Send multiple forms with Ajax (FormData) in Django

In this article, I am going to show you how to send multiple forms in Django using Ajax and FormData. Normally, it’s also possible to send forms only with Ajax by defining data inside the function.

Send multiple forms with Ajax (FormData) in Django
Send multiple forms with Ajax (FormData) in Django

In this article, we' how to send multiple forms in Django using Ajax and FormData interface. Normally, it’s also possible to send forms only with Ajax by defining data inside the function. However, FormData interface provides a way to easily construct a set of key-value pairs representing form fields and their values, which can then be easily sent.

Let’s start by creating our Django project named mysite then create an app inside it named core.

django-admin startproject mysite
cd mysite
django-admin startapp core

We are going to use images in our project, so we have to configure settings.py in order to serve static and media files and display templates. Update the TEMPLATES configuration like below:

TEMPLATES = [
    {
        'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
        'DIRS': [os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')],
        'APP_DIRS': True,
        'OPTIONS': {
            'context_processors': [
                'django.template.context_processors.debug',
                'django.template.context_processors.request',
                'django.contrib.auth.context_processors.auth',
                'django.contrib.messages.context_processors.messages',
            ],
        },
    },
]

Now, we should add static and media files configurations at the end of settings.py:

STATIC_URL = '/static/'
STATICFILES_DIRS = [
    os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static'),
]
STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static_root')
 
 
MEDIA_URL = '/media/'
MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'media')

Next, we need to add our models. Let's keep it very simple by adding few fields - title, description, and image:

models.py

from django.db import models

class Post(models.Model):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    description = models.TextField()
    image = models.FileField(blank=True)

    def __str__(self):
        return self.title

Then, we need to create migrations to apply the changes at the database level:

python manage.py makemigrations core
python manage.py migrate

Once it’s completed, we are going to create a view to show created posts:

views.py

from .models import Post

def blog_view(request):
    posts = Post.objects.all().order_by('-id')
    return render(request, 'blog.html', {'posts':posts})

Next, we need to define a URL path in order to display our web page in the browser:

urls.py

from django.contrib import admin
from django.urls import path
from core.views import blog_view
urlpatterns = [
    path('admin/', admin.site.urls),
    path('', blog_view, name='blog'),
]

After that, add a new folder named templates in the root level of the project to store our template files. Inside it, add two new files named base.html and blog.html:

base.html

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.4.1/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-Vkoo8x4CGsO3+Hhxv8T/Q5PaXtkKtu6ug5TOeNV6gBiFeWPGFN9MuhOf23Q9Ifjh" crossorigin="anonymous">
    <title>Multi-Image Tutorial</title>
</head>
<body>
    <div class="container py-4">
        <h3><a href="{% url 'blog' %}"> >>Blog </a></h3>
        <h3 class="mb-5"><a href="{% url 'create-post' %}"> >>Create a post </a></h3>
        {% block content %}
        {% endblock %}
    </div>
        <script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/popper.js@1.16.0/dist/umd/popper.min.js" integrity="sha384-Q6E9RHvbIyZFJoft+2mJbHaEWldlvI9IOYy5n3zV9zzTtmI3UksdQRVvoxMfooAo" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>
        <script src="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.4.1/js/bootstrap.min.js" integrity="sha384-wfSDF2E50Y2D1uUdj0O3uMBJnjuUD4Ih7YwaYd1iqfktj0Uod8GCExl3Og8ifwB6" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>        
</body>
</html>

blog.html

{% extends 'base.html' %}

{% block content %}
<div class="row row-cols-1 row-cols-md-2">
    {% for post in posts %}
    <div class="col mb-4">
      <div class="card">
        <div class="view overlay">
          <img class="card-img-top" src="{{post.image.url}}" alt="">
          <a href="#!">
            <div class="mask rgba-white-slight"></div>
          </a>
        </div>
        <div class="card-body">
          <h4 class="card-title">{{post.title}}</h4>
          <p class="card-text">{{post.description}}</p>
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
    {% endfor %}
  </div>
{% endblock %}

Now, that we have a blog template ready to show posts, it’s time to add a new function to handle post creation with Ajax.

FormData and AJAX

FormData is basically a data structure that can be used to store key-value pairs. It’s designed for holding forms data and you can use it with JavaScript to build an object that corresponds to an HTML form. In our case, we will store our form values and pass them into ajax, and then ajax will make a POST request to Django back-end.

