Vitamin C

Django Template Tags and Filters

Custom Filters

Filters allows you to apply a function to a variable. This function may take 0 or 1 argument. Here is the syntax:

{{ variable|filter_name }} 
{{ variable|filter_name:argument }}

Filters can be chained so this is perfectly valid:

{{ variable|filter_name:argument|another_filter }}

If translated to python the above line would give something like this:

print(another_filter(filter_name(variable, argument)))

In this example, we will write a custom filter verbose_name that applies to a Model (instance or class) or a QuerySet. It will return the verbose name of a model, or its verbose name plural if the argument is set to True.

def verbose_name(model, plural=False):
    """Return the verbose name of a model.
    `model` can be either:
      - a Model class
      - a Model instance
      - a QuerySet
      - any object refering to a model through a `model` attribute.

      - Get the verbose name of an object
          {{ object|verbose_name }}
      - Get the plural verbose name of an object from a QuerySet
          {{ objects_list|verbose_name:True }}
    if not hasattr(model, '_meta'):
        # handle the case of a QuerySet (among others)
        model = model.model
    opts = model._meta
    if plural:
        return opts.verbose_name_plural
        return opts.verbose_name

Simple tags

The simplest way of defining a custom template tag is to use a simple_tag. These are very straightforward to setup. The function name will be the tag name (though you can override it), and arguments will be tokens ("words" separated by spaces, except spaces enclosed between quotes). It even supports keyword arguments.

Here is a useless tag that will illustrate our example:

{% useless 3 foo 'hello world' foo=True bar=baz.hello|capfirst %}

Let foo and baz be context variables like the following:

{'foo': "HELLO", 'baz': {'hello': "world"}}

Say we want this very useless tag to render like this:

HELLO;hello world;bar:World;foo:True<br/>
HELLO;hello world;bar:World;foo:True<br/>
HELLO;hello world;bar:World;foo:True<br/>

Kind of arguments concatenation repeated 3 times (3 being the first argument).

Here is what the tag implementation may look like:

from django.utils.html import format_html_join

def useless(repeat, *args, **kwargs):
    output = ';'.join(args + ['{}:{}'.format(*item) for item in kwargs.items()])
    outputs = [output] * repeat
    return format_html_join('\n', '{}<br/>', ((e,) for e in outputs))

format_html_join allows to mark <br/> as safe HTML, but not the content of outputs.

Advanced custom tags using Node

Sometimes what you want to do is just too complex for a filter or a simple_tag. Fow this you will need to create a compilation function and a renderer.

In this example we will create a template tag verbose_name with the following syntax:

{% verbose_name obj %}Verbose name of a model
{% verbose_name obj 'status' %}Verbose name of the field "status"
{% verbose_name obj plural %}Verbose name plural of a model
{% verbose_name obj plural capfirst %}Capitalized verbose name plural of a model
{% verbose_name obj 'foo' capfirst %}Capitalized verbose name of a field
{% verbose_name obj field_name %}Verbose name of a field from a variable
{% verbose_name obj 'foo'|add:'_bar' %}Verbose name of a field "foo_bar"

The reason why we can't do this with a simple tag is that plural and capfirst are neither variables nor strings, they are "keywords". We could obviously decide to pass them as strings 'plural' and 'capfirst', but it may conflict with fields with these names. Would {% verbose_name obj 'plural' %} mean "verbose name plural of obj" or "verbose name of obj.plural"?

First let's create the compilation function:

def do_verbose_name(parser, token):
    - parser: the Parser object. We will use it to parse tokens into
              nodes such as variables, strings, ...
    - token: the Token object. We will use it to iterate each token
             of the template tag.
    # Split tokens within spaces (except spaces inside quotes)
    tokens = token.split_contents()
    tag_name = tokens[0]
        # each token is a string so we need to parse it to get the actual
        # variable instead of the variable name as a string.
        model = parser.compile_filter(tokens[1])
    except IndexError:
        raise TemplateSyntaxError(
            "'{}' tag requires at least 1 argument.".format(tag_name))

    field_name = None
    flags = {
        'plural': False,
        'capfirst': False,

    bits = tokens[2:]
    for bit in bits:
        if bit in flags.keys():
            # here we don't need `parser.compile_filter` because we expect
            # 'plural' and 'capfirst' flags to be actual strings.
            if flags[bit]:
                raise TemplateSyntaxError(
                    "'{}' tag only accept one occurrence of '{}' flag".format(
                        tag_name, bit)
            flags[bit] = True
        if field_name:
            raise TemplateSyntaxError((
                "'{}' tag only accept one field name at most. {} is the second "
                "field name encountered."
            ).format(tag_name, bit)
        field_name = parser.compile_filter(bit)

    # VerboseNameNode is our renderer which code is given right below
    return VerboseNameNode(model, field_name, **flags)

And now the renderer:

class VerboseNameNode(Node):

    def __init__(self, model, field_name=None, **flags):
        self.model = model
        self.field_name = field_name
        self.plural = flags.get('plural', False)
        self.capfirst = flags.get('capfirst', False)

    def get_field_verbose_name(self):
        if self.plural:
            raise ValueError("Plural is not supported for fields verbose name.")
        return self.model._meta.get_field(self.field_name).verbose_name

    def get_model_verbose_name(self):
       if self.plural:
           return self.model._meta.verbose_name_plural
           return self.model._meta.verbose_name

    def render(self, context):
        """This is the main function, it will be called to render the tag.
        As you can see it takes context, but we don't need it here.
        For instance, an advanced version of this template tag could look for an
        `object` or `object_list` in the context if `self.model` is not provided.
        if self.field_name:
            verbose_name = self.get_field_verbose_name()
            verbose_name = self.get_model_verbose_name()
        if self.capfirst:
            verbose_name = verbose_name.capitalize()
        return verbose_name

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