Understanding Notification Attributes

This is a detailed walk through the functioning of django-notify-x. This page will describe the use of Notification Model fields and the notify signal, so that you can make the most out of it.

Important fields in Notification Model

Anonymous values:

  • Each activity stream component can carry an anonymous value instead of being a model object.
  • You can also specify the its URL as text. By default get_absolute_url() method is called to assign a URL to activitiy stream participator.
  • At Django Model level inserts, the field name of these components are as follows:
    • actor_content_object: For directly populating the model using a model instance.
    • actor_content_type: For manually assinging the object’s content_type.
    • actor_object_id: ID of the object for manual assignment.
    • actor_text: Name of the actor in plain text (useful when using anonymous actor).
    • actor_url_text: URL of the actor in plain text (useful when using anonymous actor).
    • … the same goes for target and obj components of activity stream.

Notification types:

  • Each notification is different, they must be formatted differently during HTML rendering. For this, each notification gets to carry its own notification type.
  • This notification type will be used to search the special template for the notification located at notifications/includes/NF_TYPE.html of your template directory.
  • The main reason to add this field is to save you from the pain of writing if...elif...else blocks in your template file just for handling how notifications will get rendered.
  • With this, you can just save template for an individual notification type and call the template-tag to render all notifications for you without writing a single if...elif...else block.
  • You’ll just need to do a {% render_notifications using NOTIFICATION_OBJ %} and you’ll get your notifications rendered.
  • By default, every nf_type is set to default.

The shortcut properties for activity components:

  • Every activity component has its property which returns either the __str__ value of ACTIVITY-COMPONENT_content_object or the value of its anonymous text or None.

    • For example:

      notification = Notification.objects.get(pk=1)
      # Instead of doing this
      if notification.actor_content_object:
          actor_value = notification.actor_content_object
      elif notification.actor_text:
          actor_value = notification.actor_text
          actor_value = 'fallback text'
      # you can do this
  • The same way, every activity component is supposed contain a URL which is either the model object’s get_absolute_url() value or ACTIVITYCOMPONENT_url_text or None or a fallback value.

    • You guessed it right!, There’s a property for this thing too.
    • You can just access the activity component’s URL like notification.actor_url.
    • notification.actor_url will either return the URL using the above methods or just return a "#" as a fallback URL.
  • Not a property, but a model method…

    .as_json(), converts the values of the model instance to JSON or python dictonary, it is used when sending live notification updates as JSON format.

Other fields:


Carries the verb of the notification performed.


Carries optional text description of the notification.


JsonField, allows arbirary values in JSON format, so that you can store other useful information about a specific notification.


Useful when you want to soft delete notifications instead of diretly deleting them from database. The nature of this attribute can be controlled by a setting NOTIFY_SOFT_DELETE = False. This will delete notifications directly from database. By default, notifications are soft-deleted.

Important options in notify method

The keyword arguments when sending a notify signal are quite different than that of the Notification Model. Some fields are skipped and some are renamed for convenience. The below is the overview of the significant changes you need to know.

The actor, target and obj components

The actor keyword argument acts as actor_content_object at Django model level insert. There is not explicit kwarg for actor_content_type and actor_object_id. Same goes for target and obj.

The recipient and recipient_list

The notify signal takes these two as conditionally optional keyword arguments. They can neither be supplied together nor be empty. The recipient takes a user model instance only, the same case is with the recipient_list which takes a list() of user model instances.

They’re accessible from single signal because it would be highly redundant to create a separate signal with almost identical parameters just for the sake of making things distinguishable.

The first positional argument

When sending a notification, the first arument stands for the sender of the signal. For most cases it will be your User model. You can either user a user instance or the model class itself as the first parameter.