Version 2.0

Released: December 2015


Update to Django 1.7

The biggest change of this release comes in the form of support for Django 1.7. Mayan EDMS makes use of several new features of Django 1.7 like: migrations, app config and transaction handling. The version of Django supported in this version is 1.7.10. With the move to Django 1.7, support for South migrations and Python 2.6 is removed. The switch to Django 1.7’s app config means that the startup order of app should not longer have any relevance, cause any import or startup problems.

Frontend UI

The frontend UI HTML has been re-factored to use Bootstrap. Along with this update a lot of legacy HTML and CSS was removed, greatly simplifying the existing template and allowing the removal of some.

Theming and re-branding

All the presentation logic and markup has been moved into it’s own app, the ‘appearance’ app. All modifications required to customize the entire look of the Mayan EDMS can now be done in a single app. Very little markup remains in the other apps, and it’s usually because of necessity, namely the modules.

Improved page navigation interface

Previously the document page interface used a fancybox windows leaving the current document in the background. This UI workflow as been improved and the document page navigation behaves like the rest of the document views.

Removal of famfam icon set

The previously used icon set and icon display code was removed and a new system that favor font icon was added.

Document preview generation

The image conversion system was re-factored from the ground up and uses a much smarted caching system. The document image cache has it’s own Django file storage driver and no longer default to the system /tmp directory. By moving the document image cache to a Django file storage, the cache doesn’t need to reside in the same filesystem or even computer serving the document images. This change also allows nodes in a clustered install to share the document image cache.

Document submission for OCR changed to POST

Previously submitting a document for OCR could be done with a GET request to the corresponding URL. This design decision allowed for fast user experience but caused massive document submissions when sites were scanned by web spiders. The new workflow is to submit documents to the OCR queue only on POST request.

New YAML based settings system

The first phase of the new distributed settings system has landed in this version. This first change causes settings to be serialized to YAML. This also means that it is not possible to pass functions or custom classes as values to settings. Setting that related to a class or function, now specify the path to those classes or functions and they are imported dynamically at runtime. Example:

``DOCUMENTS_STORAGE_BACKEND = 'storage.backends.filebasedstorage.FileBasedStorage'``

Removal of auto admin creation

The auto admin user creation code used during new installs has been removed and it is its own reusable Django app. The app is available at

Removal of dependencies

Through optimizations and code reduction several Python libraries and Django app are no longer required. These are:

  • South

  • GitPython

  • django-pagination

  • psutil

  • python-hkp

  • sendfile

  • slate

ACL system re-factor

The Access Control System has been greatly simplified and optimized. The logistics to grant and revoke permissions are now as follows: Only Roles can hold permissions, groups and user can no longer on their own be granted a permission. Groups are now only organizational units that hold users and Roles are collections of groups. User are just a profile and authentication information object. So to grant a permission or access to a document to a user, grant those permissions to a new or existing role, add the desired user to a group and add that group to the role to which you granted the permission. When thinking about granting permissions think of it this way:

Permissions -> Roles -> Groups -> User

Permissions for a document -> Roles -> Groups -> User

Permissions for a type of document -> Roles -> Groups -> User

Object access control inheritance

A frequently asked feature is the ability to change the access control of a group of documents. This feature has been implemented in the form of object access control inheritance. This means that if you grant a permission to a role for a document type, that role will inherit that permission for all document that are later created of that type. If you revoke a permission from a role for a document type, that role loses that permission for all documents of that type. With this new system changing the access control of individual documents should be an edge case. This new ability of modifying the access control of document types is the new recommended method.

Removal of anonymous user support

Allowing anonymous users access to your document repository is no longer support. Administrators wanting to make a group of documents public are encouraged to create an user, group and role for that purpose.

Metadata validators re-factor

The metadata validators have been split into: Validators and Parsers. Validators will just check that the input value conforms to certain specification, raising a validation error is not and blocking the user from submitting data. The Parsers will transform user input and store the result as the metadata value.

Trash can support

To avoid accidental data loss, documents are not deleted but moved to a virtual trash can. From that trash can documents can them be deleted permanently. The deletion document documents and the moving of documents to the trash can are governed by two different permissions.

