Django Form rendering helper tags - DEPRECATED in favour of
Latest commit 22a6417 Apr 6, 2015 @funkybob Update notice


Build Status

Django Form rendering helper tags

NOTE: Formulation stops with Django 1.7

For continuing support please migrate to django-sniplates.


It's fairly well accepted, now, that having the form rendering decisions in your code is less than ideal.

However, most template-based solutions wind up being slow, because they rely on many templates.

Formulation works by defining all the widgets for your form in a single "widget template", and loading it once for the form.


You can install formulation using:

$ pip install formulation

You will need to add 'formulation' to your settings.INSTALLED_APPS.


First, write a template where each block is a way to render a field.

We'll start with a simple one, with one hardy, general purpose field block. Let's call it mytemplate.form:

{% load formulation %}

{% block basic %}
{% if label %}<label id="{{ id_for_label }}" for="{{ id }}">{{ label }}</label>{% endif %}
    type="{{ field_type|default:"text" }}"
    name="{{ html_name }}"
    id="{{ id }}"
    value="{{ value|default:"" }}"
    class="{{ css_classes }}"
    {{ required|yesno:"required," }}
    {{ widget.attrs|flat_attrs }}
{{ help_text }}
{% endblock %}

Then, in your own template:

{% load formulation %}

<form method="POST" ... >
{% form "mytemplate.form" %}
{% field "basic" %}
{% field form.baz "basic" type='email' %}
{% endform %}

You can think of the field tag as being like {% include %} but for blocks. However, it also adds many attributes from the form field into the context.

The following values are take from the BoundField:

  • css_classes
  • errors
  • field
  • form
  • help_text
  • html_name
  • id_for_label
  • label
  • name
  • value

And these from the Field itself:

  • choices
  • widget
  • required

Any extra keyword arguments you pass to the field tag will overwrite Field values of the same name.

{% form %}

The {% form %} tag loads the template, and puts its blocks in a dict in the context, called formulation. You typically won't access this directly, as it's raw BlockNode instances.

{% form "widgets/bootstrap.form" %}
{% endform %}

Template Inheritance

Widget templates are just normal templates, so {% extends %} still works as expected. This lets you define a base, common form template, and localised extensions where you need.

{% field %}

Each time you use the {% field %} tag, it renders the block specified.

It's easy to extend this to more complex field types:

{% block TypedChoiceField %}
{% if not nolabel %}
<label for="{{ id }}" {% if required %}class="required"{% endif %}> {{ label }} </label>
{% endif %}
<select name="{{ html_name }}" id="{{ id }}" {% if errors %}class="error"{% endif %}>
{% for option_value, option_label in choices %}
<option value="{{ option_value }}" {% if value == option_value %}selected="selected"{% endif %}>{{ option_label }}</option>
{% endfor %}
{{ help_text }}
{% endblock %}


If you omit the widget in the {% field %} tag, formulation will try to auto-detect the block to use. It does so by looking for the first block to match one of the following patterns:


Where 'field' is the form field class (e.g. CharField, ChoiceField, etc), 'widget' is the widget class name (e.g. NumberInput, DateTimeInput, etc) and 'name' is the name of the field.

If no block is found, a TemplateSyntaxError is raised.

{% use %}

You may have some chunks of templating that aren't fields, but are useful within the form. For these, write them as blocks in your xyz.form template, then use the {% use %} to include them:

# demo.html
{% form "demo.form" %}
{% use "actions" submit="Update" %}
{% endform %}

# demo.form
{% block actions %}
<div class="actions">
    <input type="submit" value="{{ submit|default:"Save" }}">
    <a href="/">Cancel</a>
{% endblock %}

It works just like include, but will use a block from the current widget template.


There is also the {% reuse %} template tag, which allows you to reuse any template block within the current template [as opposed to the form widget template] like a macro. Again, it follows the same syntax as the {% include %} tag:

{% load reuse %}
{% reuse "otherblock" foo=1 %}

You can also pass a list of block names to search; first found will be used.

Other uses

Formulation is not limited to forms and fields. There's no reason you can't also use it to abstract commonly used fragments of template code.

{% form "widgets.form" %}

{% use "framed-box" title="Some box!" %}


{% endform %}


  • kezabelle for the name
  • bradleyayers for ideas on supporting multiple fields. (now removed)
  • SmileyChris for the idea to "explode" fields into the context
  • jwa for major testing and bug hunting
  • schinkel for packaging help