South 0.7

This is a major new release of South. A lot of work has been done to the internals, and a few annoying remnants from South’s history have finally been eradicated.

Backwards incompatible changes

Tests now run with migrations by default, not using syncdb for everything as in 0.6. This is the behaviour most people expect; to turn it off again, set SOUTH_TESTS_MIGRATE to False (migrating everything can be slow).

In addition, you may note that some or all of your custom fields don’t work when you upgrade; read more about this at Custom Fields. You may also wish to change your old migration files and insert the full path to custom field classes in the models dictionary entries, to prevent future issues.

Finally, migration names must now not contain any dashes (or other characters invalid in Python module names) - if they do, you’ll need to rename them and also fix the appropriate entries in your south_migrationhistory table.

Major changes

Core Refactoring

The entire migration and dependency engine has been refactored to be class-based, rather than the mess of functions and variables it was before, and will now be a lot easier to maintain, as well as being nice and quick.

Much thanks to Simon Law for doing a lot of the legwork on this one.

Command Changes

The startmigration command (which used to be one massive file) has been removed, and refactored into new commands:

  • schemamigration, which is very similar to the old startmigration
  • datamigration, which should be used to create new data migrations

In addition, the --model argument to startmigration is now --add-model on schemamigration, for consistency with the other arguments, and schemamigration no longer requires a migration name; if you don’t provide one, it will autogenerate a reasonably sensible one.

Finally, South now detects when you’re adding a column that needs a default value, and prompts you for it, rather than crashing when you tried to apply the migration, like before.

Django Support

This version of South fully supports Django 1.2 (as well as 1.1 and 1.0), and has some limited multi-db functionality (migrate has gained a –database option) [1].

[1]Note that multi-db functionality is unavailable if using South 0.7 with earlier versions of Django.

Custom Fields

Custom fields are no longer parsed if they don’t introspect; instead, an error is raised every time. This is because parsing was causing scenarios where migrations sometimes worked, and then failed mysteriously later; the new solution means they’ll always work or fail.

This does have the unfortunate side-effect of making South not “magically” make your simpler custom fields work any more; we’re trying to help by shipping introspection modules for the more common third-party apps with South, but you may also want to read the new reference for your own introspection rules, or our new tutorial chapter on it.

Migration Directories

You can now set custom migration directories (actually done as Python modules) if you need per-project migrations for an app, or if you are using third-party apps and don’t want to store the migrations with the app.

You simply need to set the new SOUTH_MIGRATION_MODULES setting.

Supported Databases

SQLite now has full, near-bulletproof support for altering columns, deleting columns, and other basic operations SQLite doesn’t support natively.

Oracle now has alpha support.

Migrations Files

Migrations files no longer import from appname.models; model classes are now referred to by their full path, and retrieved using - this means a field now looks like:'django.db.models.fields.TextField')(blank=True)

Also, migration classes should now inherit from south.v2.SchemaMigration or south.v2.DataMigration. This doesn’t do much at the moment, but is designed so we can easily change the migration API in future and keep backwards compatability.

Bugfixes and minor changes

There’s also an assorted array of bugfixes; see the milestone status page for details.


This release wouldn’t have been possible without:

  • Simon Law, who wrote most of the migration refactor and now knows too much about how our dependencies work
  • Torchbox, who sponsored Andrew’s work on the startmigration refactor, the rest of the migration refactor, and a lot of other small things.
  • Ilya Roitburg, who contributed the Oracle database module.