Django for Designers/CRUD

From OpenHatch wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Part 4: CRUD[edit]

Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Right now, we have a nice website that displays data from our database. Unfortunately, though, while we have a mock bookmark form in the app header, currently the only way to create new bookmarks is in the Python shell. That's not fun at all.

This section deals with "CRUD" functionality, which are key to all web applications.

CRUD stands for Create, Read, Update, and Delete. We already have Reading bookmarks covered; now we need to handle Creating bookmarks!

So that we're all on the same page, even if you didn't get all the way through the previous part, you should do these steps right now:

# in django-for-designers/myproject
$ git branch my-branch-4 origin/pre-part-4
$ git checkout my-branch-4

Django forms[edit]

Django comes with some built-in classes that make it easy to create forms with built-in validation and other functionality. There are plain django.forms classes (which are useful for encapsulating forms-related processing functions all in one place) as well as ModelForm classes that create a form based on a Django model that can automagically save instances of that model.

For this application, let's use ModelForms to make a form for our Bookmark model.

Making a basic, working ModelForm[edit]

Inside our bookmarks app folder, let's make a file named forms.py. Edit your new bookmarks/forms.py file to import ModelForm and our models, then create a BookmarkForm class:

from django import forms
from bookmarks.models import Bookmark


class BookmarkForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:            # Django convention for namespaces
        model = Bookmark   # form fields from Bookmark model fields

model = Bookmark ensures that generated BookmarkForm class will have a form field for every Bookmark model field--the field type being based on some defaults.

Let's add our BookmarkForm to our views and templates!

Edit bookmarks/views.py:

from django.shortcuts import render, get_object_or_404
from bookmarks.models import Bookmark, Tag
from bookmarks.forms import BookmarkForm


def index(request):
    bookmarks = Bookmark.objects.all().order_by('-timestamp')[:10]
    form = BookmarkForm()
    context = {
        'bookmarks': bookmarks,
        'form': form,
    }
    return render(request, 'index.html', context)

Then edit index.html to take advantage of the new form object in our context. Leave most of the template intact; just change the bookmark_widget block.

{% block bookmark_widget %}
    {% if user %}
    <div id="new-bookmark-widget">
        <form method="post">
        <h3>Bookmark</h3>
        {{ form.as_p }}
        <p><button id="new-bookmark-submit">Submit</button>Submit</button>
        </form>
    </div>
    {% endif %}
{% endblock %}
The .as_p call makes the form put each field inside a paragraph tag. There are similar methods for making the form appear inside a table or inside divs.

The other thing we need to do here is add a CSRF token to our form, since that isn't included by default.

A CSRF token is a special bit of code, built into Django, that protects your site from Cross Site Request Forgeries. It tells Django that a POST from this form really came from this form, not some other malicious site. In index.html, keep editing the bookmark_widget block; Django makes this super easy.
{% block bookmark_widget %}
    {% if user %}
    <div id="new-bookmark-widget">
        <form method="post">
        {% csrf_token %}
        <h3>Bookmark</h3>
        {{ form.as_p }}
        <p><button id="new-bookmark-submit">Submit</button>Submit</button>
        </form>
    </div>
    {% endif %}
{% endblock %}

Just add the csrf_token tag inside your form, and it's good to go.

Also note that the form call doesn't include the external form tags or the submit button -- Django leaves those for you to write yourself. This makes things more flexible if you want to add additional elements inside the form tag, or if you want to combine multiple Django Form objects into one HTML form.

Spin up http://localhost:8000/, login if you're not logged in already, take a look at your beautiful new form!

Right now, if you try to submit bookmarks with this form, it'll just reload the page. That's because we haven't told the view to do anything with any form data that gets sent to it!