Retention policies

Support for retention policies was added and is control on a document type basis. Two aspects can be controlled: the time at which documents will be automatically moved to the trash can and the time after which documents in the trash can will be automatically deleted. By default all new document types created will have a retention policy that doesn’t move documents to the trash can and that permanently deletes documents in the trash can after 30 days.

Support to share an index as a FUSE filesystem

Index mirror has been added after being removed several version ago. This time mirroring works by creating a FUSE filesystem that is then mounted anywhere in the filesystem. The previous implementation used symbolic links that while fast, required constant modification to keep in sync with the indexes structure and only worked when the document storage and the index mirror resided in the same physical computer or node. This new implementation allowing mirroring of indexes even across a network or if the document storage is not a traditional filesystem but a remote object store. Since this new FUSE mirroring uses direct read access to the database caching is provided and is controlled by the MIRRORING_DOCUMENT_CACHE_LOOKUP_TIMEOUT and MIRRORING_NODE_CACHE_LOOKUP_TIMEOUT setting options. Both setting have a default of 10 seconds.

Clickable preview images titles

To reduce the amount of clicks required to access a document, document previews titles are now clickable and will take the user straight to the document view.

Removal of eval

Use of Python’s eval statement has been completely removed. Metadata type defaults, lookup fields, smart links and indexes templates now use Django’s own template language.

Smarter OCR

Document OCR workflow has been improved to try to parse text for each document page and in failing to parse text will only perform OCR on that specific page, returning to the parsing behavior for the next page. This allowing proper text extraction of documents containing both, embedded text and images.

Failure tolerance

Previous versions made use of transactions to prevent data loss in the event of an unexpected error. This release improves on that approach by also reacting to infrastructure failures. Mayan EDMS can now recover without any or minimal data loss from critical events such as loss of connectivity to the database manager. This changes allow installation of using database managers that do not provide guaranteed concurrency such as SQLite, to scale to thousand of documents. While this configuration is still not recommended, Mayan EDMS will now work and scale much better in environments where parts of the infrastructure cannot be changed (such as the database manager).

For more information about this change read the blog post:

As a result of this work a new Django app called Django-sabot was created that gives Django projects the ability to create unit tests for infrastructure failure tolerance:

RGB tags

Previously tags could only choose from a predetermined number of color. This release changes that and tags be of any color. Tags now store the color selected in HTML RGB format. Existing tags are automatically converted to this new scheme.

Default document type and default document source

After installation a default document type and document source are created, this means that users can start uploading documents as soon as Mayan EDMS is installed without having to do any configuration setting changes. The default document type and default document source are both called ‘Default’.

Statistics re-factor

Statistics gathering and generation has been overhauled to allow for the creation of scheduled statistics. This allows statistics computation to be scheduled during low load times. A new management command was added to purge stale or orphan schedules left behind by the editing of statistics scheduled. The command is purgestatistics and has no parameters.

Apps merge

Several app were merge to reduce complexity of the code based on function. These are: the home, common, project_tools and project_setup apps, as well as the documents and document_acls apps.

New signals

Two new signals are provided to better trigger processing documents at the correct moment, these are:

  • common/perform_upgrade - Launched on the performupgrade management command to allow 3rd party apps to execute custom upgrade procedures in an unified manner.

  • common/post_initial_setup - Launched on the initialsetup management command to allow for post install initialization or setup.

  • common/post_upgrade - Launched after the performupgrade management command finishes.

  • documents/post_version_upload = Launched after a new document version is uploaded.

  • document/post_document_type_change = Launched after the document type of a document is changed.

  • documents/post_document_created = Launched after a document is finally ready to be accessed, not when it is created.

  • ocr/post_document_version_ocr - Launched when the OCR of a document version has finished.

Test improvements

Instead of a flat file, each app now has a tests/ directory containing tests modules for each particular aspect of an apps, ie:,, The total number and coverage of tests has been greatly increased.

Indexes recalculation

Indexes are now recalculated on when a new document is ready as well as the when the metadata of a document changes. This allows indexing documents not only based on their metadata but also based on their properties.

Upgrade command

To reduce the steps and complexity of upgrades, the new performupgrade management command was been added. All the upgrade steps will be performed by this command.

