Here are things for Django developers to know about oTree.

otree command

The otree command is a customized version of Django’s

For example, otree runserver is equivalent to python runserver.

In addition to the built-in Django management commands like runserver and startapp, oTree defines a few extra ones like resetdb, create_session, and runprodserver.

For the list of available commands, enter otree help. For information about a specific command, enter otree help [command], e.g. otree help test.

Migrations and “resetdb”

If you are using oTree, you generally shouldn’t use makemigrations and migrate. We are not fully compatible with migrations yet. Instead, run otree resetdb, which will reset and sync the database.

Project folder

The folder containing your games is a Django project, as explained here.

It comes pre-configured with all the files, settings and dependencies so that it works right away. You should create your apps inside this folder.


oTree doesn’t work with Gunicorn, mod_wsgi, or any other typical WSGI server. Because it uses Django Channels for WebSocket support, it should be run with otree runprodserver, which internally starts the Daphne server, several channels workers, and a task queue. More info here.


Auto-save of models

In oTree, you don’t need to explicitly call .save() on your models; oTree will do it automatically (it uses an idmap cache). However, this auto-save feature does not apply to custom models or pages that don’t inherit from oTree’s, or custom WebSocket/AJAX code. In that case, you have to remember to save your database models yourself as you would in a regular Django project.

You will also need to figure out how to query your models using Django’s ORM and the model’s pk/code, etc.

Misc notes on models

  • null=True and default=None are not necessary in your model field declarations; in oTree fields are null by default.
  • initial is an alias for default in a model field’s kwargs.
  • label is an alias for verbose_name in a model field’s kwargs.

Adding custom pages & URLs

You can create URLs and pages that are independent of oTree, using Django’s URL dispatcher and pages.

First, define the view function in one of your project modules. It can be a function-based view or class-based view.

# In my_app.pages
from django.http import HttpResponse

def my_view(request):
    return HttpResponse('This is a custom view')

Create a file in your project root. In this file, put:

from django.conf.urls import url
from otree.urls import urlpatterns

urlpatterns.append(url(r'^my_view/$', 'my_app.pages.my_view'))

In your, set ROOT_URLCONF to point to the that you just created:


If you need to access oTree’s models, you will have to handle querying and saving objects yourself.

Real-time and WebSockets


The information in this section is for advanced programmers who want to use oTree’s unstable features.

oTree is using channels v 0.17.3, which is incompatible with the current version of channels, 2.x.

When oTree upgrades to channels 2.x, any existing oTree apps that depend on the old version of Channels will likely break and may need significant fixes (upgrading your code to the channels 2.x format is a non-trivial task).

So, if you opt to use Channels, you should account for this in your long-term plans.

oTree uses Django channels for real-time (WebSocket) functionality.

If you are comfortable with more advanced programming, you can add your own real-time interactions such as a continuous-time market.

Channels is pre-installed as part of oTree. First, create a module in one of your apps. For each WebSocket, you should create a connect consumer and disconnect consumer.

See otree.channels.consumers for examples of more complex consumers. Also see Auto-save of models.

Next, create a module in your project root and append your routes to oTree’s built-in routes:

from channels.routing import route
from myapp.consumers import ws_add, ws_disconnect
from otree.channels.routing import channel_routing

channel_routing += [
    route("websocket.connect", ws_add, path=r"^/chat"),
    route("websocket.disconnect", ws_disconnect, path=r"^/chat"),

In, set CHANNEL_ROUTING = 'routing.channel_routing' (this is the dotted path to your channel_routing variable in