Django documentation

The Forms API

About this document

This document covers the gritty details of Django’s forms API. You should read the introduction to working with forms first.

Bound and unbound forms

A Form instance is either bound to a set of data, or unbound.

  • If it’s bound to a set of data, it’s capable of validating that data and rendering the form as HTML with the data displayed in the HTML.
  • If it’s unbound, it cannot do validation (because there’s no data to validate!), but it can still render the blank form as HTML.
class Form

To create an unbound Form instance, simply instantiate the class:

>>> f = ContactForm()

To bind data to a form, pass the data as a dictionary as the first parameter to your Form class constructor:

>>> data = {'subject': 'hello',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'foo@example.com',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)

In this dictionary, the keys are the field names, which correspond to the attributes in your Form class. The values are the data you’re trying to validate. These will usually be strings, but there’s no requirement that they be strings; the type of data you pass depends on the Field, as we’ll see in a moment.

Form.is_bound

If you need to distinguish between bound and unbound form instances at runtime, check the value of the form’s is_bound attribute:

>>> f = ContactForm()
>>> f.is_bound
False
>>> f = ContactForm({'subject': 'hello'})
>>> f.is_bound
True

Note that passing an empty dictionary creates a bound form with empty data:

>>> f = ContactForm({})
>>> f.is_bound
True

If you have a bound Form instance and want to change the data somehow, or if you want to bind an unbound Form instance to some data, create another Form instance. There is no way to change data in a Form instance. Once a Form instance has been created, you should consider its data immutable, whether it has data or not.

Using forms to validate data

Form.is_valid()

The primary task of a Form object is to validate data. With a bound Form instance, call the is_valid() method to run validation and return a boolean designating whether the data was valid:

>>> data = {'subject': 'hello',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'foo@example.com',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f.is_valid()
True

Let’s try with some invalid data. In this case, subject is blank (an error, because all fields are required by default) and sender is not a valid email address:

>>> data = {'subject': '',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'invalid email address',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f.is_valid()
False
Form.errors

Access the errors attribute to get a dictionary of error messages:

>>> f.errors
{'sender': [u'Enter a valid e-mail address.'], 'subject': [u'This field is required.']}

In this dictionary, the keys are the field names, and the values are lists of Unicode strings representing the error messages. The error messages are stored in lists because a field can have multiple error messages.

You can access errors without having to call is_valid() first. The form’s data will be validated the first time either you call is_valid() or access errors.

The validation routines will only get called once, regardless of how many times you access errors or call is_valid(). This means that if validation has side effects, those side effects will only be triggered once.

Behavior of unbound forms

It’s meaningless to validate a form with no data, but, for the record, here’s what happens with unbound forms:

>>> f = ContactForm()
>>> f.is_valid()
False
>>> f.errors
{}

Dynamic initial values

Form.initial

Use initial to declare the initial value of form fields at runtime. For example, you might want to fill in a username field with the username of the current session.

To accomplish this, use the initial argument to a Form. This argument, if given, should be a dictionary mapping field names to initial values. Only include the fields for which you’re specifying an initial value; it’s not necessary to include every field in your form. For example:

>>> f = ContactForm(initial={'subject': 'Hi there!'})

These values are only displayed for unbound forms, and they’re not used as fallback values if a particular value isn’t provided.

Note that if a Field defines initial and you include initial when instantiating the Form, then the latter initial will have precedence. In this example, initial is provided both at the field level and at the form instance level, and the latter gets precedence:

>>> class CommentForm(forms.Form):
...     name = forms.CharField(initial='class')
...     url = forms.URLField()
...     comment = forms.CharField()
>>> f = CommentForm(initial={'name': 'instance'}, auto_id=False)
>>> print f
<tr><th>Name:</th><td><input type="text" name="name" value="instance" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Url:</th><td><input type="text" name="url" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Comment:</th><td><input type="text" name="comment" /></td></tr>

Accessing “clean” data

Form.cleaned_data

Each field in a Form class is responsible not only for validating data, but also for “cleaning” it – normalizing it to a consistent format. This is a nice feature, because it allows data for a particular field to be input in a variety of ways, always resulting in consistent output.

For example, DateField normalizes input into a Python datetime.date object. Regardless of whether you pass it a string in the format '1994-07-15', a datetime.date object, or a number of other formats, DateField will always normalize it to a datetime.date object as long as it’s valid.

Once you’ve created a Form instance with a set of data and validated it, you can access the clean data via its cleaned_data attribute:

>>> data = {'subject': 'hello',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'foo@example.com',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f.is_valid()
True
>>> f.cleaned_data
{'cc_myself': True, 'message': u'Hi there', 'sender': u'foo@example.com', 'subject': u'hello'}

Note that any text-based field – such as CharField or EmailField – always cleans the input into a Unicode string. We’ll cover the encoding implications later in this document.

If your data does not validate, your Form instance will not have a cleaned_data attribute:

>>> data = {'subject': '',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'invalid email address',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f.is_valid()
False
>>> f.cleaned_data
Traceback (most recent call last):
...
AttributeError: 'ContactForm' object has no attribute 'cleaned_data'

cleaned_data will always only contain a key for fields defined in the Form, even if you pass extra data when you define the Form. In this example, we pass a bunch of extra fields to the ContactForm constructor, but cleaned_data contains only the form’s fields:

>>> data = {'subject': 'hello',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'foo@example.com',
...         'cc_myself': True,
...         'extra_field_1': 'foo',
...         'extra_field_2': 'bar',
...         'extra_field_3': 'baz'}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f.is_valid()
True
>>> f.cleaned_data # Doesn't contain extra_field_1, etc.
{'cc_myself': True, 'message': u'Hi there', 'sender': u'foo@example.com', 'subject': u'hello'}

cleaned_data will include a key and value for all fields defined in the Form, even if the data didn’t include a value for fields that are not required. In this example, the data dictionary doesn’t include a value for the nick_name field, but cleaned_data includes it, with an empty value:

>>> class OptionalPersonForm(Form):
...     first_name = CharField()
...     last_name = CharField()
...     nick_name = CharField(required=False)
>>> data = {'first_name': u'John', 'last_name': u'Lennon'}
>>> f = OptionalPersonForm(data)
>>> f.is_valid()
True
>>> f.cleaned_data
{'nick_name': u'', 'first_name': u'John', 'last_name': u'Lennon'}

In this above example, the cleaned_data value for nick_name is set to an empty string, because nick_name is CharField, and CharFields treat empty values as an empty string. Each field type knows what its “blank” value is – e.g., for DateField, it’s None instead of the empty string. For full details on each field’s behavior in this case, see the “Empty value” note for each field in the “Built-in Field classes” section below.

You can write code to perform validation for particular form fields (based on their name) or for the form as a whole (considering combinations of various fields). More information about this is in Form and field validation.

Outputting forms as HTML

The second task of a Form object is to render itself as HTML. To do so, simply print it:

>>> f = ContactForm()
>>> print f
<tr><th><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label></th><td><input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_message">Message:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></td></tr>

If the form is bound to data, the HTML output will include that data appropriately. For example, if a field is represented by an <input type="text">, the data will be in the value attribute. If a field is represented by an <input type="checkbox">, then that HTML will include checked="checked" if appropriate:

>>> data = {'subject': 'hello',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'foo@example.com',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> print f
<tr><th><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label></th><td><input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" value="hello" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_message">Message:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" value="Hi there" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" value="foo@example.com" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" checked="checked" /></td></tr>

This default output is a two-column HTML table, with a <tr> for each field. Notice the following:

  • For flexibility, the output does not include the <table> and </table> tags, nor does it include the <form> and </form> tags or an <input type="submit"> tag. It’s your job to do that.
  • Each field type has a default HTML representation. CharField and EmailField are represented by an <input type="text">. BooleanField is represented by an <input type="checkbox">. Note these are merely sensible defaults; you can specify which HTML to use for a given field by using widgets, which we’ll explain shortly.
  • The HTML name for each tag is taken directly from its attribute name in the ContactForm class.
  • The text label for each field – e.g. 'Subject:', 'Message:' and 'Cc myself:' is generated from the field name by converting all underscores to spaces and upper-casing the first letter. Again, note these are merely sensible defaults; you can also specify labels manually.
  • Each text label is surrounded in an HTML <label> tag, which points to the appropriate form field via its id. Its id, in turn, is generated by prepending 'id_' to the field name. The id attributes and <label> tags are included in the output by default, to follow best practices, but you can change that behavior.

Although <table> output is the default output style when you print a form, other output styles are available. Each style is available as a method on a form object, and each rendering method returns a Unicode object.

as_p()

Form.as_p()

as_p() renders the form as a series of <p> tags, with each <p> containing one field:

>>> f = ContactForm()
>>> f.as_p()
u'<p><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label> <input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>\n<p><label for="id_message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></p>\n<p><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></p>\n<p><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></p>'
>>> print f.as_p()
<p><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label> <input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>
<p><label for="id_message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></p>
<p><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></p>
<p><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></p>

as_ul()

Form.as_ul()

as_ul() renders the form as a series of <li> tags, with each <li> containing one field. It does not include the <ul> or </ul>, so that you can specify any HTML attributes on the <ul> for flexibility:

>>> f = ContactForm()
>>> f.as_ul()
u'<li><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label> <input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>\n<li><label for="id_message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></li>\n<li><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></li>\n<li><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></li>'
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label> <input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li><label for="id_message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></li>
<li><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></li>
<li><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></li>

as_table()

Form.as_table()

Finally, as_table() outputs the form as an HTML <table>. This is exactly the same as print. In fact, when you print a form object, it calls its as_table() method behind the scenes:

>>> f = ContactForm()
>>> f.as_table()
u'<tr><th><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label></th><td><input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>\n<tr><th><label for="id_message">Message:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></td></tr>\n<tr><th><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></td></tr>\n<tr><th><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></td></tr>'
>>> print f.as_table()
<tr><th><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label></th><td><input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_message">Message:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" /></td></tr>

Styling required or erroneous form rows

New in Django 1.2: Please see the release notes

It’s pretty common to style form rows and fields that are required or have errors. For example, you might want to present required form rows in bold and highlight errors in red.

The Form class has a couple of hooks you can use to add class attributes to required rows or to rows with errors: simply set the Form.error_css_class and/or Form.required_css_class attributes:

class ContactForm(Form):
    error_css_class = 'error'
    required_css_class = 'required'

    # ... and the rest of your fields here

Once you’ve done that, rows will be given "error" and/or "required" classes, as needed. The HTML will look something like:

>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> print f.as_table()
<tr class="required"><th><label for="id_subject">Subject:</label>    ...
<tr class="required"><th><label for="id_message">Message:</label>    ...
<tr class="required error"><th><label for="id_sender">Sender:</label>      ...
<tr><th><label for="id_cc_myself">Cc myself:<label> ...

Configuring HTML <label> tags

An HTML <label> tag designates which label text is associated with which form element. This small enhancement makes forms more usable and more accessible to assistive devices. It’s always a good idea to use <label> tags.

By default, the form rendering methods include HTML id attributes on the form elements and corresponding <label> tags around the labels. The id attribute values are generated by prepending id_ to the form field names. This behavior is configurable, though, if you want to change the id convention or remove HTML id attributes and <label> tags entirely.

Use the auto_id argument to the Form constructor to control the label and id behavior. This argument must be True, False or a string.

If auto_id is False, then the form output will not include <label> tags nor id attributes:

>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id=False)
>>> print f.as_table()
<tr><th>Subject:</th><td><input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Message:</th><td><input type="text" name="message" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Sender:</th><td><input type="text" name="sender" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Cc myself:</th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></td></tr>
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li>Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li>Message: <input type="text" name="message" /></li>
<li>Sender: <input type="text" name="sender" /></li>
<li>Cc myself: <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></li>
>>> print f.as_p()
<p>Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>
<p>Message: <input type="text" name="message" /></p>
<p>Sender: <input type="text" name="sender" /></p>
<p>Cc myself: <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></p>

If auto_id is set to True, then the form output will include <label> tags and will simply use the field name as its id for each form field:

>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id=True)
>>> print f.as_table()
<tr><th><label for="subject">Subject:</label></th><td><input id="subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="message">Message:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="message" id="message" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="sender">Sender:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="sender" id="sender" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="cc_myself">Cc myself:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="cc_myself" /></td></tr>
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li><label for="subject">Subject:</label> <input id="subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li><label for="message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="message" /></li>
<li><label for="sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="sender" /></li>
<li><label for="cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="cc_myself" /></li>
>>> print f.as_p()
<p><label for="subject">Subject:</label> <input id="subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>
<p><label for="message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="message" /></p>
<p><label for="sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="sender" /></p>
<p><label for="cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="cc_myself" /></p>

If auto_id is set to a string containing the format character '%s', then the form output will include <label> tags, and will generate id attributes based on the format string. For example, for a format string 'field_%s', a field named subject will get the id value 'field_subject'. Continuing our example:

>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id='id_for_%s')
>>> print f.as_table()
<tr><th><label for="id_for_subject">Subject:</label></th><td><input id="id_for_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_for_message">Message:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="message" id="id_for_message" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_for_sender">Sender:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="sender" id="id_for_sender" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_for_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_for_cc_myself" /></td></tr>
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li><label for="id_for_subject">Subject:</label> <input id="id_for_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_for_message" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_for_sender" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_for_cc_myself" /></li>
>>> print f.as_p()
<p><label for="id_for_subject">Subject:</label> <input id="id_for_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>
<p><label for="id_for_message">Message:</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_for_message" /></p>
<p><label for="id_for_sender">Sender:</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_for_sender" /></p>
<p><label for="id_for_cc_myself">Cc myself:</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_for_cc_myself" /></p>

If auto_id is set to any other true value – such as a string that doesn’t include %s – then the library will act as if auto_id is True.

By default, auto_id is set to the string 'id_%s'.

Normally, a colon (:) will be appended after any label name when a form is rendered. It’s possible to change the colon to another character, or omit it entirely, using the label_suffix parameter:

>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id='id_for_%s', label_suffix='')
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li><label for="id_for_subject">Subject</label> <input id="id_for_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_message">Message</label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_for_message" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_sender">Sender</label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_for_sender" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_cc_myself">Cc myself</label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_for_cc_myself" /></li>
>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id='id_for_%s', label_suffix=' ->')
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li><label for="id_for_subject">Subject -></label> <input id="id_for_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_message">Message -></label> <input type="text" name="message" id="id_for_message" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_sender">Sender -></label> <input type="text" name="sender" id="id_for_sender" /></li>
<li><label for="id_for_cc_myself">Cc myself -></label> <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_for_cc_myself" /></li>

Note that the label suffix is added only if the last character of the label isn’t a punctuation character (., !, ? or :)

Notes on field ordering

In the as_p(), as_ul() and as_table() shortcuts, the fields are displayed in the order in which you define them in your form class. For example, in the ContactForm example, the fields are defined in the order subject, message, sender, cc_myself. To reorder the HTML output, just change the order in which those fields are listed in the class.

How errors are displayed

If you render a bound Form object, the act of rendering will automatically run the form’s validation if it hasn’t already happened, and the HTML output will include the validation errors as a <ul class="errorlist"> near the field. The particular positioning of the error messages depends on the output method you’re using:

>>> data = {'subject': '',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'invalid email address',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> f = ContactForm(data, auto_id=False)
>>> print f.as_table()
<tr><th>Subject:</th><td><ul class="errorlist"><li>This field is required.</li></ul><input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Message:</th><td><input type="text" name="message" value="Hi there" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Sender:</th><td><ul class="errorlist"><li>Enter a valid e-mail address.</li></ul><input type="text" name="sender" value="invalid email address" /></td></tr>
<tr><th>Cc myself:</th><td><input checked="checked" type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></td></tr>
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li><ul class="errorlist"><li>This field is required.</li></ul>Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li>Message: <input type="text" name="message" value="Hi there" /></li>
<li><ul class="errorlist"><li>Enter a valid e-mail address.</li></ul>Sender: <input type="text" name="sender" value="invalid email address" /></li>
<li>Cc myself: <input checked="checked" type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></li>
>>> print f.as_p()
<p><ul class="errorlist"><li>This field is required.</li></ul></p>
<p>Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>
<p>Message: <input type="text" name="message" value="Hi there" /></p>
<p><ul class="errorlist"><li>Enter a valid e-mail address.</li></ul></p>
<p>Sender: <input type="text" name="sender" value="invalid email address" /></p>
<p>Cc myself: <input checked="checked" type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></p>

Customizing the error list format

By default, forms use django.forms.util.ErrorList to format validation errors. If you’d like to use an alternate class for displaying errors, you can pass that in at construction time:

>>> from django.forms.util import ErrorList
>>> class DivErrorList(ErrorList):
...     def __unicode__(self):
...         return self.as_divs()
...     def as_divs(self):
...         if not self: return u''
...         return u'<div class="errorlist">%s</div>' % ''.join([u'<div class="error">%s</div>' % e for e in self])
>>> f = ContactForm(data, auto_id=False, error_class=DivErrorList)
>>> f.as_p()
<div class="errorlist"><div class="error">This field is required.</div></div>
<p>Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></p>
<p>Message: <input type="text" name="message" value="Hi there" /></p>
<div class="errorlist"><div class="error">Enter a valid e-mail address.</div></div>
<p>Sender: <input type="text" name="sender" value="invalid email address" /></p>
<p>Cc myself: <input checked="checked" type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></p>

More granular output

The as_p(), as_ul() and as_table() methods are simply shortcuts for lazy developers – they’re not the only way a form object can be displayed.

class BoundField

Used to display HTML or access attributes for a single field of a Form instance.

The __unicode__() and __str__() methods of this object displays the HTML for this field.

To retrieve a single BoundField, use dictionary lookup syntax on your form using the field’s name as the key:

>>> form = ContactForm()
>>> print form['subject']
<input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" />

To retrieve all BoundField objects, iterate the form:

>>> form = ContactForm()
>>> for boundfield in form: print boundfield
<input id="id_subject" type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" />
<input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" />
<input type="text" name="sender" id="id_sender" />
<input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" id="id_cc_myself" />

The field-specific output honors the form object’s auto_id setting:

>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id=False)
>>> print f['message']
<input type="text" name="message" />
>>> f = ContactForm(auto_id='id_%s')
>>> print f['message']
<input type="text" name="message" id="id_message" />

For a field’s list of errors, access the field’s errors attribute.

BoundField.errors

A list-like object that is displayed as an HTML <ul class="errorlist"> when printed:

>>> data = {'subject': 'hi', 'message': '', 'sender': '', 'cc_myself': ''}
>>> f = ContactForm(data, auto_id=False)
>>> print f['message']
<input type="text" name="message" />
>>> f['message'].errors
[u'This field is required.']
>>> print f['message'].errors
<ul class="errorlist"><li>This field is required.</li></ul>
>>> f['subject'].errors
[]
>>> print f['subject'].errors

>>> str(f['subject'].errors)
    ''
BoundField.css_classes()
New in Django 1.2: Please see the release notes

When you use Django’s rendering shortcuts, CSS classes are used to indicate required form fields or fields that contain errors. If you’re manually rendering a form, you can access these CSS classes using the css_classes method:

>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f['message'].css_classes()
'required'

If you want to provide some additional classes in addition to the error and required classes that may be required, you can provide those classes as an argument:

>>> f = ContactForm(data)
>>> f['message'].css_classes('foo bar')
'foo bar required'
BoundField.value()
New in Django 1.3: Please see the release notes

Use this method to render the raw value of this field as it would be rendered by a Widget:

>>> initial = {'subject': 'welcome'}
>>> unbound_form = ContactForm(initial=initial)
>>> bound_form = ContactForm(data, initial=initial)
>>> print unbound_form['subject'].value()
welcome
>>> print bound_form['subject'].value()
hi

Binding uploaded files to a form

Dealing with forms that have FileField and ImageField fields is a little more complicated than a normal form.

Firstly, in order to upload files, you’ll need to make sure that your <form> element correctly defines the enctype as "multipart/form-data":

<form enctype="multipart/form-data" method="post" action="/foo/">

Secondly, when you use the form, you need to bind the file data. File data is handled separately to normal form data, so when your form contains a FileField and ImageField, you will need to specify a second argument when you bind your form. So if we extend our ContactForm to include an ImageField called mugshot, we need to bind the file data containing the mugshot image:

# Bound form with an image field
>>> from django.core.files.uploadedfile import SimpleUploadedFile
>>> data = {'subject': 'hello',
...         'message': 'Hi there',
...         'sender': 'foo@example.com',
...         'cc_myself': True}
>>> file_data = {'mugshot': SimpleUploadedFile('face.jpg', <file data>)}
>>> f = ContactFormWithMugshot(data, file_data)

In practice, you will usually specify request.FILES as the source of file data (just like you use request.POST as the source of form data):

# Bound form with an image field, data from the request
>>> f = ContactFormWithMugshot(request.POST, request.FILES)

Constructing an unbound form is the same as always – just omit both form data and file data:

# Unbound form with a image field
>>> f = ContactFormWithMugshot()

Testing for multipart forms

If you’re writing reusable views or templates, you may not know ahead of time whether your form is a multipart form or not. The is_multipart() method tells you whether the form requires multipart encoding for submission:

>>> f = ContactFormWithMugshot()
>>> f.is_multipart()
True

Here’s an example of how you might use this in a template:

{% if form.is_multipart %}
    <form enctype="multipart/form-data" method="post" action="/foo/">
{% else %}
    <form method="post" action="/foo/">
{% endif %}
{{ form }}
</form>

Subclassing forms

If you have multiple Form classes that share fields, you can use subclassing to remove redundancy.

When you subclass a custom Form class, the resulting subclass will include all fields of the parent class(es), followed by the fields you define in the subclass.

In this example, ContactFormWithPriority contains all the fields from ContactForm, plus an additional field, priority. The ContactForm fields are ordered first:

>>> class ContactFormWithPriority(ContactForm):
...     priority = forms.CharField()
>>> f = ContactFormWithPriority(auto_id=False)
>>> print f.as_ul()
<li>Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" maxlength="100" /></li>
<li>Message: <input type="text" name="message" /></li>
<li>Sender: <input type="text" name="sender" /></li>
<li>Cc myself: <input type="checkbox" name="cc_myself" /></li>
<li>Priority: <input type="text" name="priority" /></li>

It’s possible to subclass multiple forms, treating forms as “mix-ins.” In this example, BeatleForm subclasses both PersonForm and InstrumentForm (in that order), and its field list includes the fields from the parent classes:

>>> class PersonForm(Form):
...     first_name = CharField()
...     last_name = CharField()
>>> class InstrumentForm(Form):
...     instrument = CharField()
>>> class BeatleForm(PersonForm, InstrumentForm):
...     haircut_type = CharField()
>>> b = BeatleForm(auto_id=False)
>>> print b.as_ul()
<li>First name: <input type="text" name="first_name" /></li>
<li>Last name: <input type="text" name="last_name" /></li>
<li>Instrument: <input type="text" name="instrument" /></li>
<li>Haircut type: <input type="text" name="haircut_type" /></li>

Prefixes for forms

Form.prefix

You can put several Django forms inside one <form> tag. To give each Form its own namespace, use the prefix keyword argument:

>>> mother = PersonForm(prefix="mother")
>>> father = PersonForm(prefix="father")
>>> print mother.as_ul()
<li><label for="id_mother-first_name">First name:</label> <input type="text" name="mother-first_name" id="id_mother-first_name" /></li>
<li><label for="id_mother-last_name">Last name:</label> <input type="text" name="mother-last_name" id="id_mother-last_name" /></li>
>>> print father.as_ul()
<li><label for="id_father-first_name">First name:</label> <input type="text" name="father-first_name" id="id_father-first_name" /></li>
<li><label for="id_father-last_name">Last name:</label> <input type="text" name="father-last_name" id="id_father-last_name" /></li>

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