Admin changes

Installation admins are no longer required to have the superusers or staff Django account flags. All setup tasks are now governed by a permission which can be assigned to a role.

OCR functions split

The textual content of a document as interpreted by the OCR now resides as data in the OCR app and not in the Documents app as before. OCR content might not be available for all documents after the upgrade and might need to be queued again. To help with this situation there is new tool called “OCR all documents” for this exact situation.

New internal document creation workflow

The new document upload code now returns a document stub while content is processing. This allows API users to have the document id of the document just uploaded and perform other actions on it while it becomes ready for access.

Auto logging

App logging to the console is now automatically enabled. If Django’s DEBUG flag is True the default level for auto logging is DEBUG. If Django’s DEBUG flag is False (as in production), the default level changes to INFO. This should make it easier to add relevant messages to issue tickets as well as a adequate logging during production.

Other changes

  • Merge of document_print and document_hard_copy views.

  • New class based and menu based navigation system.

  • Re-purpose the installation app.

  • New class based transformations.

  • Usage of Font Awesome icons set.

  • Move document text content display code to the OCR app.

  • Add new permissions PERMISSION_OCR_CONTENT_VIEW.

  • Document type OCR settings move to the OCR app.

  • New dependencies:

    • PyYAML

    • django-autoadmin

    • django-pure-pagination

    • djangorestframework-recursive

  • Management command to remove obsolete permissions: purgepermissions.

  • Normalization of ‘title’ and ‘name’ fields to ‘label’.

  • Improved API, now at version 1.

  • Invert page title/project name order in browser title.

  • Use Django’s class based views pagination.

  • Reduction of text strings.

  • OCR all documents.

  • Add tool to OCR all documents of a type.

  • Fix rendering of text files with Unicode characters.

  • Capture body of emails as a text document.

  • All app APIs are top level URLs.

  • CI using gitlab-ci.

  • Coverage report with

  • Thumbnails for documents in trash.

  • Production deployment documentation chapter.

  • Command line to create an initial settings file: createsettings.

  • The command initialsetup now continues even is a settings/ exists.

  • default_app_config for each app.

  • Natural key support for many models allowing database migrations using dumped data.

  • Separate documentation requirements file to allow for contributor who only want to work on documentation.

  • Centralized testing with a new management command, runtests.

  • Addition of a tox testing configuration.

  • Email test body capture.

  • Email subject and from values storage.

  • Gitlab CI support.

  • Codecov support.

  • Improve text file rendering.

  • Show other packages licenses.

  • Task delay to allow DB replication.

  • Automatic debug logging and info logging during production.


  • Removal of the CombinedSource class.

  • Removal of default class ACLs.

  • Removal of the ImageMagick and GraphicsMagick converter backends.

  • Remove support for applying roles to new users automatically.

  • Removal of the DOCUMENT_RESTRICTIONS_OVERRIDE permission.

  • Removed the page_label field.

  • Removal of custom HTTP 505 error view.

Upgrading from a previous version

Using PIP

Type in the console:

$ pip install -U mayan-edms

the requirements will also be updated automatically.

Using Git

If you installed Mayan EDMS by cloning the Git repository issue the commands:

$ git reset --hard HEAD
$ git pull

otherwise download the compressed archived and uncompress it overriding the existing installation.

Next upgrade/add the new requirements:

$ pip install --upgrade -r requirements.txt

Common steps

Migrate existing database schema with:

$ performupgrade

During the migration several messages of stale content types can occur:

The following content types are stale and need to be deleted:

    XX | XX

Any objects related to these content types by a foreign key will also
be deleted. Are you sure you want to delete these content types?
If you're unsure, answer 'no'.

    Type 'yes' to continue, or 'no' to cancel:

You can safely answer “yes” to all.

Add new static media:

$ collectstatic --noinput

Remove unused dependencies:

$ pip uninstall South
$ pip uninstall GitPython
$ pip uninstall psutil
$ pip uninstall python-hkp
$ pip uninstall django-sendfile
$ pip uninstall django-pagination
$ pip uninstall slate

The upgrade procedure is now complete.

Backward incompatible changes

  • Current document and document sources transformations will be lost during upgrade.

  • Permissions and Access Controls granted to users and/or groups will be lost during upgrade.

Bugs fixed or issues closed