back to this later, for the moment just try the following.

You can visualize the content of your database from the command-line without starting a web server using Lino's show command. For example to see the list of countries, you can write:

$ python manage.py show countries.Countries

This will produce the following output:

============================= ==========
 Designation                   ISO code
----------------------------- ----------
 Bangladesh                    BD
 Belgium                       BE
 Congo (Democratic Republic)   CD
 Estonia                       EE
 France                        FR
 Germany                       DE
 Maroc                         MA
 Netherlands                   NL
 Russia                        RU
============================= ==========


You can now play around by changing things in your project.

  1. In your settings.py file, replace lino_noi.lib.noi.settings by lino_book.projects.polly.settings. Run pm prep followed by pm runserver. Log in and play around.

  2. Same as previous, but with lino_book.projects.chatter

  3. Technically speaking, Chatter and Polly are two Lino applications. What does Polly do? And what does Chatter do? Write two short descriptions for these two applications.

  4. Find the source code of the lino_noi.lib.noi.settings file. Say pywhich lino_noi to get a hint where this source code is stored.

  5. Read the documentation about the following Site attributes and try to change them:


If you follow an internship, you should now have a meeting with your mentor and show him what you learned so far. You'll get a badge to certify your progress.