Django documentation

The messages framework

Django provides full support for cookie- and session-based messaging, for both anonymous and authenticated clients. The messages framework allows you to temporarily store messages in one request and retrieve them for display in a subsequent request (usually the next one). Every message is tagged with a specific level that determines its priority (e.g., info, warning, or error).

New in Django 1.2: The messages framework was added.

Enabling messages

Messages are implemented through a middleware class and corresponding context processor.

To enable message functionality, do the following:

  • Edit the MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES setting and make sure it contains 'django.contrib.messages.middleware.MessageMiddleware'.

    If you are using a storage backend that relies on sessions (the default), 'django.contrib.sessions.middleware.SessionMiddleware' must be enabled and appear before MessageMiddleware in your MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES.

  • Edit the TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS setting and make sure it contains 'django.contrib.messages.context_processors.messages'.

  • Add 'django.contrib.messages' to your INSTALLED_APPS setting

The default settings.py created by django-admin.py startproject has MessageMiddleware activated and the django.contrib.messages app installed. Also, the default value for TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS contains 'django.contrib.messages.context_processors.messages'.

If you don’t want to use messages, you can remove the MessageMiddleware line from MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES, the messages context processor from TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS and 'django.contrib.messages' from your INSTALLED_APPS.

Configuring the message engine

Storage backends

The messages framework can use different backends to store temporary messages. To change which backend is being used, add a MESSAGE_STORAGE to your settings, referencing the module and class of the storage class. For example:

MESSAGE_STORAGE = 'django.contrib.messages.storage.cookie.CookieStorage'

The value should be the full path of the desired storage class.

Four storage classes are included:

'django.contrib.messages.storage.session.SessionStorage'
This class stores all messages inside of the request's session. It requires Django's contrib.sessions application.
'django.contrib.messages.storage.cookie.CookieStorage'
This class stores the message data in a cookie (signed with a secret hash to prevent manipulation) to persist notifications across requests. Old messages are dropped if the cookie data size would exceed 4096 bytes.
'django.contrib.messages.storage.fallback.FallbackStorage'

This class first uses CookieStorage for all messages, falling back to using SessionStorage for the messages that could not fit in a single cookie.

Since it is uses SessionStorage, it also requires Django's contrib.sessions application.

'django.contrib.messages.storage.user_messages.LegacyFallbackStorage'

This is the default temporary storage class.

This class extends FallbackStorage and adds compatibility methods to retrieve any messages stored in the user Message model by code that has not yet been updated to use the new API. This storage is temporary (because it makes use of code that is pending deprecation) and will be removed in Django 1.4. At that time, the default storage will become django.contrib.messages.storage.fallback.FallbackStorage. For more information, see LegacyFallbackStorage below.

To write your own storage class, subclass the BaseStorage class in django.contrib.messages.storage.base and implement the _get and _store methods.

LegacyFallbackStorage

The LegacyFallbackStorage is a temporary tool to facilitate the transition from the deprecated user.message_set API and will be removed in Django 1.4 according to Django's standard deprecation policy. For more information, see the full release process documentation.

In addition to the functionality in the FallbackStorage, it adds a custom, read-only storage class that retrieves messages from the user Message model. Any messages that were stored in the Message model (e.g., by code that has not yet been updated to use the messages framework) will be retrieved first, followed by those stored in a cookie and in the session, if any. Since messages stored in the Message model do not have a concept of levels, they will be assigned the INFO level by default.

Message levels

The messages framework is based on a configurable level architecture similar to that of the Python logging module. Message levels allow you to group messages by type so they can be filtered or displayed differently in views and templates.

The built-in levels (which can be imported from django.contrib.messages directly) are:

Constant Purpose
DEBUG Development-related messages that will be ignored (or removed) in a production deployment
INFO Informational messages for the user
SUCCESS An action was successful, e.g. "Your profile was updated successfully"
WARNING A failure did not occur but may be imminent
ERROR An action was not successful or some other failure occurred

The MESSAGE_LEVEL setting can be used to change the minimum recorded level (or it can be changed per request). Attempts to add messages of a level less than this will be ignored.

Message tags

Message tags are a string representation of the message level plus any extra tags that were added directly in the view (see Adding extra message tags below for more details). Tags are stored in a string and are separated by spaces. Typically, message tags are used as CSS classes to customize message style based on message type. By default, each level has a single tag that's a lowercase version of its own constant:

Level Constant Tag
DEBUG debug
INFO info
SUCCESS success
WARNING warning
ERROR error

To change the default tags for a message level (either built-in or custom), set the MESSAGE_TAGS setting to a dictionary containing the levels you wish to change. As this extends the default tags, you only need to provide tags for the levels you wish to override:

from django.contrib.messages import constants as messages
MESSAGE_TAGS = {
    messages.INFO: '',
    50: 'critical',
}

Using messages in views and templates

Adding a message

To add a message, call:

from django.contrib import messages
messages.add_message(request, messages.INFO, 'Hello world.')

Some shortcut methods provide a standard way to add messages with commonly used tags (which are usually represented as HTML classes for the message):

messages.debug(request, '%s SQL statements were executed.' % count)
messages.info(request, 'Three credits remain in your account.')
messages.success(request, 'Profile details updated.')
messages.warning(request, 'Your account expires in three days.')
messages.error(request, 'Document deleted.')

