Wagtail CMS – Lesser known features

Wagtail CMS is an easy to use, sleek, django based CMS with an admin interface that’s had a lot of time and care put into making it a really pleasurable and easy UI experience. It’s being developed at quite a fast pace with new releases coming fairly frequently, currently its on version 0.6.

Here’s a breakdown of a few of its features some of which aren’t really emphasised enough and I only found out about by chance in the wagtail docs site.

Smart Image cropping

When you upload an image wagtail will use Thumbor style smart cropping based on openCV to find a focal point, and when that image is called from a template it will crop to that focal point. Its face recognition is pretty good, but on more abstract images you can also in version 0.7 (coming soon) define the focal point yourself in the wagtail image admin interface.

Site Map Generation

i was asked by our marketing people if the site could generate a site map XML file, I was pleasantly surprised that Wagtail can do this for you. Strangely it’s not out of the box, but can be easily turned on my editing a few files.

Image Usage Stats

Again another minor but nice feature, that I almost missed and isn’t turned on by default. When you view an image in the admin you can have wagtail tell you how many times it’s been used in the content. Useful if you wan’t to house clean your image library on the site but are scared to delete any images if they’re needed. Just set the WAGTAIL_USAGE_COUNT_ENABLED to True in your settings file.


In wagtail you can allow your content editors to setup redirects, they can specify the slug, the redirect URL and whether it’s to be a permanent redirect. This saves us a lot of time, now our marketing web users can manage redirects quickly to keep up with campaigns that come and go. You can set which users have access to redirects by using django-admin that sits alongside the wagtail admin. So based on the roles you defined, users that have authority can access the redirects section of the admin.

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