Smart and easy-to-use breadcrumbs for Django
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Breadcrumbs for Django that are not going to eat your brains!

What’s that?

Breadcrumbs let users visiting your website see where exactly they are now and how to get back. That’s something like “Back” button but even more powerfull. Anyway, I suppose you came here because you are looking for breadcrumbs and you know why you need it.

Why did I start a new project? Well the answer is rather obvious: I needed breadcrumbs and couldn’t find a good enough solution (see bottom of this file).

Python 3

I think the codebase is compatible with Python 3 (at least I use it with Python 3), but I didn’t do any serious testing, so there might be broken codepaths. Please, please open an issue if something’s broken.

As a result of Python 3 compatibility, Django 1.6+ is required.

How to use


  1. Install django-headcrumbs using your favourite way of installing Django packages.
  2. Add 'headcrumbs.middleware.CrumbsMiddleware' to MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES in your
  3. Use TemplateResponse for the responses that include crumbs. (Actually, just always use it. It’s cool.)
  4. (Optional) Add 'headcrumbs' to INSTALLED_APPS variable in your It will be handy if you are going to use included template (see “Crumbs output” below).

Defining crumbs

I’m one of those strange people who believe that for each view you can say which one came before it. Imagine you are on a website and you are somewhere in Staff > Managers > John > more. Well, thanks to the trail left by the developer, you know that you are reading detailed bio of a manager whose name is John. It means that detailed view structurally comes after person view, which in turn comes after division view and so on.

You’ll be using headcrumbs.decorators.crumb decorator to describe this kind of relations between views.

from headcrumbs.decorators import crumb
from headcrumbs.util import name_from_pk

@crumb('Staff')  # This is the root crumb -- it doesn’t have a parent
def index(request):
    # In our example you’ll fetch the list of divisions (from a database)
    # and output it.

@crumb(name_from_pk(Division), parent=index)
def division(request, slug):
    # Here you find all employees from the given division
    # and list them.

The second node in our example path is “Managers” which is the name of a Division. It is something dynamic and can be determined only from the path we followed (e.g. from the Employee whose profile we are viewing). That’s why you see a helper function headcrumbs.util.name_from_pk there.

Now when, I hope, you got The General Idea you’ll want to look at the Full example. I advise you also to read docstrings, as they are really useful (at least I tried to make them useful).

Crumbs output

You have defined your website structure. Time to output that navigation bar with breadcrumbs! It’s going to be easy. Thanks to our cool middleware you get crumbs variable in your templates. It’s a list of dictionaries with 'text' and 'url' records each. Just iterate over it and you get your path! For your convenience there is a crumbs.html template included. It will output something like this:

<ul class="nav">
    <li><a href="/">Staff</a></li>
    <li><a href="/divisions/managers/">Managers</a></li>
    <li><a href="/people/3/">John</a></li>

Just style it properly and you get a pretty breadcrumbs bar. For example:

ul.nav {
    display: inline;
    padding-left: 0px;

ul.nav li {
    list-style-type: none;
    display: inline;

ul.nav li:before {
    content: "> ";

ul.nav li:first-child:before {
    content: none;

And you get something like this:

Resulting breadcrumbs example


Of course you can localise your crumbs but remember to use lazy versions of ugettext and friends!

from headcrumbs.decorators import crumb
from headcrumbs.util import name_from_pk
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

@crumb(_('Staff'))  # 'Staff' will be localized
def index(request):
    # And so on...

Appendix A. About the name

Ok, I admit, I’m not very good at thinking up names for projects.
But it seems to me that headcrumbs sounds at least funny =).

Appendix B. Other options

  • django-crumbs defines crumbs in templates which seems weird to me. Because, you know, templates are templates. They are used for different kind of things.
  • django-breadcrumbs is strange. Its request.breadcrumbs object does lots of things, but doesn’t do anything to help you in dealing with breadcrumbs. Maybe I just didn’t get something.
  • django-simplecrumbs is nearly perfect. Really. But in my opinion it’s a bit… hm… messy. Both in its interface and in source code.