Various programming stuff

Hello! I see that you have an ad blocker. If you find something useful here and want to support me somehow please consider disabling your ad blocker for this site. It won't cost you anything.

Adding a latest-changes list to your Wagtail site

I think that a very important tool for a new production Wagtail site is to have a list where you’ll be able to take a look at the latest changes. Most editors are not experienced enough when using a new tool so it’s easy to make bad quality edits. A user could take a look at their changes and guide them if something’s not up to good standards.

In this article I’ll present a simple way to add a latest-changes list in your Wagtail site. This is working excellent with Wagtail 2.9, I haven’t tested it with other wagtail versions so your milage may vary. In the meantime, I’ll also introduce a bunch of concepts of Wagtail I find interesting.

Update 08/05/2020 Please notice that this article was originally written for Wagtail 2.8 projects. However, Wagtail 2.8 didn’t have an official API for adding reports thus I had to check the source code for some things. Those things since were not part of any API have been changed and are not working in Wagtail 2.9.

Thus I’ve updated the project to use the proper APIs and work with Wagtail 2.9 (and hopefully the next versions). If you want to see what’s changed between the two versions you can take a look at this commit from the companion project. You may also want to take a look at the adding reports tutorial on the Wagtail docs.

A starter project

Let’s create a simple wagtail-starter project (this is for windows you should be able to easily follow the same steps in Unix like systems):

C:\progr\py3>mkdir wagtail-starter
C:\progr\py3>cd wagtail-starter
C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter>py -3 -m venv venv
(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter>pip install wagtail
(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter>wagtail.exe start wagtail_starter
(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter>cd wagtail_starter
(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter\wagtail_starter>python manage.py migrate
(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter\wagtail_starter>python manage.py createsuperuser
(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter\wagtail_starter>python manage.py runserver

When you’ve finished all the above you should be able to go to and see your homepage and then visit and login with your superuser. What we’d like to do is add a “Latest changes” link in the “Reports” admin section like this:

New menu

Implementing the latest-changes menu

Start with a new app

To start the menu implementation I recommend putting everything related to it in a separate django application so you can easily re-use it to multiple sites. For this, let’s create a new django app using:

(venv) C:\progr\py3\wagtail-starter\wagtail_starter>python manage.py startapp latest_changes

And add 'latest_changes' to the list of our INSTALLED_APPS at the file wagtail_starter\settings\base.py.

Add the view

Let’s add the code for the view that will display the latest changes page. Modify the latest_changes/views.py file like this:

from django.shortcuts import render
from wagtail.admin.views.reports import PageReportView
from wagtail.core.models import UserPagePermissionsProxy
from wagtail.core.models import Page

class LatestChangesView(PageReportView):
    template_name = "reports/latest_changes.html"
    title = "Latest changes"
    header_icon = "date"

    def get_queryset(self):
        self.queryset = Page.objects.order_by("-last_published_at")
        return super().get_queryset()

    def dispatch(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        if not UserPagePermissionsProxy(request.user).can_remove_locks():
            return permission_denied(request)
        return super().dispatch(request, *args, **kwargs)

As you can see the above code adds a very small view that overrides PageReportView which is used also by the locked pages view so most things are already implemented by that view. The only thing we do here is to override the get_queryset method to denote which pages we want to display and the dispatch to add some permission checks. Here we check that a user can_remove_locks but we could do other checks if needed. Finally, notice that we have overriden the template name which we’ll define in a minute.

Beyond PageReportView that should be used for generating Page reports, you can override ReportView which can be used to implement generic reports.

To properly add that view in our urls.py we can use a wagtail hook named register_admin_py. Wagtail hooks are a great way to excend the wagtail admin; to use them, you have to generate a file name wagtail_hooks.py in one of your apps. This file will be auto-impoted by wagtail when your app is started.

Thus, in our case we’ll add a wagtail_hooks.py file in the latest_changes app with the following code:

from django.http import HttpResponse
from django.conf.urls import url
from wagtail.core import hooks
from .views import LatestChangesView

def urlconf_time():
  return [
    url(r'^latest_changes/$', LatestChangesView.as_view(), name='latest_changes'),

The above just hooks up the LatestChangesView we defined before to the /admin/latest_changes/ url.