Let's edit views.py. First, let's add a redirect import to the top (keeping the existing imports there):

from django.shortcuts import render, get_object_or_404, redirect

Then, let's change just the index function to make it do something with this form's data:

def index(request):
    if request.method == 'POST':
        form = BookmarkForm(request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
            form.save()
            return redirect(index)
    bookmarks = Bookmark.objects.all().order_by('-timestamp')[:10]
    form = BookmarkForm()
    context = {
        'bookmarks': bookmarks,
        'form': form,
    }
    return render(request, 'index.html', context)
What's going on here? We first check to see if the request method was a POST (as opposed to a GET, the usual method your browser uses when you're just reading a web page). If so, we use our ModelForm class to make an instance of the ModelForm using the data that we received via the POST from the HTML form's fields. If the form's built-in validator functions come back clean, we save the ModelForm, which makes a shiny new Bookmark in our database! Once we have made the change, we do a redirect back to the home page. (This avoids a common problem; read more on Wikipedia.)

Save your work, then try making some new bookmarks via your new form. The page should reload, with your new bookmark at the top of the list! High five!

Save and commit your wonderful bookmark-creating Django form.

Customize your form fields[edit]

So our form works, but it doesn't look the way we originally expected. For one, there's a dropdown asking us to specify the bookmark's author. For another, we're missing a field for tags.

We'll need to customize our BookmarkForm if we want it to look the way we want.

First, let's make the default author always be the currently logged-in user. Edit just the index function in views.py:

def index(request):
    if request.method == "POST":
        form = BookmarkForm(request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
            form.save()
            return redirect(index)
    bookmarks = Bookmark.objects.all().order_by('-timestamp')[:10]
    current_user = request.user
    form = BookmarkForm(initial={'author': current_user})
    context = {
        'bookmarks': bookmarks,
        'form': form,
    }
    return render(request, 'index.html', context)
Now if you reload, thanks to the initial data we provided our BookmarkForm, you'll see that your account is chosen by default in the author dropdown.

Then let's hide the author field from the user. We'll do this by editing our ModelForm specification in forms.py:

from django import forms
from bookmarks.models import Bookmark


class BookmarkForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = Bookmark
        widgets = {
                'author': forms.HiddenInput(),
            }

Now if you restart your server, you'll see the author field appears to be gone!

Instead of the default text input widget, we told Django to use a hidden field for the author, so we no longer see it.

Since titles aren't even required, the URL is the most important piece of data for a bookmark. Let's change the order of the fields, so the URL comes first. Again, update theBookmarkForm in forms.py:

class BookmarkForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = Bookmark
        fields = ('author', 'url', 'title')
        widgets = {
                'author': forms.HiddenInput(),
            }

Save and commit your changes.

Save tags with our form[edit]

Finally, let's add a tags field. Edit forms.py again and continue to change the BookmarkForm:

class BookmarkForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = Bookmark
        fields = ('author', 'url', 'title', 'tags')
        widgets = {
                'author': forms.HiddenInput(),
            }
    tags = forms.CharField(max_length=100, required=False)

Note that since tags isn't a field in the Bookmark model, we're going to need to make sure it gets saved separately. For that, let's go back to views.py. First, toward the top,

from django.shortcuts import render, get_object_or_404, redirect
from bookmarks.models import Bookmark, Tag
from bookmarks.forms import BookmarkForm
import urllib


def index(request):
    if request.method == "POST":
        form = BookmarkForm(request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
            new_bookmark = form.save()
            raw_tags = form.cleaned_data['tags'].split(',')
            if raw_tags:
                for raw_tag in raw_tags:
                    raw_tag = raw_tag.strip().replace(' ', '-').lower()
                    tag_slug = urllib.quote(raw_tag)
                    tag, created = Tag.objects.get_or_create(slug=tag_slug)
                    tag.save()
                    tag.bookmarks.add(new_bookmark)
            return redirect(index)
    bookmarks = Bookmark.objects.all().order_by('-timestamp')[:10]
    current_user = request.user
    form = BookmarkForm(initial={'author': current_user})
    context = {
        'bookmarks': bookmarks,
        'form': form,
    }
    return render(request, 'index.html', context)
What's happening here? First, we're saving our ModelForm to save our original bookmark, as is. Then we're accessing our ModelForm's cleaned_data attribute to look for our string of comma-delineated tags. (We use cleaned_data instead of data because that one was pre-sanitized when we ran form.is_valid().) We split the string on the commas, clean up the tags by removing excess whitespace, making them all lowercase, turning spaces into hyphens, and then using urllib to quote any remaining special characters. Then we use a model shortcut function called get_or_create(). What get_or_create() does is see if there's already a tag with this slug. If so, it returns us the old tag, plus a False argument since it didn't make anything new. If not, it creates a new tag with the slug, and returns that (plus True, since it did make a new tag).

