forms/survey generator for dynamically constructor multi-page surveys that have the ability to be non-linear
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formly is a forms/survey generator for dynamically constructed multi-page surveys with the ability to be non-linear.

formly is an app that provides an out of the box solution to building adhoc forms to collect data from end users. It is multi-faceted in that it provides interfaces for building multi-page forms, interfaces for executing the survey, as well as views for reviewing results.

Also, it is non-linear, meaning that you can route users taking the survey to different pages based on what they answered on certain questions. This allows you to create very rich surveys that dive deep on detail you care about while not wasting the time of users who would otherwise have to go through questions that do not apply to them.

Development sponsored by Midwest Communications and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Supported Django and Python versions

Django \ Python 2.7 3.4 3.5 3.6
1.11 * * * *
2.0 * * *



To install formly:

    $ pip install formly

Add formly to your INSTALLED_APPS setting:

        # other apps

Next, add formly.urls to your project urlpatterns:

    urlpatterns = [
        # other urls
        url(r"^surveys/", include("formly.urls", namespace="formly")),

Finally, if you want to use formly's permission authentications, add formly.auth_backend.AuthenticationBackend to your settings AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS:

        # other authentication backends

Optional Requirements

In order to use built-in templates, add the following dependencies to your project:

  • pinax-theme-bootstrap (not required if you use different block names)
  • django-bootstrap-form (required for form rendering in templates)
        # other apps


formly is designed to be plug-and-play, in that after you install formly using it should be as simple as creating and publishing surveys through the web interface.

After installation, browse to wherever you mounted the urls for formly and you'll see an interface to be able to create a new survey. From here you can create a survey and begin editing pages. Pages in formly represent each step of the survey. The user will be guided through each page of the survey in the appropriate order saving each page at a time.

For each page, you can give a title and add as many fields as you desire. If the field is a type that requires choices, then you will have the option on the fields detail/edit form to add choices. An optional value that can be supplied for a choice answer is the page to redirect the user to if they select that answer.

If you have multiple choice fields in a single page with conflicting page routing, formly resolves to the first page it encounters. For example, if you had a question that had choice B route to page 3 and another question later in the form that had choice C route to page 5 and the user answered both questions with choice B and choice C, the user would go to page 3 next. Keep this in mind when building surveys.


formly enables you to create questions with a multitude of field types that will control the dynamic rendering and processing of form input on each page of your survey.

All field types tie directly to a specific field and widget configuration as found in django.forms. The other attributes that can be passed into every field, label, help_text, and required can be set and managed at design time.

For the field types that accept choices, there is the ability to set key/value pairs for each field that are used to populate the choices attribute for the field to be used for both display as well as form validation upon execution.

Boolean (True/False)

Renders and processes input using django.forms.BooleanField.

Checkbox (Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers)

A field generated from a django.forms.MultipleChoiceField with a django.forms.CheckboxInput widget, populated with choices specified at design time. This field allows for multiple selections.


Provides a way to constrain input to dates only. It is generated from a django.forms.DateField.

Likert Scale

A django.forms.ChoiceField populated with choices specified at design time. The field template formly/templates/bootstrapform/field.html emits:

    <ul class="likert-question">
        {{ field }}

for hooking in CSS design. The following sample CSS presents a Likert field in familiar horizontal layout. You should add this (or similar) CSS to your project to get Likert-scale presentation.

    form .likert-question {
      padding:0 0 35px;
      border-bottom:2px solid #efefef;
    form .likert-question:last-of-type {
    form .likert-question:before {
      content: '';
    form .likert-question li {
      vertical-align: top;
    form .likert-question li input[type=radio] {
    form .likert-question li label {

Media (File Upload)

Enables users to upload content as a response using django.forms.FileField.

Multiple Text (Multiple Free Responses - Single Lines)

Presents a number of single line fields. The number of fields is specified at design time.

Radio (Multiple Choice, Pick One)

A django.forms.ChoiceField with a django.forms.RadioSelect widget, populated with choices specified at design time.

Rating Scale

A django.forms.ChoiceField populated with choices specified at design time. The field template formly/templates/bootstrapform/field.html emits:

    <ul class="rating-question">
        {{ field }}

Select (Multiple Choice, Pick One - Dropdown)

A select field generated from a django.forms.ChoiceField with a django.forms.Select widget, populated with choices specified at design time.

Text (Free Response, One Line)

A field for open ended text input and is interpreted as django.forms.CharField.

TextArea (Free Response, Box)

A django.forms.CharField with a django.forms.Textarea widget used to collect longer form text input.


formly ships with some stock templates that are based on pinax-theme-bootstrap and django-forms-bootstrap. You are not required to use these of course and in case you are rolling your own templates, here is what the views in formly expect.


Context: form, choice, page

Extends: formly/design/survey_edit_base.html

Provides the ability to update the values for a particular choice for a choice field.


Context: form, field

Extends: site_base.html

Rendered to supply a delete confirmation form for field deletion.


