Using django-pgfields

Using django-pgfields’ extension to the Django ORM is fairly straightforward. You don’t need to use a custom backend (indeed, django-pgfields does not provide one).


The short version of usage is that in order to use the features that django-pgfields adds, you need to do two things.

Add django_pg to INSTALLED_APPS

First, you must add django_pg to your settings module’s INSTALLED_APPS:

    # your other apps

It doesn’t matter where in the list you add it, as long as it’s present.

from django_pg import models

Second, import django-pgfields’ models module instead of the one supplied by Django.

So, everywhere that you would write this:

from django.db import models

Instead, write this:

from django_pg import models

Internally, django-pgfields loads all of the things provided by the Django models module, subclassing certain items needed to make everything work, and adding the fields it provides.


Django provides a rich ORM with a valuable and customizable QuerySet API. One aspect of this ORM is a high wall of separation between the use of data in your application (such as the Python objects that are assigned to model instance attributes) and the actual SQL that is generated to perform operations, which additionally also changes to account for the fact that Django ships with four backends (and several more are available).

One consequence of this design is that Field subclasses have a somewhat restricted set of overridable bits. In particular, they can’t (easily) touch the representation of database field names or operators. This is delegated to the backend and to a series of specialized classes which are responsible for generating various pieces of the final SQL query.

The ultimate choreographer of this complex dance is the Manager class. The Manager class instantiates the QuerySet class, which in turn instantiates internal classes such as WhereNode and SQLExpression which are ultimately responsible for taking your querysets and constructing actual queries suitable for your backend. Field classes have a very defined (and limited) role in this dance, to avoid breaking down the wall between the different segments of logic.

Complex fields like ArrayField and CompositeField are non-trivial, and aren’t use cases covered by Django’s stock query construction classes. Therefore, in order for them to function correctly, these classes must be subclassed.

Importing your models module from django_pg instead of from django.db means that you get django-pgfields’ subclasses of Model and Manager which enable this extra functionality, as well as providing additional (optional) hooks for other Field subclasses.