Now, create a new HTML file named create-post.html in the templates directory and add the following code snippet below:

create-post.html

{% extends 'base.html' %}

{% block content %}
<form>
    <div class="form-group">
      <label>Title</label>
      <input type="text" class="form-control" id="title" placeholder="Enter title">
    </div>
    <div class="form-group">
      <label>Description</label>
      <textarea id="description" class="form-control" placeholder="Enter description"></textarea>
    </div>
    <div class="form-group">
        <label>Upload Image</label>
        <input type="file" id="image" class="form-control-file">
    </div>
    <button type="button" id="submit" class="btn btn-primary">Submit</button>
  </form>
  <script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.5.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
  <script>
    var formData = new FormData();
   
      $(document).on('click', '#submit', function(e) {
        formData.append('title', $('#title').val())
        formData.append('description', $('#description').val())
        formData.append('image',  $('#image')[0].files[0])
        formData.append('action', 'create-post')
        formData.append('csrfmiddlewaretoken', '{{ csrf_token }}')
          $.ajax({
              type: 'POST',
              url: '{% url "create-post" %}',
              data: formData,
              cache: false,
              processData: false,
              contentType: false,
              enctype: 'multipart/form-data',
              success: function (){
                  alert('The post has been created!')
              },
              error: function(xhr, errmsg, err) {
                  console.log(xhr.status + ":" + xhr.responseText)
              }
          })
      })
</script>
{% endblock %}

As you can see in the <script> part, first we are creating a FormData object and then using append() method to append a key-value pair to the object. You can change the key name whatever you want but let's keep it the same as the field names for now because we will use them later to fetch data in Django views. You can see I am using the field id to get the right fields and the values are fetched by using val() method.

The image is file input so we can’t get the file just using val() method.  The file input stores list of files and since we are uploading only one file, we can get it from the first position of the list.

At the beginning of this tutorial, we said that we want to send multiple forms from a single view, and to achieve that we must define an extra field just to separate  POST requests in the back-end. I created a new key-value pair named action and the value is create-post. Once a POST request has been sent to the views, it will fetch the action field, and if it create-post then a new object will be created. You can add how many forms you want but keep in mind that you have to define an extra field to separate these forms.

Finally, we appended csrfmiddlewaretoken to avoid 403 forbidden when the POST request has been made.

In the ajax function, instead of defining each field manually, we are passing FormData directly into the data property.

It’s imperative to set the contentType option to false, forcing jQuery not to add a Content-Type header for you, otherwise, the boundary string will be missing from it. Also, you must leave the processData flag set to false, otherwise, jQuery will try to convert your FormData into a string, which will fail. Because we are sending images the enctype must be multipart/form-data so our image file will be encoded.

Great! Now, let’s switch to our views.py and fetch all these data in order to create a new post object:

views.py

from django.shortcuts import render
from .models import Post

def blog_view(request):
    posts = Post.objects.all().order_by('-id')
    return render(request, 'blog.html', {'posts':posts})

def create_post_view(request):
    if request.POST.get('action') == 'create-post':
        title = request.POST.get('title')
        description = request.POST.get('description')
        image = request.FILES.get('image') # request.FILES used for to get files

        Post.objects.create(
            title=title,
            description=description,
            image=image
        )

    return render(request, 'create-post.html')

Simply, we are getting the data by its key name and then using in create() method to create a new object in the database. In the if statement we checked the action name, so if the action name is create-post then the object will be created.

Finally, let’s update urls.py by adding a new path:

urls.py

from django.contrib import admin
from django.urls import path
from django.conf import settings 
from django.conf.urls.static import static 

from core.views import blog_view, create_post_view
urlpatterns = [
    path('admin/', admin.site.urls),
    path('', blog_view, name='blog'),
    path('create-post/',create_post_view, name='create-post')

] + static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT)

That’s all! Now, you can run the Django server and check the functionality. You can get the source code from my GitHub repository below:

GitHub - thepylot/django-ajax-formdata-tutorial: How to send multiple forms with Ajax (FormData) in Django Tutorial
How to send multiple forms with Ajax (FormData) in Django Tutorial - GitHub - thepylot/django-ajax-formdata-tutorial: How to send multiple forms with Ajax (FormData) in Django Tutorial

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