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This library helps you to handle basic RESTful API use-cases with Django Forms fashion. Library kinda replaces django.forms.Form with django_api_forms.Form and introduces few extra fields (boolean handling, BASE64 images/files, nesting).

django_api_forms.Form defines the format of the request and help you with:

  • payload parsing (according to the Content-Type HTTP header)
  • data validation and normalisation (using Django validators or custom clean_ method)
  • BASE64 file/image upload
  • construction of the basic validation response
  • filling objects attributes (if possible, see exceptions) using setattr function (super handy for Django database models)


You can create form objects using class method Form.create_from_request(request: Request) -> Form which creates form instance from Django requests using appropriate parser from Content-Type HTTP header.

from tests.testapp.forms import AlbumForm

def my_view(request):
    form = AlbumForm.create_from_request(request)

Library by default keeps configuration for handling:

You can extend or override that behavior by setting the DJANGO_API_FORMS_PARSERS variable in your Default settings for such variables are listed in the Example documentation page.

During construction Form.dirty: List[str] property is populated with property keys presented in the obtained payload (dirty sluts!!).


You can use Meta class in specific Form class with optional dictionary type attribute mapping = {} which allows you to map JSON attributes to Form attributes:

JSON example

    "_name": "Queen",
    "formed": "1970",
    "has_award": true

Python representation

from django.forms import fields

from django_api_forms import BooleanField, Form

class BandForm(Form):
    class Meta:
        mapping = {
            '_name': 'name'

    name = fields.CharField(max_length=100)
    formed = fields.IntegerField()
    has_award = BooleanField()

Validation and normalisation

This process is much more simple than in classic Django form. It consists of:

  1. Iterating over form attributes:
    • calling Field.clean(value) method
    • calling Form.clean_<field_name> method
    • calling Form.add_error(field_name, error) in case of failures in clean methods
    • if field is marked as dirty, normalized attribute is saved to Form.clean_data property
  2. Calling Form.clean method which returns final normalized values which will be presented in Form.clean_data (feel free to override it, by default does nothing, useful for conditional validation, you can still add errors u sing Form.add_error())

Normalized data are available in Form.clean_data property (keys suppose to correspond with values from Form.dirty).

Validation errors are presented for each field in Form.errors: List[ValidationError] property after Form.is_valid() method is called.

As was mentioned above, you can extend property validation or normalisation by creating form method like clean_<property_name>. You can add additional ValidationError objects using Form.add_error(field: Union[str, Tuple], error: ValidationError) method. Result is final normalised value of the attribute.

from django.forms import fields
from django.core.exceptions import ValidationError
from django_api_forms import Form

class BookForm(Form):
    title = fields.CharField(max_length=100)
    year = fields.IntegerField()

    def clean_title(self):
        if self.cleaned_data['title'] == "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy":
            self.add_error('title', ValidationError("Too cool!", code='too-cool'))
        return self.cleaned_data['title'].upper()

    def clean(self):
        if self.cleaned_data['title'] == "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and self.cleaned_data['year'] < 1979:
            # Non field validation errors are present under key `$body` in Form.errors property
            raise ValidationError("Is it you Doctor?", code='time-travelling')

        # The last chance to do some touchy touchy with the self.clean_data

        return self.cleaned_data


Database relationships

Populate objects

IMPORTANT: Form fields FormField, FormFieldList, FileField and ImageField doesn't support this feature. You have to define populate_ method, if you want these fields populated.

Form object method MyForm.populate(obj: Any, exclude: List[str] = None) which fills input obj using setattr according to the form fields. Only data present in clean_data property (data from request) will be populated. You can use it like this:

from tests.testapp.forms import AlbumForm
from tests.testapp.models import Album

def my_view(request):
    form = AlbumForm.create_from_request(request)

    if not form.is_valid():
        # Raise validation error

    album = Album()

Population strategies

Library provides ability to change population strategy for each field using DJANGO_API_FORMS_POPULATION_STRATEGIES setting, or you can access settings directly form.settings.POPULATION_STRATEGIES. If there is no population strategy provided for field type, the DJANGO_API_FORMS_DEFAULT_POPULATION_STRATEGY is used. Default values are listed bellow:

    'django_api_forms.fields.FormFieldList': 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.IgnoreStrategy',
    'django_api_forms.fields.FileField': 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.IgnoreStrategy',
    'django_api_forms.fields.ImageField': 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.IgnoreStrategy',
    'django_api_forms.fields.FormField': 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.IgnoreStrategy',
    'django.forms.models.ModelMultipleChoiceField': 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.IgnoreStrategy',
    'django.forms.models.ModelChoiceField': 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.ModelChoiceFieldStrategy'

DJANGO_API_FORMS_DEFAULT_POPULATION_STRATEGY = 'django_api_forms.population_strategies.BaseStrategy'


Object property is populated using 1:1 mapping and setattr function.


If this strategy is used, the target object is kept untouched.


Field name is expected to have format like this: {field_name}(_{to_field_name})? so library is able to automatically resolve payload key postfix according to the to_field_name attribute. If there is no to_field_name provided, field name should be {field_name} or {field_name}_id. Normalised data are present in clean_data under key {field_name} (e.g. clean_data['{field_name}']).

Few examples (normalized data are in clean_data['artist'] in all use-cases):

from django.forms import ModelChoiceField
from django_api_forms import Form

from tests.testapp.models import Artist

class MyFormNoPostfix(Form):
    artist = ModelChoiceField(queryset=Artist.objects.all())

class MyFormFieldName(Form):
    artist_name = ModelChoiceField(
        queryset=Artist.objects.all(), to_field_name='name'

class MyFormWithId(Form):
    artist_id = ModelChoiceField(queryset=Artist.objects.all())


Creating custom strategy

You can create your own population strategy by inheriting BaseStrategy and overriding it's __call__(self, field, obj, key: str, value) method.

from django_api_forms.population_strategies import BaseStrategy

class ExampleStrategy(BaseStrategy):
    def __call__(self, field, obj, key: str, value):
        # Do your logic here
        setattr(obj, key, value)

Override strategy

You can override settings population strategies by creating your own population strategy in specific local From class using Meta class with optional attributes field_type_strategy = {} or field_strategy = {}: - field_type_strategy: Dictionary for overriding populate strategy on Form type attributes - field_strategy: Dictionary for overriding populate strategies on Form attributes

from django.forms import fields

from django_api_forms import BooleanField, Form

class BandForm(Form):
    class Meta:
        field_type_strategy = {
            'django_api_forms.fields.BooleanField': 'app.population_strategies.ExampleStrategy1'

        field_strategy = {
            'formed': 'app.population_strategies.ExampleStrategy2'

    name = fields.CharField(max_length=100)
    formed = fields.IntegerField()
    has_award = BooleanField()

Using populate_ method

If you want to override population strategy for explicit field, you can define custom populate_{field} method inside your form class:

from django.forms import fields

from django_api_forms import Form, FormField, EnumField, DictionaryField
from tests.testapp.models import Album, Artist
from tests.testapp.forms import ArtistForm

class AlbumForm(Form):
    title = fields.CharField(max_length=100)
    year = fields.IntegerField()
    artist = FormField(form=ArtistForm)
    type = EnumField(enum=Album.AlbumType, required=True)
    metadata = DictionaryField(fields.DateTimeField())

    def populate_year(self, obj, value: int) -> int:
        return 2020

    def populate_artist(self, obj, value: dict) -> Artist:
        artist = Artist.objects.get_or_create(
        artist.genres = value['genres']
        artist.members = value['members']
        return artist

File uploads