Haystack is a Django plugin to allow text search, while Whoosh is a pure Python search backend and it provides a library of classes and functions for indexing text and then searching the index. It allows you to develop custom search engines for your content.

First I installed Whoosh and Haystack using pip.

sudo pip install Whoosh

sudo pip install django-haystack

then in settings.py, i added haystack application,project application 

HAYSTACK_SITECONF = 'drumcoder.search_sites'


HAYSTACK_WHOOSH_PATH = '/home/user/web/drumcoder/index.whoosh'






The HAYSTACK_WHOOSH_PATH is the location at which the index files will be stored.

Next, inside my Django site, at the same level as settings.py, I created a new search_sites.py:

import haystack

This causes haystack to look for search_indexes.py inside each app in the Django site.


This fill maps the Django model object to the search engine.

import datetime

from haystack.indexes import *

from haystack import site

from drumcoder.blog.models import BlogEntry

class BlogEntryIndex(SearchIndex):

    text = CharField(document=True, use_template=True)

   def get_queryset(self):


        This is used when the entire index for model is updated, and should only include

        public entries


        return BlogEntry.objects.filter(publication_date__lte=datetime.datetime.now(), status=BlogEntry.LIVE_STATUS)

site.register(BlogEntry, BlogEntryIndex)

This is a similar mechanism to the admin.py setup. The key thing here is the text attribute, which will contain the text to index. We have use_template=True here, so the tempalte contains text that we wish to index.


This file can be placed anywhere in the template directories for your site, but it needs to be inside a folder named after the application (we're dealing with BlogEntry objects, which are in the Blog app), and the model object (BlogEntry). So in our case, we will need a blogentry_text.txt template inside blog, inside indexes, inside search.

`-- templates

    |-- index.html

    `-- search

        |-- indexes

        |   `-- proj(app name)

        |       `-- new_text.txt

        `-- search.html

text file will contain the following items

{{ object.title }}

{{ object.body }}

Here we're going to create the text index to include the title and body attributes from the BlogEntry.


Next, we need a template for the search page. Create the search.html template inside a search directory.

{% extends 'template.html' %}

{% block title %}Search{% endblock %}

{% block content %}


  {% if query %}      
       {% for result in page.object_list %}        
            {{ result.object.title }}     
       {% empty %}        
           No results found.     
       {% endfor %}   
  {% endif %}


Finally in the code, we need to add the urls. At the top level urls.py add:

(r'^search/', include('haystack.urls')),

Create the index

The final thing to do is to create the index. Run ./manage.py rebuild_index to create the new search index.

Once that is done, go to /search/ on your server and have a play.

Indexing Links

Once you have the above working, it is trivial to add more fields to the index. For example, to add an index for the links application, we need two more files:


This maps the Link object in the same way as we did for BlogEntry above. As there is no status field or publication date on links, we don't have to worry about limiting the queryset.

import datetime

from haystack.indexes import *

from haystack import site

from drumcoder.links.models import Link

class LinkIndex(SearchIndex):

    text = CharField(document=True, use_template=True)

site.register(Link, LinkIndex)


Here we define the fields from Link we want to include in the search index.

{{ object.title }}

{{ object.description }}

{{ object.url }}

Updating the Index

There are a couple of ways to update the index. ./manage.py update_index will add new entries to the index. ./manage.py rebuild_index will recreate the index from scratch. An alternative approach that works fine for low volumes of change, like I have here, is to change the superclass of each Index to RealTimeSearchIndex instead of just SearchIndex:

import datetime

from haystack.indexes import *

from haystack import site

from drumcoder.blog.models import BlogEntry

class BlogEntryIndex(RealTimeSearchIndex):

    text = CharField(document=True, use_template=True)

    def get_queryset(self):

        """Used when the entire index for model is updated."""

        return BlogEntry.objects.filter(publication_date__lte=datetime.datetime.now(), status=BlogEntry.LIVE_STATUS)

site.register(BlogEntry, BlogEntryIndex)

This will automatically update the index when a BlogEntry is created or changed.

Subscribe To our news letter

Subscribe to our news letter to receive latest blog posts into your inbox. Please fill your email address in the below form.
*We don't provide your email contact details to any third parties
Latest Comments
Related Articles
Implement search with Django-haystack and Elasticsearch Part-I Ravi Kumar Kumar

Haystack works as search plugin for django. You can use different back ends Elastic-search, Whose, Sorl, Xapian to search objects. All backends work with same ...

Continue Reading...
Basics of Django messages framework Divya Sri

In any web application we need to display notification messages to the end user after processing a form or some other types of his requests. ...

Continue Reading...
Django Unit Test cases with Forms and Views Swetha Naretla

By writing unit test cases, you can evaluate each code component in the initial stage itself and it'll improve your app/code performance. Which is the ...

Continue Reading...