Finally, we save our tag, then add our new bookmark to its bookmarks Many-to-Many attribute to link them together.

Phew! Save your work, let your development server automatically restart, reload the page, and try adding a bookmark with some tags. It should work!

Make sure to commit your work.

CRUD with asynchronous Javascript[edit]

That's pretty cool, but what if we don't want to make our users reload the page every time we want them to see new data? Most web apps are going to involve asynchronous Javascript in one way or another.

Let's modify our application to send our new bookmarks asynchronously to the server, and make the new bookmark appear on the page without reloading!

(Warning: semi-obviously, we'll working with Javascript in this section. Don't worry, you can copy and paste.)

First, we need to tell our templates to import some Javascript files. Edit base.html:

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
    <title>My bookmarking app</title>
    <link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Source+Sans+Pro:200,400,700,900' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/static/css/style.css" type="text/css" media="screen" charset="utf-8">
    <script src="/static/js/jquery-1.9.1.min.js"></script>
    <script src="/static/js/script.js"></script>
</head>

Right now, our static/js/script.js file is blank. Let's write a quick and dirty JS function that gets triggered when someone submits the bookmarks form:

$(
    function(){
        $('#new-bookmark-widget form').on('submit', function(e){
            e.preventDefault();
            var inputs = $('#new-bookmark-widget input');
            var data = {};
            $.each(inputs, function(index){
                var input = inputs[index];
                data[input.name] = input.value;
            });
            $.ajax({
              type: "POST",
              url: '/',
              data: data,
              success: function(data){
                $('.bookmarks').prepend('<li>WHEEE!!!</li>');
              }
            });
        });
    }
);
What this does is when the user submits the bookmarks form, it prevent the page from reloading (like it would normally), serializes all the form fields, POSTs them to localhost:8000, and upon successfully receiving a response from the server displays a message at the top of our list of bookmarks.

If you try this out, you'll see that our JS-y form makes real bookmarks, just like the old version of our form did! However, it's putting junk in our bookmarks list on the page; we have to reload to actually see the bookmark our ajax call created.

There's several ways we could fix this. We could make our views.py send back a JSON serialization of our bookmark data, and have our JS file turn that into a list element somehow (using either a JS template or a giant string). Or we could have Django do the template rendering for us, and send our JS script the raw HTML we want it to use. This is called AHAH (Asychronous HTML and HTTP), or sometimes PJAX.

For the sake of speed and simplicity, we'll go with the latter. First, though, we need to refactor our templates a little.

Create a new template called bookmark.html, and paste in the bookmark list element from index.html in there.

<li>
    <a class="bookmark-link" href="{{ bookmark.url }}">{% if bookmark.title %}{{ bookmark.title }}{% else %}{{ bookmark.url }}{% endif %}</a>
    <div class="metadata"><span class="author">Posted by {{ bookmark.author }}</span> | <span class="timestamp">{{ bookmark.timestamp|date:"Y-m-d" }}</span>
    {% if bookmark.tag_set.all %}| <span class="tags">
        {% for tag in bookmark.tag_set.all %}
            <a href="{% url 'bookmarks.views.tag' tag.slug %}">{{ tag.slug }}</a></span>
        {% endfor %}
    {% endif %}
    </div>
</li>

Note that unlike the other templates, this template doesn't inherit anything -- it's just a block of HTML with some template markup.

Then, open index.htmland edit just the content block so it looks like this:

{% block content %}
<ul class="bookmarks">
    {% for bookmark in bookmarks %}
       {% include 'bookmark.html' %}
    {% endfor %}
</ul>
{% endblock %}

Reload the page. Nothing should have changed, in terms of how the page looks. We've just changed the structure of the templates.

Using the include tag, for each bookmark in the list, the index template drops in the contents of bookmarks.html rendered with the values for the given bookmark.

