Submitting data in Django

Making a service interactive implies allowing your users to receive and send information. We use GET requests to get a page and POST, PUT, DELETE requests to update data on the server-side.

It’s not a requirement, but a strong rule to follow. You can still make a valid application if you break this rule, but its behavior would be unexpected for its users and developers alike.

Let’s look closer at how we can exchange data and make the first POST and DELETE request handlers!

Query Parameters

Creating a wishlist is a simple method to do. Preferably, the service ought to permit clients to search wishes by keywords, make new wishes, and delete those that are not significant for them any longer.

We need the service to do quite a variety of activities, so how would you differentiate these different? Would their only distinctive component be their HTTP methods? Indeed, to start processing any request we should look at its method.

The URL for different types may stay the same while the action of the server would be different.

We use only a one URL for each user: <address of server>/<username>. If the hostname is “www.makeawish.happen” and the username is “Mymble”, the full address to Mymble’s wishlist will be “www.makeawish.happen/Mymble”.

To search, we would use a GET request. For instance, searching by keyword may look like www.makeawish.happen/Mymble?q=cake. We utilize a query string after the question mark to indicate the parameters and their values.

To access these values in a request handler, we can utilize the GET attribute of HttpRequest class. Query parameters are associated with GET requests so we can find them in this attribute.

The “q” parameter in the GET attribute would now be accessed as a key in a dictionary because this attribute is a QueryDict instance. QueryDict is a subclass of Python’s dictionary, yet the main difference is that QueryDict is immutable – that is, you can’t modify the user’s request, which makes sense.

Request Body

All requests have a body. Sometimes it’s empty, but for POST requests it’s filled with data. In these cases you can find what the client sent to the server in the POST attribute of HttpRequest class.

How does a client create the request body? You cannot find it in the URL, but you can pass it in an HTML form. Assume we have a form:

<form action="/Mymble" method="post">{% csrf_token %}
  <input name="wish">
  <button type="submit">Add a wish</button>

The “wish” parameter is stored in the POST attribute. This attribute is also a QueryDict instance, so use it as a usual dictionary; still, do not change anything in it, or else you will get an AttributeError exception.

Let us now move on to making a handler and processing a new wish.

We have only GET and POST attributes in the HttpRequest class. Even though we have other HTTP methods, there are no other attributes with their names in an instance of this class.

Post Request

Making a wish is the first step in bringing it to life. We use the POST handler to save a wish in the application; the signature of a method is similar to the GET handler. The lists are stored only in a static attribute of a class – let’s see an example:

from collections import defaultdict

from django.shortcuts import redirect
from django.views import View

class WishListView(View):
    wishlist = defaultdict(list)

    def post(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        author = request.user.username if request.user else 'Anonymous'
        wish = request.POST.get('wish')
        return redirect('/')

The wishes are grouped by the author; if a user is not authorized, their wish goes to the ‘Anonymous’ group. When a wish is saved, the handler redirects the client to the “/” page, which is usually the main page of the application. Redirection is a mechanism that prevents double sending of modification requests.

Assume the user sends data and refreshes the page the very next moment. Refreshing repeats the action and sends data again. It’s not a tragedy to save the wish twice, but how about spending the user’s money twice or thrice? Will the user like that? If a request is redirected, it’s not possible to repeat the previous action, so let’s play it safe here.

Django matches the HTTP method with the same-name method in a View class. With this type of inheritance, only the implemented methods are allowed in requests. We do not have a GET method for a given link and when a client tries to make this request, the answer will be “405 Method Not Allowed”.

Delete Request

Fleeting wishes come and go; and when they go, our user would probably want to remove them from the wishlist. The most appropriate method for this task is to DELETE.

We add the delete handler to the same class and use the same link for different requests. As we said, it’s valid to make requests with different HTTP methods to the same link, and the type of method defines which handler will process the request.

from collections import defaultdict

from django.shortcuts import redirect
from django.views import View

class WishListView(View):
    wishlist = defaultdict(list)

    def delete(self, request, wish, *args, **kwargs):
        author = request.user.username if request.user else 'Anonymous'
        if wish in self.wishlist[author]:
        return redirect('/')

    def post(self, request, *args, **kwargs):

We cannot use a POST attribute of an HttpRequest instance: it contains data only for POST requests, so we pass a wish in a query to define what to remove.

You can define the named parameters like one above with URL patterns.
In the end, the user is redirected again, but this time it’s not obligatory. Think about it: it’s impossible to delete the same object twice, so it’s safe to call this method several times in a row as the object is already removed after the first call. The property of an operation to be applied several times without changing the result beyond the initial call is called idempotence.

DELETE, PUT, GET methods are idempotent while POST is not.


If you didn’t make your wishlist yet, it might be interesting to do so, but you can also go ahead and make an entire wishlist service for you and other folks out there. You can customize the pages, implement all GET methods, and invite your friends to post their wishes and share them with the world (wide web).

Let’s try to solve the problem:

The service we’re creating is used for TODO lists. Implement the delete method for removing tasks.

The name of a task is passed in the query as a parameter todo. Remove this task from all_todos list if it’s present.

The response should be a redirection to the “/” page.

from django.shortcuts import redirect
from django.views import View

class TodoView(View):
    all_todos = []

    def delete(self, request, todo, *args, **kwargs):
        if todo in self.all_todos:
        return redirect('/')
        # else:
        #     raise Http404