Upgrading to Jinja2 Templates in Django 1.8 With Admin

In Django 1.8, a new template system was introduced along with the ability to choose a templating engine, with Jinja2 having built-in support. I tried this out on a newly created Django project and getting setup with Jinja2 was trivial following the docs; however, upon checking the /admin page, I was greeted with this:

Django Admin error screenshot

Ah, right! The contrib app Admin does not ship with Jinja2 templates. I read through the docs and did not see any mention of using a different template engine in combination with the Django Admin, so I thought I’d share how I solved this to get Jinja2 and the Django Admin templates to work together.

Jinja2 + Django Templates for Admin

First, here is a link for the upgrade path to use the new templating system: https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.8/ref/templates/upgrading/

Take note of the section that tells you when you can remove things like TEMPLATE_DIRS, TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS, etc.

Install Jinja2

Make sure Jinja2 is installed:

$ pip install jinja2
In settings.py

Here is how I defined my TEMPLATES list:

        'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.jinja2.Jinja2',
        'DIRS': [
            os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates/jinja2'),
        'APP_DIRS': True,
        'OPTIONS': {
            'environment': 'myproject.jinja2.environment',
        'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
        'DIRS': [],
        'APP_DIRS': True,
        'OPTIONS': {
            'context_processors': [

You need to define both backends in the TEMPLATES setting to be able to use the Django Admin.

Create directory for jinja2 templates

Next, create a jinja2 directory in your project’s templates directory. This is where we are going to put all of our Jinja2 templates.

$ cd <path_to_project>/templates && mkdir jinja2
Create jinja2.py

Finally, create a file called jinja2.py under your project directory (should be at the same level as your settings.py):

$ cd myproject && touch jinja2.py

And put this in there:

from django.contrib.staticfiles.storage import staticfiles_storage
from django.core.urlresolvers import reverse
from jinja2 import Environment

def environment(**options):
    env = Environment(**options)
        'static': staticfiles_storage.url,
        'url': reverse,
    return env

This makes static and url available in your Jinja2 templates.

Here’s a tree of the final project structure:

$ tree myproject
├── myproject
│   ├── __init__.py
│   ├── jinja2.py
│   ├── settings.py
│   ├── urls.py
│   └── wsgi.py
├── manage.py
├── templates
│   └── jinja2
│       ├── base.html
│       ├── home.html

And that should do it! If you go to /admin/ you should see a working admin login. Additionally, whatever templates you put in the templates/jinja2 directory will be processed by the Jinja2 template engine.