How To Create Views for Django Web Development
If you’ve followed along with our Django Development series, you’ve successfully created a Django application that allows users with admin privileges to add comments and posts via Django’s admin UI dashboard. You’ve also set up data persistence by leveraging MySQL and Django’s object-relational mapping solution models.
In this tutorial, we will create Django views that enable our web application to properly handle web requests and return the required web responses. As defined in the Django docs, a web response can be the HTML content of a Web page, a redirect, or an HTTP error (e.g.
404). The code for the view functions can technically live anywhere in your project, as long as it’s on your Python path. However, there are some popular conventions for naming and placing the file in which these view functions exist, and we will be following these practices.
Once you are finished going through the steps of this tutorial, your Django blog site will pull a recent post into the
This tutorial is part of the Django Development series and is a continuation of that series.
If you have not followed along with this series, we are making the following assumptions:
- You have Django version 3 or higher installed.
- You have connected your Django app to a database. We are using MySQL, and you can achieve this connection by following part two of the Django series, “How To Create a Django App and Connect it to a Database.”
- You are working with a Unix-based operating system, preferably an Ubuntu 20.04 cloud server as this is the system we have tested on. If you would like to set up Django on a similar environment, please refer to our tutorial, “How To Install Django and Set Up a Development Environment on Ubuntu 20.04.
- You have set up your Django Admin Interface. You can accomplish this by following our Django Admin tutorial.
As this guide is primarily dealing with Django Views, you may be able to follow along even if you have a somewhat different setup.
Step 1 — Create View Functions
Within your terminal, you first need to move into the relevant directory and activate your Python virtual environment. If you have been following along with this series, you can enter the commands below. It is important to always use a Python programming environment when you are developing your app to ensure that your code is contained and you are working with the right setup.
- cd ~/my_blog_app
- . env/bin/activate
Now that your virtual environment is activated, let’s navigate to the
blogsite directory where we will open up a Python file and create our first view function.
- cd ~/my_blog_app/blog/blogsite
views.py file for editing, using nano or the text editor of your choice.
- nano views.py
Upon opening the file, it should be populated with code similar to this:
from django.shortcuts import render # Create your views here.
We will keep the import statement that imports the
render() function from the
django.shortcuts library. The
render() function allows us to combine both a template and a context so that we can return the appropriate
HttpResponse object. Keep this in mind because with every view we write, we are responsible for instantiating, populating, and returning an
Next we’ll add our first view that will welcome users to the index page. We’ll import the
HttpResponse() function from the Django
http library. Using that function, we’ll pass in text to be displayed when the webpage is requested.
from django.shortcuts import render from django.http import HttpResponse def index(request): return HttpResponse('Hello, welcome to the index page.')
Following that, we’ll add one more function that will display the individual post we’re going to create later in the tutorial.
... def individual_post(request): return HttpResponse('Hi, this is where an individual post will be.')
views.py file will now be as follows.
from django.http import HttpResponse from django.shortcuts import render def index(request): return HttpResponse('Hello, welcome to the index page.') def individual_post(request): return HttpResponse('Hi, this is where an individual post will be.')
When you are finished editing the file, be sure to save and exit. In nano, you can press
Right now, there is no designated URL that these functions are pointing to, so we’ll have to add that to our
urlpatterns block within our URL configuration file. With the views added, let’s move on to mapping URLs to them via this configuration file so that we can view the pages we’ve created.
Step 2 — Map URLs to Views
With Django, we can design our own URLs to use with our app. This is done in pure Python by using a file commonly referred to as your URLconf or “URL configuration” file.
In order for the web page to be displayed, Django first has to determine the root
URLconf module to use, then proceeds to look for
urlpatterns, a list data structure containing all of the URL patterns. Django then goes through each URL pattern until it finds the first one that matches. Once a match is found, Django finds the associated view, and that view function will receive data pertaining to the URL pattern and an
HttpRequest object. If there is a failure at any point throughout this process, an error-handling view is shown instead.
In this section, we’ll be working with two different
urls.py files in two different directories of our app.
While in the
~/my_blog_app/blog/blogsite directory, open the
urls.py file — also known as your URLconf file — for editing. We’ll use nano here to edit the file.
- nano urls.py
Change the file so that it is the same as the file below, with the
from django.urls import path from . import views urlpatterns = [ path('', views.index, name='index'), path('post/', views.individual_post, name='individual_post') ]
When you are finished adding the above lines, save and close the file.
Once we’ve updated the
blogsite directory’s URLconf file, we’ll include it in the
blog directory’s URLconf or else it won’t be recognized. We need to do this because it is set as the
ROOT_URLCONF in our settings file. This means that Django is looking at the
blog directory’s URLconf for
To include our
blogsite URLconf within our
blog URLconf, we’ll need to navigate to that directory.
