Overriding a Widget in the Django Admin Site

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5th, 2008 by varikin

In an app I am creating in Django, I decided I want to be able to format some text. There are several ways I could do this: allow all HTML, some HTML, or some other markup syntax. I decided I don’t want HTML for security reasons, either all or just a subset. So I decided to go with another markup syntax. I am looking at both Markdown and Textile. To make this work, I want an “editor” because I will never remember all the syntax.

The big part is then getting the editor incorporated into the Django admin site. It took some work, several tries, and some pure luck but in the end I am happy with the results.

First, I chose the markItUp! editor because it looks nice, it is a jQuery plugin (I am alreay using jQuery), and it is not tied to any markup syntax. To use this editor, I needed to configure Django to use a different widget than the normal textarea widget for my model. I found this post and followed its directions. I worked great, but just didn’t feel right. Then by pure chance I found that you can specify which form to use for the ModelAdmin. To do this, I created a widget, MarkItUpWidget:

class MarkItUpWidget(forms.Textarea):
    class Media:
        js = (
        css = {
            'screen': (

The widget subclasses Textarea and includes the JavaScript and CSS files needed for MarkItUp plus a JavaScript file, markItUp_init.js, that initilizes MarkItUp:

$(document).ready(function()    {

Then a ModelForm, PostAdminForm is needed that uses the MarkItUpWidget:

class PostAdminForm(forms.ModelForm):
    raw_body = forms.CharField(widget=MarkItUpWidget())

    class Meta:
        model = Post

PostAdminForm uses the Post model and specifies the MarkItUpWidget for raw_body, a model attribute on the Post model which will holds the unprocessed markup text. The last thing is setting the form for the PostAdmin and registering it.

class PostAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
	form = PostAdminForm

admin.site.register(Post, PostAdmin)

After all this, here is what the admin site looks like for the Post.

MarkItUp in Django Admin

The top text area is for the input. The toolbar is added automatically by MarkItUp. The check mark on the toolbar generates a preview of the marked up text which MarkItUp automatically places in the box below.

Then the plain text (top area) is send to Django when saved. I have some server side hooks to process the save and preview, but I will get to that in another post.

There are still some issues being worked out, like the fact that the links are not working (notice the non-blue and non-underlined word “link” in the preview), but that is probably something with my server side processing.

The Django documentation tells how to do each bit of this, but doesn’t show to how put it all together, so it took a while and luck to randomly find the right parts (like setting form in PostAdmin). I am just happy there such a nice simple way to accomplish this. Also, any custom widget could be added to the admin change/add page like this, not just the markItUp! widget for text areas.  The main thing getting the custom widget class setup the way you need it.

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Django 1.0 is out in the wild!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4th, 2008 by varikin

I have been closely following Django as it nears the 1.0 release.  I have been using Django for about 6 months now.  It is the first framework that I have actually grokked.  Before Django, I never understood the idea of frameworks.  I don’t know if Django is the best, but since I really like Python, it suits me.

Also, my favorite changeset is #8862 because I wrote the patch used and I was thanked in the commit message.  It makes me happy:)

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Debugging Django

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1st, 2008 by varikin

I have been wondering good ways to debug Django and stumbled across this, Debugging Django.  It is great!

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Posted in Uncategorized on July 29th, 2008 by varikin

I have recently been working on a new website for my wife, www.jesleephotos.com.  It is currently a Joomla site, which I originally liked, but then I wanted to upgrade.  Which meant rewriting some customizations.  It was a long tedious thing.  Then I started learning Django, and decided to completely write a new site for her in Django.  So far it is going great, but it is taking time.

The thing I like about Django is complicated piece I think I need to do turns out to be a simple bit if Django.  The ORM is great, the templates have almost everything I need, and the automatic admin site is a blessing!  Why bother writing and designing my own admin section when it can be given to me for free.  I need to override some bits of it, but the bulks done.  That way I can concentrate on the main part of the site.

I have fallen for Django.

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