Chapter 14. A Simple Form

At the end of the last chapter, we were left with the thought that there was too much duplication of code in the validation handling bits of our views. Django encourages you to use form classes to do the work of validating user input, and choosing what error messages to display. Let’s see how that works.

As we go through the chapter, we’ll also spend a bit of time tidying up our unit tests, and making sure each of them tests only one thing at a time.

Moving Validation Logic into a Form


In Django, a complex view is a code smell. Could some of that logic be pushed out to a form? Or to some custom methods on the model class? Or maybe even to a non-Django module that represents your business logic?

Forms have several superpowers in Django:

  • They can process user input and validate it for errors.

  • They can be used in templates to render HTML input elements, and error messages too.

  • And, as we’ll see later, some of them can even save data to the database for you.

You don’t have to use all three form superpowers in every form. You may prefer to roll your own HTML, or do your own saving. But they are an excellent place to keep validation logic.

Exploring the Forms API with a Unit Test

Let’s do a little experimenting with forms by using a unit test. My plan is to iterate towards a complete solution, and hopefully introduce forms gradually enough that they’ll make sense if you’ve never seen them before.

First we add a new file for our form unit tests, ...

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