Now we're ready to teach our view to send back a partial bit of HTML. Open views.py and edit just the index function to be as follows.

def index(request):
    if request.method == "POST":
        form = BookmarkForm(request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
            new_bookmark = form.save()
            raw_tags = form.cleaned_data['tags'].split(',')
            if raw_tags:
                for raw_tag in raw_tags:
                    raw_tag = raw_tag.strip()
                    raw_tag = raw_tag.replace(' ', '-')
                    raw_tag = urllib.quote(raw_tag)
                    tag_slug = raw_tag.lower()
                    tag, created = Tag.objects.get_or_create(slug=tag_slug)
                    tag.save()
                    tag.bookmarks.add(new_bookmark)
            if request.is_ajax():
                return render(request, 'bookmark.html', {'bookmark': new_bookmark})
            return redirect(index)
    else:
        bookmarks = Bookmark.objects.all().order_by('-timestamp')[:10]
        current_user = request.user
        form = BookmarkForm(initial={'author': current_user})
        context = {
            'bookmarks': bookmarks,
            'form': form,
        }
        return render(request, 'index.html', context)
What are we doing here? First, we're turning our request.POST test into a true choice -- we no longer go on to send back the full index.html rendered template if the request is a POST. Second, if we manage to create a bookmark successfully, we send back just our bookmark.html -- not the full index.html -- rendered with the data for our new bookmark.

Finally, let's edit the success function in our script.js file to use this rendered data instead of printing nonsense:

success: function(data){
                $('.error').hide();
                $('.bookmarks').prepend(data);
              }

Reload your development server and your web page, and try creating a bookmark. It should appear right away on the page now!

Try submitting the form with a tag but no URL.

Eek.

We see the browser try to render the entire page inside the page--because we're redirecting back to the normal index view!

Our index view doesn't properly handle the case where the request is a POST, but the form doesn't validate, and Django noticed this and returned an error. Let's fix this by editing the index function in views.py again:

def index(request):
    if request.method == "POST":
        form = BookmarkForm(request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
            new_bookmark = form.save()
            raw_tags = form.cleaned_data['tags'].split(',')
            if raw_tags:
                for raw_tag in raw_tags:
                    raw_tag = raw_tag.strip()
                    raw_tag = raw_tag.replace(' ', '-')
                    raw_tag = urllib.quote(raw_tag)
                    tag_slug = raw_tag.lower()
                    tag, created = Tag.objects.get_or_create(slug=tag_slug)
                    tag.save()
                    tag.bookmarks.add(new_bookmark)
            if request.is_ajax():
                return render(request, 'bookmark.html', {'bookmark': new_bookmark})
            return redirect(index)
        else:
            response = 'Errors: '
            for key in form.errors.keys():
                value = form.errors[key]
                errors = ''
                for error in value:
                    errors = errors + error + ' '
                response = response + ' ' + key + ': ' + errors
            return HttpResponse('<li class="error">' + response + '</li>')
    else:
        bookmarks = Bookmark.objects.all().order_by('-timestamp')[:10]
        current_user = request.user
        form = BookmarkForm(initial={'author': current_user})
        context = {
            'bookmarks': bookmarks,
            'form': form,
        }
        return render(request, 'index.html', context)

Now in the error case, we cheekily send back some HTML containing the errors that Django found, so there's no circumstance in which this view fails to provide some sort of response.

(If we wanted to go to more effort, we could send back the errors as JSON, teach our callback function how to tell the difference between JSON and plain HTML responses, and render the former differently, instead of sticking our form error messages in the bookmarks list. But we'll run with this for now.)

Save and commit your JS-ification work!

In the real world, if you were doing lots of this sort of manipulation, instead of AHAH you might want to be using a Javascript framework such as Backbone to avoid getting confused, messy code. You'd also want to use templates for the elements that your Javascript hooks are adding and modifying. Ideally, you'd want those templates to be the same ones that your Django application used, to avoid repeating yourself! There's a lot of ways Django users deal with these problems. One way to do this is to use Django as an API data engine and do all the routing, application logic, and template rendering--at least, on the JS-heavy pages--via a Javascript-based template language. Tastypie is a popular Django application for making APIs for this sort of thing. Another approach is to teach Django to speak the language of a JS-based templating language. Projects like django-handlebars or djangobars are examples of this approach!

Next page