Context: form, field, page, field_choice_form

Extends: formly/design/survey_edit_base.html

Rendered for a user interface to update a field.


Context: form, fieldchoice

Extends: site_base.html

Rendered to supply a delete confirmation form for field choice deletion.


Context: form, page

Extends: site_base.html

Rendered to supply a delete confirmation form for page deletion.


Context: form, page, field_form

Extends: formly/design/survey_edit_base.html

Displays the user interface for updating a page object.


Context: form, survey

Extends: site_base.html

Rendered to supply a delete confirmation form for survey deletion.


Context: survey

Extends: site_base.html

Displays the detail for a survey.


Context: page

Extends: subnav_base.html

Extended By: formly/design/choice_form.html, formly/design/field_form.html, formly/design/page_form.html

A base template to provide common sub-navigation.


Context: form

Extends: site_base.html

Contains the creation form for creating a new survey object.


Context: unpublished_surveys, published_surveys

Extends: site_base.html

This template receives all surveys in the system split between two context objects, one for published surveys and the other for unpublished surveys.


Context: survey

Extends: site_base.html

Displays the results of a given survey.


Context: form, page

Extends: site_base.html

Rendered for the end user to complete a particular survey. Always rendered with the appropriate page for the user.


Context: field, unmapped_answers, answer_string

Extends: site_base.html

Allows the end user to "remap" answers for a MULTI_TEXT field, e.g.

# User A's answers to the question,
# "What are your favorite Central City establishments?"

Big Belly Burger
Star Labs

# Answers for User B

Big Belty Burger
STAR labs
Palmer Technologies

Passing Big Belly Burger as the answer_string URL argument would allow the end user to map Big Belty Burger as an answer to Big Belly Burger.


Context: field

This modified django-bootstrap-form template renders the various field types, including special handling for Likert and Rating fields.


formly ships with an auth backend that by default, when added to your AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS setting will segment the create, edit, delete and results viewing based on request.user being the Survey.creator.

You can override this by writing your own auth backend and using in it's place.

The permission labels used are as follows:


User can see the list of published and unpublished surveys.


User can create a survey.


User can view the survey's detail. The survey object in question is passed to the has_perm method of the auth backend.


User can change the survey's name. The survey object in question is passed to the has_perm method of the auth backend.


User can publish the survey. The survey object in question is passed to the has_perm method of the auth backend.


User can duplicate the survey. The survey object in question is passed to the has_perm method of the auth backend.


User can edit the survey. The survey object in question is passed to the has_perm method of the auth backend.


User can view the survey's results. The survey object in question is passed to the has_perm method of the auth backend.


User can delete the object in question. The object will be either a Survey, Page, Field, or a FieldChoice.


Callbacks are a way to provide functionality to formly that requires some runtime decision making instead of just a setting. They are callables defined in and ship some sane defaults.


Default: formly.callbacks.survey_complete_redirect

Arguments: survey

Expected Return: a url that will be passed to redirect()

Change Log




  • Add the ability to remap MULTIPLE_TEXT answers
  • Introduce FORMLY_TEST_ARGS pattern to run a restricted version of the test suite

Backwards Incompatible Changes Previously, answers stored in FieldResult.answer for Fields with the MULTIPLE_TEXT field_type were getting serialized to JSON twice.

This release fixes this by:

  • Removing extra serialization/de-serialization from the compress and decompress methods in the form field / widget
  • Running a data migration that removes the double serialization for existing entries


  • Add Django v1.11, 2.0 support
  • Drop Django 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, and Python 3.3 support
  • Add URL namespacing (i.e. urlname "formly_survey_results" is now "formly:survey_results") Backwards Incompatible
  • Rename URL names, removing "dt_" and "rt_" prefixes Backwards incompatible
  • Move documentation into README and standardize layout
  • Convert CI and coverage to CircleCi and CodeCov
  • Add PyPi-compatible long description
  • Add migration checking to test suite


  • fix bug where widget instances were passed instead of widget classes (#34)


  • add hookset to support customizing available field type choices when designing a survey


  • fix field mapping bug (#30)
  • improve output of MultipleTextField widget (#20)


  • fix broken migrations from 0.11.0


  • add support for Rating field


  • fix app to work with a custom user module
  • add missing migration for formly.Field


  • fix Field.form_field() bug when Likert field has no choices


  • add Likert-style field widget and presentation


  • make label and help_text textfields


  • changed field label descriptions to be more suitable for less technical audiences
  • made compatible with Django > 1.5
  • drop unique constraint on field label


  • made urls Django 1.5 compatible
  • add maximum_choices field
  • drop unique constraint on field label


  • fixed multiple choice field
  • added survey to context


  • fixed serialization bug, note this is a backwards incompatible change if you have previously stored results


  • added authorization checks for all the views


  • added ability to control redirection at the end of a survey


  • added ability to change the ordering of fields on a page


  • initial release


Copyright (c) 2012-2018 Patrick Altman and contributors under the BSD license.