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More about the Site class

A Lino application is defined by its Site class

A Django project becomes a Lino site when a Django settings module has a variable named SITE holding an instance of a subclass of the lino.core.site.Site class.

The lino.core.site.Site class is the ancestor of all Lino applications. It is designed to be subclassed by the application developer, then imported into a local settings.py, where a server administrator may possibly subclass it another time.

Subclassing the Site class doesn’t yet make a Lino site: a Lino site starts to exist when such a Site class gets instantiated in a Django settings module. Lino does quite a few things during this instantiation.

This concept brings an additional level of encapsulation to Django. Django settings usually contain simple values (strings, integers, or lists or dictionaries thereof). But Lino’s SITE setting holds a Python object, with methods that can be called by application code at runtime.

To hook this into Django, imagine the Site class as a kind of a “project model”. Read What is an application? if you wonder why we chose that name.

In other words, the central and fundamental definition of a Lino application is formulated by a Site class object. This Site class object is not defined in a Django settings module but as part of the Python package that implements your application.

Remember the Discover some demo projects

For example, the Site class for Lino Noi is defined in the module lino_noi.lib.noi.settings. Please have a look at its source code.

Note that this module defines a Site class object but does not instantiate it. You can import this module into a Django settings module, but you cannot use it directly as a settings module. The following attempt can only fail:

>>> from lino import startup
>>> startup('lino_voga.lib.voga.settings')
>>> from lino.api.rt import *
Traceback (most recent call last):
AttributeError: 'Settings' object has no attribute 'SITE'

Example of a Lino site that uses the Voga application is in the ivo demo project, which has its settings.py file in the lino_book.projects.ivo.settings module of the book repository. Please have also a look at this source code

You can see that this settings.py

  • imports everything from lino_voga.lib.voga.settings,

  • subclasses the site by saying class Site(Site):

  • instantiates the site by saying SITE = Site(globals())

That’s why you can use it as a Django settings module.

Often-used attributes of Site

In your Site class you define some general description of your application.


The title to appear in the browser window. If this is None, Lino will use verbose_name as default value.


The name of this application, to be displayed to end users at different places.

Note the difference between title and verbose_name:

IOW, the title is rather for usage by a server administrator, while the verbose_name is rather for usage by the application developer.


An optional version number.

Common practice is to fill this from your SETUP_INFO.


The URL of the website that describes this application.

Used e.g. in a Site ‣ About dialog box.

Common practice is to fill this from your SETUP_INFO.

See also Site.site_version() Site.welcome_text() Site.using_text()

How Lino builds the INSTALLED_APPS setting

A Lino application is usually meant to install a given set of Django “apps” (i.e. what’s in the INSTALLED_APPS setting). An application is a collection of plugins that make up a whole. To define this collection, the application developer usually overrides the Site.get_installed_plugins() method.

Lino calls this method once at startup, and it expects it to yield a list of strings. Lino then adds some more “system” plugins and stores the resulting list into your INSTALLED_APPS setting.

Additional local plugins

An optional second positional argument can be specified by the server administrator in order to specify additional local plugins. These will go into the INSTALLED_APPS setting, together with any other plugins needed by them.

>>> from lino_book.projects.min1.settings import Site
>>> pseudoglobals = {}
>>> Site(pseudoglobals, "lino_xl.lib.events")  
<lino_book.projects.min1.settings.Site object at ...>
>>> print('\n'.join(pseudoglobals['INSTALLED_APPS']))

As an application developer you won’t specify this argument, you should specify your installed plugins by overriding get_installed_plugins.

class lino.core.site.Site

Yield the list of plugins to be installed on this site.

Each item must be either a Python module name or a generator to be iterated recursively (again expecting either strings or generators of strings).

Lino will call this method exactly once when the Site instantiates. The resulting list of names will then possibly altered by the get_plugin_modifiers() method before being assigned to Django’s INSTALLED_APPS setting.

Example (taken from chatter):

def get_installed_plugins(self):
    yield super().get_installed_plugins()
    yield 'lino.modlib.users'
    yield 'lino_xl.lib.groups'
    yield 'lino.modlib.comments'
    yield 'lino.modlib.notify'

Return a series of plugin configuration settings.

This is called before plugins are loaded. rt.plugins is not yet populated.

The method must return an iterator that yields tuples with three items each: The name of the plugin, the name of the setting and the value to set.


def get_plugin_configs(self):
    yield super().get_plugin_configs()
    yield ('countries', 'hide_region', True)
    yield ('countries', 'country_code', 'BE')
    yield ('vat', 'declaration_plugin', 'lino_xl.lib.bevats')
    yield ('accounting', 'use_pcmn', True)
    yield ('accounting', 'start_year', 2014)
get_plugin_modifiers(self, **kwargs)

Override or hide individual plugins of the application.

Deprecated because this approach increases complexity instead of simplifying things.

For example, if your site inherits from lino.projects.min2:

def get_plugin_modifiers(self, **kw):
    kw = super().get_plugin_modifiers(**kw)
    return kw

The default implementation returns an empty dict.

This method adds an additional level of customization because it lets you remove or replace individual plugins from INSTALLED_APPS without rewriting your own get_installed_plugins().

This will be called during Site instantiation and is expected to return a dict of app_label to full_python_path mappings which you want to override in the list of plugins returned by get_installed_plugins().

Mapping an app_label to None will remove that plugin from INSTALLED_APPS.

It is theoretically possible but not recommended to replace an existing app_label by a plugin with a different app_label. For example, the following might work but is not recommended: