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A set of :term:`Chameleon` templates is used by the default widget set present in :mod:`deform` to make it easier to customize the look and feel of form renderings.

Overriding the default templates

The default widget set uses templates that live in the templates directory of the :mod:`deform` package. If you are comfortable using the :term:`Chameleon` templating system, but you simply need to override some of these templates you can create your own template directory and copy the template you wish to customize into it. You can then either configure your new template directory to be used for all forms or for specific forms as described below.

For relevant API documentation see the :class:`deform.ZPTRendererFactory` class and the :class:`deform.Field` class renderer argument.

Overriding for all forms

To globally override templates use the :meth:`deform.Field.set_zpt_renderer` class method to change the settings associated with the default ZPT renderer:

from pkg_resources import resource_filename
from deform import Form

deform_templates = resource_filename('deform', 'templates')
search_path = ('/path/to/my/templates', deform_templates)


Now, the templates in /path/to/my/templates will be used in preference to the default templates whenever a form is rendered. Any number of template directories can be put into the search path and will be searched in the order specified with the first matching template found being used.

Overriding for specific forms

If you only want to change the templates used for a specific form, or even for the specific rendering of a form, you can pass a renderer argument to the :class:`deform.Form` constructor, e.g.:

from deform import ZPTRendererFactory
from deform import Form
from pkg_resources import resource_filename

deform_templates = resource_filename('deform', 'templates')
search_path = ('/path/to/my/templates', deform_templates)
renderer = ZPTRendererFactory(search_path)

form = Form(someschema, renderer=renderer)

When the above form is rendered, the templates in /path/to/my/templates will be used in preference to the default templates. Any number of template directories can be put into the search path and will be searched in the order specified with the first matching template found being used.

Using an alternative templating system

A :term:`renderer` is used by the each widget implementation in :mod:`deform` to render HTML from a set of templates. By default, each of the default Deform widgets uses a template written in the Chameleon ZPT templating language. If you'd rather use a different templating system for your widgets, you can. To do so, you need to:

  • Write an alternate renderer that uses the templating system of your choice.
  • Optionally, convert all the existing Deform templates to your templating language of choice. This is only necessary if you choose to use the widgets that ship as part of Deform.
  • Set the default renderer of the :class:`deform.Form` class.

Creating a Renderer

A renderer is simply a callable that accepts a single positional argument, which is the template name, and a set of keyword arguments. The keyword arguments it will receive are arbitrary, and differ per widget, but the keywords usually include field, a :term:`field` object, and cstruct, the data structure related to the field that must be rendered by the template itself.

Here's an example of a (naive) renderer that uses the Mako templating engine:


A more robust implementation might use a template loader that does some caching, or it might allow the template directory to be configured.

Note the mako_renderer function we've created actually appends a .mak extension to the tmpl_name it is passed. This is because Deform passes a template name without any extension to allow for different templating systems to be used as renderers.

Our mako_renderer renderer is now ready to have some templates created for it.

Converting the Default Deform Templates

The :mod:`deform` package contains a directory named templates. You can see the current trunk contents of this directory by browsing the source repository. Each file within this directory and any of its subdirectories is a Chameleon ZPT template that is used by a default Deform widget.

For example, ZPT template, which is used by the :class:`deform.widget.TextInputWidget` widget and which renders a text input control looks like this:

If we created a Mako renderer, we would need to create an analogue of this template. Such an analogue should be named textinput.mak and might look like this:

Whatever the body of the template looks like, the resulting textinput.mak should be placed in a directory that is meant to house other Mako template files which are going to be consumed by Deform. You'll need to convert each of the templates that exist in the Deform templates directory and its subdirectories, and put all of the resulting templates into your private mako templates dir too, retaining any directory structure (e.g., retaining the fact that there is a readonly directory and converting its contents).

Configuring Your New Renderer as the Default

Once you've created a new renderer and created templates that match all the existing Deform templates, you can now configure your renderer to be used by Deform. In startup code, add something like:

The deform widget system will now use your renderer as the default renderer.

Note that calling :meth:`deform.Field.set_default_renderer` will cause this renderer to be used by default by all consumers in the process it's invoked in. This is potentially undesirable: you may need the same process to use more than one renderer perhaps because that same process houses two different Deform-using systems. In this case, instead of using the set_default_renderer method, you can write your application in such a way that it passes a renderer to the Form constructor:

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