If everything’s ok till now you should be able to visit: and get an error for a missing template - remember that we haven’t yet defined utils/reports/latest_changes.html.

Add the template

To add the template we’ll need to create a folder named templates under our latest_changes app and then add a reports folder to it. Finally in that folder add a latest_changes.html. So the full path of the latest_changes.html should be: wagtail_starter\latest_changes\templates\reports\latest_changes.html:

{% extends 'wagtailadmin/reports/base_page_report.html' %}
{% load i18n %}
{% block listing %}
    {% include "reports/_list_latest.html" %}
{% endblock %}

{% block no_results %}
    <p>{% trans "No changes found." %}</p>
{% endblock %}

I’ve selected the reports subfolder just to be compatible with what wagtail does, you can just put latest_changes.html directly under templates; don’t forget to update the LatestChangesView defined before though! This template extends the base_page_report.html template that Wagtail provides for page reports. It also includes a snippet named reports/_list_latest.html" thus you also need to add a ``_list_latest.html file in the same folder with the following contents:

{% extends "wagtailadmin/pages/listing/_list_explore.html" %}

{% load i18n wagtailadmin_tags %}

{% block post_parent_page_headers %}
<th>Last update</th>
<th>Owner / last publish / last edit</th>
{% endblock %}

{% block page_navigation %}
        {{ page.owner }} / {{ page.live_revision.user }} / {{ page.get_latest_revision.user }}
{% endblock %}

Please notice that my _list_latest.html snippet extends the Wagtail provided _list_explore.html template and overrides some things that can be overriden from that file. If you want to do more changes you’ll need to copy over everything and change things as you wish instead of extending.

Also, keep in mind that because you added a templates folder you’ll need to restart your django development server.

Finally, if everything is ok until now you should be able to visit and see your view! It will say “No changes found” if you’ve followed the steps here; just go to Pages - Home from the wagtail menu and edit that page (just save it). Now visit again and behold! Your own latest changes view:

The view

Displaying our menu item

The last piece of the puzzle missing is to actually display a menu item under the Reports menu of wagtail admin. For this we are going to use our friends, the wagtail hooks. So, change the wagtail_hooks.py file like this (I’m also including the code from adding the url):

from django.http import HttpResponse
from django.conf.urls import url
from django.urls import reverse
from wagtail.admin.menu import MenuItem
from wagtail.core import hooks
from wagtail.core.models import UserPagePermissionsProxy
from .views import LatestChangesView

def urlconf_time():
    return [
      url(r'^latest_changes/$', LatestChangesView.as_view(), name='latest_changes'),

class LatestChangesPagesMenuItem(MenuItem):
    def is_shown(self, request):
        return UserPagePermissionsProxy(request.user).can_remove_locks()

def register_latest_changes_menu_item():
    return LatestChangesPagesMenuItem(
        "Latest changes", reverse("latest_changes"), classnames="icon icon-date", order=100,

The above code uses the register_reports_menu_item which is a hook that can be used to add a child specifically to the Reports menu item. Notice that it uses the LatestChangesPagesMenuItem which is a class that inherits from MenuItem; the only thing that is overriden there is the is_shown method so it will have the same permissions as the LatestChangesView we defined above so user that will see the menu item will also have permissions to display the view. Here’s the final menu item:

The menu item


We’ve seen the steps required to add a latest pages view to your wagtail admin site. I have to admit that it is a little work however the nice thing is that this is all self-included in a single application. You can just get tha application and copy over it to your wagtail site; after you add that application to INSTALLED_APPS you should get the whole functionality without any more modifications to your project. To help you more with this I’ve included the whole code of this project in the https://github.com/spapas/wagtail-latest-changes repository.

You can either clone this repository to see the functionality or just copy over the latest_changes folder to your wagtail project to include the functionality directly (don’t forget to fix the INSTALLED_APPS setting)! It should work with all Wagtail 2.9 and later projects.