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Little helper application to improve django choices (for fields)
Branch: master


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A little application to improve Django choices

django-extended-choices aims to provide a better and more readable way of using choices in Django.


You can install directly via pip (since version 0.3):

$ pip install django-extended-choices

Or from the Github repository (master branch by default):

$ git clone git://
$ cd django-extended-choices
$ sudo python install


The aim is to replace this:


    (STATE_ONLINE,  'Online'),
    (STATE_DRAFT,   'Draft'),
    (STATE_OFFLINE, 'Offline'),


class Content(models.Model):
    title      = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    content    = models.TextField()
    state      = models.PositiveSmallIntegerField(choices=STATE_CHOICES, default=STATE_DRAFT)

    def __unicode__(self):
        return u'Content "%s" (state=%s)' % (self.title, STATE_DICT[self.state])


by this:

from extended_choices import Choices

STATES = Choices(
    ('ONLINE',  1, 'Online'),
    ('DRAFT',   2, 'Draft'),
    ('OFFLINE', 3, 'Offline'),

class Content(models.Model):
    title      = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    content    = models.TextField()
    state      = models.PositiveSmallIntegerField(choices=STATES, default=STATES.DRAFT)

    def __unicode__(self):
        return u'Content "%s" (state=%s)' % (self.title, STATES.for_value(self.state).display)


As you can see there is only one declaration for all states with, for each state, in order:

  • the pseudo-constant name which can be used (STATES.ONLINE replaces the previous STATE_ONLINE)
  • the value to use in the database - which could equally be a string
  • the name to be displayed - and you can wrap the text in ugettext_lazy() if you need i18n

And then, you can use:

  • STATES, or STATES.choices, to use with choices= in fields declarations
  • STATES.for_constant(constant), to get the choice entry from the constant name
  • STATES.for_value(constant), to get the choice entry from the key used in database
  • STATES.for_display(constant), to get the choice entry from the displayable value (can be useful in some case)

Each choice entry obtained by for_constant, for_value and for_display return a tuple as given to the Choices constructor, but with additional attributes:

>>> entry = STATES.for_constant('ONLINE')
>>> entry == ('ONLINE', 1, 'Online')
>>> entry.constant
>>> entry.value
>>> entry.display

These attributes are chainable (with a weird example to see chainability):

>>> entry.constant.value
>>> entry.constant.value.value.display.constant.display

To allow this, we had to remove support for None values. Use empty strings instead.

Note that constants can be accessed via a dict key (STATES['ONLINE'] for example) if you want to fight your IDE that may warn you about undefined attributes.

You can check whether a value is in a Choices object directly:

>>> 1 in STATES
>>> 42 in STATES

You can even iterate on a Choices objects to get choices as seen by Django:

>>> for choice in STATES:
...     print(choice)
(1, 'Online')
(2, 'Draf')
(3, 'Offline')

To get all choice entries as given to the Choices object, you can use the entries attribute:

>>> for choice_entry in STATES.entries:
...     print(choice_entry)
('ONLINE',  1, 'Online'),
('DRAFT',   2, 'Draft'),
('OFFLINE', 3, 'Offline'),

Or the following dicts, using constants, values or display names, as keys, and the matching choice entry as values:

  • STATES.constants
  • STATES.values
  • STATES.displays
>>> STATES.constants['ONLINE'] is STATES.for_constant('ONLINE')
>>> STATES.values[2] is STATES.for_value(2)
>>> STATES.displays['Offline'] is STATES.for_display('Offline')

If you want these dicts to be ordered, you can pass the dict class to use to the Choices constructor:

from collections import OrderedDict
STATES = Choices(
    ('ONLINE',  1, 'Online'),
    ('DRAFT',   2, 'Draft'),
    ('OFFLINE', 3, 'Offline'),
    dict_class = OrderedDict

You can check if a constant, value, or display name exists:

>>> STATES.has_constant('ONLINE')
>>> STATES.has_value(1)
>>> STATES.has_display('Online')

You can create subsets of choices within the same Choices instance:

>>> STATES.add_subset('NOT_ONLINE', ('DRAFT', 'OFFLINE',))
(2, 'Draft')
(3, 'Offline')

Now, STATES.NOT_ONLINE is a real Choices instance, with a subset of the main STATES constants.

