Saturday 23 October 2010

Model fields as a template in Django

Ok, let’s assume apps/blog/

 from django.db import models  class BlogPost(models.Model):     title:  models.CharField(max_length=255)     content = models.TextField()     created = models.DateTimeField()          class Meta:         ordering=['-created']          def __unicode__(self):         return u'%s' % self.title  

and templates/blog/object_detail.html

 {% extends 'base.html' %}  {% block title %}{{object.title}} – {% endblock %}  {% block article %}     {{object.content|linebreaks}} {% endblock %} 

So far this is all pretty standard. Let’s add a BlogImage model into the mix

 class BlogImage(models.Model):     blogpost = models.ForeignKey(BlogPost)     src = models.ImageField(upload_to="uploads/blogimages/")          def __unicode__(self):         return u'%s' % self.src 

So now you’re writing your blog post and you decide that you want to have your image at a certain point in the content that you’re writing. If you’re using the contrib admin app, you might think about doing something like this

 Last year we took a holiday to the south of France. The weather was brilliant.    As you can see from the picture above, we all had a great time. 

But that’s not going to work for two reasons:

  1. The blogpost.content field isn’t a template. It will always be treated as text, because it’s a textfield
  2. There context isn’t supplied to a models field, so it has no idea what to resolve “object” to

My Solution

Solving this problem is actually remarkably easy.

The model isn’t aware of the context in the way that a template is, so we need to render out the model field as if it was a template. To do this, we’ll write a templatetag and put this code in ‘myproject/apps/blog/templatetags/’. I’ve called this tag UltraRender, feel free to name it something a little more semantic.

 from django import template register = template.Library()  class UltraRender(template.Node):      def __init__(self, obj_and_field):         self.obj = template.Variable(obj_and_field.split('.')[0])         self.t = obj_and_field.split('.')[1]      def render(self, context):         obj = self.obj.resolve(context)         t = template.Template(getattr(obj, self.t))         rendered_field = t.render(context)         return template.defaultfilters.linebreaks(rendered_field)                   @register.tag def ultrarender(parser, token):     bits = token.contents.split()     return UltraRender(bits[1]) 

The tag is used like this

 {% extends 'base.html' %} {% load blog_tags %}  {% block title %}{{object.title}} – {% endblock %}  {% block article %}     {% ultrarender object.content %} {% endblock %} 

and it should result in something like this



It’s a nice little twist on the template engine that so far has been working out very well for me. I’ve been using it on this site for a while now, though I’ve modified it quite a lot to take advantage of caching, syntax highlighting and all manner of other embellishments. If you’re interesting in seeing how I’ve pushed it around, take a look at the source code of

If you’d like it, you can download the sample code that I used when writing this blog post. It can be found on my ultrarenderdemo on github