Displaying messages

In your template, use something like:

{% if messages %}
<ul class="messages">
    {% for message in messages %}
    <li{% if message.tags %} class="{{ message.tags }}"{% endif %}>{{ message }}</li>
    {% endfor %}
</ul>
{% endif %}

If you're using the context processor, your template should be rendered with a RequestContext. Otherwise, ensure messages is available to the template context.

Even if you know there is only just one message, you should still iterate over the messages sequence, because otherwise the message storage will not be cleared for the next request.

Creating custom message levels

Messages levels are nothing more than integers, so you can define your own level constants and use them to create more customized user feedback, e.g.:

CRITICAL = 50

def my_view(request):
    messages.add_message(request, CRITICAL, 'A serious error occurred.')

When creating custom message levels you should be careful to avoid overloading existing levels. The values for the built-in levels are:

Level Constant Value
DEBUG 10
INFO 20
SUCCESS 25
WARNING 30
ERROR 40

If you need to identify the custom levels in your HTML or CSS, you need to provide a mapping via the MESSAGE_TAGS setting.

Note

If you are creating a reusable application, it is recommended to use only the built-in message levels and not rely on any custom levels.

Changing the minimum recorded level per-request

The minimum recorded level can be set per request via the set_level method:

from django.contrib import messages

# Change the messages level to ensure the debug message is added.
messages.set_level(request, messages.DEBUG)
messages.debug(request, 'Test message...')

# In another request, record only messages with a level of WARNING and higher
messages.set_level(request, messages.WARNING)
messages.success(request, 'Your profile was updated.') # ignored
messages.warning(request, 'Your account is about to expire.') # recorded

# Set the messages level back to default.
messages.set_level(request, None)

Similarly, the current effective level can be retrieved with get_level:

from django.contrib import messages
current_level = messages.get_level(request)

For more information on how the minimum recorded level functions, see Message levels above.

Adding extra message tags

For more direct control over message tags, you can optionally provide a string containing extra tags to any of the add methods:

messages.add_message(request, messages.INFO, 'Over 9000!',
                     extra_tags='dragonball')
messages.error(request, 'Email box full', extra_tags='email')

Extra tags are added before the default tag for that level and are space separated.

Failing silently when the message framework is disabled

If you're writing a reusable app (or other piece of code) and want to include messaging functionality, but don't want to require your users to enable it if they don't want to, you may pass an additional keyword argument fail_silently=True to any of the add_message family of methods. For example:

messages.add_message(request, messages.SUCCESS, 'Profile details updated.',
                     fail_silently=True)
messages.info(request, 'Hello world.', fail_silently=True)

Internally, Django uses this functionality in the create, update, and delete generic views so that they work even if the message framework is disabled.

Note

Setting fail_silently=True only hides the MessageFailure that would otherwise occur when the messages framework disabled and one attempts to use one of the add_message family of methods. It does not hide failures that may occur for other reasons.

Expiration of messages

The messages are marked to be cleared when the storage instance is iterated (and cleared when the response is processed).

To avoid the messages being cleared, you can set the messages storage to False after iterating:

storage = messages.get_messages(request)
for message in storage:
    do_something_with(message)
storage.used = False

Behavior of parallel requests

Due to the way cookies (and hence sessions) work, the behavior of any backends that make use of cookies or sessions is undefined when the same client makes multiple requests that set or get messages in parallel. For example, if a client initiates a request that creates a message in one window (or tab) and then another that fetches any uniterated messages in another window, before the first window redirects, the message may appear in the second window instead of the first window where it may be expected.

In short, when multiple simultaneous requests from the same client are involved, messages are not guaranteed to be delivered to the same window that created them nor, in some cases, at all. Note that this is typically not a problem in most applications and will become a non-issue in HTML5, where each window/tab will have its own browsing context.

Settings

A few Django settings give you control over message behavior:

MESSAGE_LEVEL

Default: messages.INFO

This sets the minimum message that will be saved in the message storage. See Message levels above for more details.

Important

If you override MESSAGE_LEVEL in your settings file and rely on any of the built-in constants, you must import the constants module directly to avoid the potential for circular imports, e.g.:

from django.contrib.messages import constants as message_constants
MESSAGE_LEVEL = message_constants.DEBUG

If desired, you may specify the numeric values for the constants directly according to the values in the above constants table.

MESSAGE_STORAGE

Default: 'django.contrib.messages.storage.user_messages.LegacyFallbackStorage'

Controls where Django stores message data. Valid values are:

  • 'django.contrib.messages.storage.fallback.FallbackStorage'
  • 'django.contrib.messages.storage.session.SessionStorage'
  • 'django.contrib.messages.storage.cookie.CookieStorage'
  • 'django.contrib.messages.storage.user_messages.LegacyFallbackStorage'

See Storage backends for more details.

MESSAGE_TAGS

Default:

{messages.DEBUG: 'debug',
messages.INFO: 'info',
messages.SUCCESS: 'success',
messages.WARNING: 'warning',
messages.ERROR: 'error',}

This sets the mapping of message level to message tag, which is typically rendered as a CSS class in HTML. If you specify a value, it will extend the default. This means you only have to specify those values which you need to override. See Displaying messages above for more details.

Important

If you override MESSAGE_TAGS in your settings file and rely on any of the built-in constants, you must import the constants module directly to avoid the potential for circular imports, e.g.:

from django.contrib.messages import constants as message_constants
MESSAGE_TAGS = {message_constants.INFO: ''}

If desired, you may specify the numeric values for the constants directly according to the values in the above constants table.

Questions/Feedback

Having trouble? We'd like to help!

This document is for an insecure version of Django that is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a newer release!