- cd ~/my_blog_app/blog/blog
Once you are there, you can open the URLconf file with nano or another text editor of your choice.
- nano urls.py
Within this file, we’ll add the following lines to include the
/blogsite/urls.py file we have just worked with, which is indicated in the second line.
from django.contrib import admin from django.urls import include, path urlpatterns = [ path('admin/', admin.site.urls), path('', include('blogsite.urls')) ]
Save and close the file.
Now let’s open a web browser in order to navigate to the URLs we’ve created and verify that they display the text we’ve added to the views. We’ll need to move into the parent directory to access the
manage.py file that serves the Django app.
- cd ..
Issue the following command. You can replace
0.0.0.0 with your IP address below.
- python manage.py runserver 0.0.0.0:8000
Within your web browser, navigate to your IP address, port 8000:
You will receive a webpage similar to the following:
Next, navigate to the following URL:
From here, the following webpage should be displayed:
We have now verified that the two
urls.py files work, and the data shows us exactly what we’d expect. With this working, let’s add some real data into our blog.
Step 3 — Create a Blogpost
Now that you understand the fundamentals of how URL patterns and views work, let’s add a blog post and get that to display on the webpage instead of the text we’ve hardcoded into the Python files.
We’ll create a post through the admin page we’ve previously set up. With your server serving the Django app, use a web browser to navigate to the admin
Blogsite page at:
In the interface, click the
+ Add link located in the
Posts row to start populating the database with an example blog post.
Upon clicking the link, you’ll receive an input form like this:
Whenever you want to add a post, you’ll go to this page to do so. Alternatively, you can edit posts with the
In the form, you’ll be able to edit the following fields:
||Add your desired blog post title here, for example
||This refers to the part of a URL which identifies a valid web address element with human-readable keywords. This is generally derived from the title of the page, so in this case we can use
||This is the body of your blog post. We will just be adding
||In this field, add your relevant name or username. We will use
Fill out the blog post form as you see fit for your testing purposes.
Once you have added example data into the page, click the
SAVE button. You’ll receive the following confirmation page:
Congratulations! You’ve created your first blog post!
Next, let’s verify that it has added a row to the MySQL database that contains the data we just entered into the admin interface.
Step 4 — Display Database Data
At this point, we need to move into MySQL, so stop the current server process via the terminal by typing
CTRL + C, then open up your MySQL interpreter. Our user for our Django app’s database is
djangouser, but be sure to use the right user for your project.
- mysql -u djangouser
Once you’re in the MySQL prompt, move into the
blog_data database (or the database that is correct for your project):
- use blog_data;
Then display the contents of the
- select * from blogsite_post;
You’ll receive output similar to the following, which should display the information you added into the admin user interface.
Output+----+--------------------+--------------------+---------------+----------------------------+--------+ | id | title | slug | content | created_on | author | +----+--------------------+--------------------+---------------+----------------------------+--------+ | 1 | My First Blog Post | my-first-blog-post | Hello, World! | 2020-05-14 00:30:03.186564 | Sammy | +----+--------------------+--------------------+---------------+----------------------------+--------+ 1 row in set (0.00 sec)
As shown in the output, there’s a row with the data for the post we’ve added. Let’s now reference this data into the view function for posts. Use
CTRL + D to exit the MySQL interpreter.
Navigate to the location of the
views.py file inside of your
- cd ~/my_blog_app/blog/blogsite
Now open the file so that we can include our new data.
- nano views.py
Edit the file to be the same as the file below.
from django.shortcuts import render from django.http import HttpResponse from .models import Post def index(request): return HttpResponse('Hello, welcome to the index page.') def individual_post(request): recent_post = Post.objects.get(id__exact=1) return HttpResponse(recent_post.title + ': ' + recent_post.content)
In the code above, we added an additional
import statement for
Post. We also removed the quoted string from the
HttpResponse and replaced it with the data from our blog post. To reference data for a particular object, we’re using the blog post ID associated with the object we’d like to show, and we’re storing that ID in a variable called
recent_post. We can then get particular fields of that object by appending the field with a period separator.
Once you have saved and closed the file, navigate to the location of the
manage.py file to run the Django app.
- cd ~/my_blog_app/blog
- python manage.py runserver 0.0.0.0:8000
From a web browser, navigate to the following address:
Here, we’ll see the changes we have made; the page will be similar to this, displaying the text you added to the post.
When you’re finished inspecting the page, press
CTRL + C in the terminal to stop the process from running.
To deactivate your programming environment, you can type the
deactivate command and then exit the server.
In this tutorial we have created views, mapped URL patterns, and displayed text on a web page from our blog post database.
The next tutorial will cover how to actually make this more aesthetically pleasing by using HTML to create Django templates. So far, this series has covered Django models and Django views. Templates are the last crucial part when it comes to the foundation of your Django application.