You can use it to generate choices for when you only want a subset of choices available:

offline_state = models.PositiveSmallIntegerField(

As the subset is a real Choices instance, you have the same attributes and methods:

>>> STATES.NOT_ONLINE.for_constant('OFFLINE').value
>>> STATES.NOT_ONLINE.for_value(1).constant
Traceback (most recent call last):
KeyError: 3
>>> list(STATES.NOT_ONLINE.constants.keys())
>>> STATES.NOT_ONLINE.has_display('Online')

You can create as many subsets as you want, reusing the same constants if needed:


If you want to check membership in a subset you could do:

def is_online(self):
    # it's an example, we could have just tested with STATES.ONLINE
    return self.state not in STATES.NOT_ONLINE_DICT

You can add choice entries in many steps using add_choices, possibly creating subsets at the same time.

To construct the same Choices as before, we could have done:

STATES = Choices()
    ('ONLINE', 1, 'Online)
    ('DRAFT',   2, 'Draft'),
    ('OFFLINE', 3, 'Offline'),

You can also pass the argument to the Choices constructor to create a subset with all the choices entries added at the same time (it will call add_choices with the name and the entries)


  • You also have a very basic field (NamedExtendedChoiceFormField`) in extended_choices.fields which accept constant names instead of values
  • Feel free to read the source to learn more about this little Django app.
  • You can declare your choices where you want. My usage is in the file, just before the class declaration.


The version 1.0 provides a totally new API, but stays fully compatible with the previous one (0.4.1). So it adds a lot of attributes in each Choices instance:


(And 4 more for each subset)

If you don't want it, simply set the argument retro_compatibility to False when creating a Choices instance:

STATES = Choices(
    ('ONLINE',  1, 'Online'),
    ('DRAFT',   2, 'Draft'),
    ('OFFLINE', 3, 'Offline'),

This flag is currently True by default, and it will not be changed for at least 6 months counting from the publication of this version 1.0 (1st of May, 2015, so until the 1st of November, 2015, AT LEAST, the compatibility will be on by default).

Then, the flag will stay but will be off by default. To keep compatibility, you'll have to pass the retro_compatibility argument and set it to True.

Then, after another period of 6 months minimum, the flag and all the retro_compatibility code will be removed (so not before 1st of May, 2016).

Note that you can use a specific version by pinning it in your requirements.

The only exception to these rules, it's the support of Django 1.4 that was removed in version 1.0.3 due to some incompatibility problems with ugettext_lazy.

Also, the support of None values was removed, raising a ValueError telling the user to instead use an empty string.


Available under the BSD License. See the LICENSE file included

Python 3?

Of course! We support python 2.6, 2.7, 3.3 and 3.4, for Django version 1.5.x to 1.8.x, respecting the Django matrix (except for python 2.5 and 3.2 which are not supported by django-extended-choices)


To run tests from the code source, create a virtualenv or activate one, install Django, then:

python -m extended_choices.tests

We also provides some quick doctests in the code documentation. To execute them:

python -m extended_choices.choices

Source code

The source code is available on Github.


If you want to participate in the development of this library, you'll need Django installed in your virtualenv. If you don't have it, simply run:

pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

Don't forget to run the tests ;)

Feel free to propose a pull request on Github!

A few minutes after your pull request, tests will be executed on TravisCi for all the versions of python and Django we support.


You can find the documentation on ReadTheDoc_

To update the documentation, you'll need some tools:

pip install -r requirements-makedoc.txt

Then go to the docs directory, and run:

make html


Written by Stephane "Twidi" Angel <> (, originally for

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