1. Luke Plant
  2. django


django / docs / request_response.txt

Request and response objects

Quick overview

Django uses request and response objects to pass state through the system.

When a page is requested, Django creates an ``HttpRequest`` object that
contains metadata about the request. Then Django loads the appropriate view,
passing the ``HttpRequest`` as the first argument to the view function. Each
view is responsible for returning an ``HttpResponse`` object.

This document explains the APIs for ``HttpRequest`` and ``HttpResponse``

HttpRequest objects


All attributes except ``session`` should be considered read-only.

    A string representing the full path to the requested page, not including
    the domain.

    Example: ``"/music/bands/the_beatles/"``

    A dictionary-like object containing all given HTTP GET parameters. See the
    ``MultiValueDict`` documentation below.

    A dictionary-like object containing all given HTTP POST parameters. See the
    ``MultiValueDict`` documentation below.

    For convenience, a dictionary-like object that searches ``POST`` first,
    then ``GET``. Inspired by PHP's ``$_REQUEST``.

    For example, if ``GET = {"name": "john"}`` and ``POST = {"age": '34'}``,
    ``REQUEST["name"]`` would be ``"john"``, and ``REQUEST["age"]`` would be

    It's strongly suggested that you use ``GET`` and ``POST`` instead of
    ``REQUEST``, because the former are more explicit.

    A standard Python dictionary containing all cookies. Keys and values are

    A dictionary-like object containing all uploaded files. Each key in
    ``FILES`` is the ``name`` from the ``<input type="file" name="" />``. Each
    value in ``FILES`` is a standard Python dictionary with the following three

        * ``filename`` -- The name of the uploaded file, as a Python string.
        * ``content-type`` -- The content type of the uploaded file.
        * ``content`` -- The raw content of the uploaded file.

    Note that ``FILES`` will only contain data if the request method was POST
    and the ``<form>`` that posted to the request had
    ``enctype="multipart/form-data"``. Otherwise, ``FILES`` will be a blank
    dictionary-like object.

    A standard Python dictionary containing all available HTTP headers.
    Available headers depend on the client and server, but here are some

        * ``CONTENT_LENGTH``
        * ``CONTENT_TYPE``
        * ``HTTP_REFERER`` -- The referring page, if any.
        * ``HTTP_USER_AGENT`` -- The client's user-agent string.
        * ``QUERY_STRING`` -- The query string, as a single (unparsed) string.
        * ``REMOTE_ADDR`` -- The IP address of the client.
        * ``REMOTE_HOST`` -- The hostname of the client.
        * ``REQUEST_METHOD`` -- A string such as ``"GET"`` or ``"POST"``.
        * ``SERVER_NAME`` -- The hostname of the server.
        * ``SERVER_PORT`` -- The port of the server.

    A ``django.models.auth.users.User`` object representing the currently
    logged-in user. If the user isn't currently logged in, ``user`` will be set
    to an instance of ``django.parts.auth.anonymoususers.AnonymousUser``. You
    can tell them apart with ``is_anonymous()``, like so::

        if request.user.is_anonymous():
            # Do something for anonymous users.
            # Do something for logged-in users.

    A readable-and-writable, dictionary-like object that represents the current
    session. This is only available if your Django installation has session
    support activated. See the `session documentation`_ for full details.

    .. _`session documentation`: http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/sessions/

    The raw HTTP POST data. This is only useful for advanced processing. Use
    ``POST`` instead.


    Returns the GET/POST value for the given key, checking POST first, then
    GET. Raises ``KeyError`` if the key doesn't exist.

    This lets you use dictionary-accessing syntax on an ``HttpRequest``
    instance. Example: ``request["foo"]`` would return ``True`` if either
    ``request.POST`` or ``request.GET`` had a ``"foo"`` key.

    Returns ``True`` or ``False``, designating whether ``request.GET`` or
    ``request.POST`` has the given key.

    Returns the ``path``, plus an appended query string, if applicable.

    Example: ``"/music/bands/the_beatles/?print=true"``

QueryDict objects

In an ``HttpRequest`` object, the ``GET`` and ``POST`` attributes are instances
of ``django.utils.httpwrappers.QueryDict``. ``QueryDict`` is a dictionary-like
class customized to deal with multiple values for the same key. This is
necessary because some HTML form elements, notably ``<select multiple>``, pass
multiple values for the same key.

``QueryDict`` instances are immutable, unless you create a ``copy()`` of them.
That means you can't change attributes of ``request.POST`` and ``request.GET``

``QueryDict`` implements the following standard dictionary methods:

    * ``__repr__()``

    * ``__getitem__(key)`` -- Returns the value for the given key. If the key
      has more than one value, ``__getitem__()`` returns the last value.

    * ``__setitem__(key, value)`` -- Sets the given key to ``[value]``
      (a Python list whose single element is ``value``).

    * ``__len__()``

    * ``get(key, default)`` -- Uses the same logic as ``__getitem__()`` above,
      with a hook for returning a default value if the key doesn't exist.

    * ``has_key(key)``

    * ``items()`` -- Just like the standard dictionary ``items()`` method,
      except this retains the order for values of duplicate keys, if any. For
      example, if the original query string was ``"a=1&b=2&b=3"``, ``items()``
      will return ``[("a", ["1"]), ("b", ["2", "3"])]``, where the order of
      ``["2", "3"]`` is guaranteed, but the order of ``a`` vs. ``b`` isn't.

    * ``keys()``

    * ``update(other_dict)``

In addition, it has the following methods:

    * ``copy()`` -- Returns a copy of the object, using ``copy.deepcopy()``
      from the Python standard library. The copy will be mutable -- that is,
      you can change its values.

    * ``getlist(key)`` -- Returns the data with the requested key, as a Python
      list. Returns an empty list if the key doesn't exist.

    * ``setlist(key, list_)`` -- Sets the given key to ``list_`` (unlike

    * ``appendlist(key, item)`` -- Appends an item to the internal list
      associated with key.

    * ``urlencode()`` -- Returns a string of the data in query-string format.
      Example: ``"a=2&b=3&b=5"``.


Here's an example HTML form and how Django would treat the input::

    <form action="/foo/bar/" method="post">
    <input type="text" name="your_name" />
    <select multiple="multiple" name="bands">
        <option value="beatles">The Beatles</option>
        <option value="who">The Who</option>
        <option value="zombies">The Zombies</option>
    <input type="submit" />

If the user enters ``"John Smith"`` in the ``your_name`` field and selects both
"The Beatles" and "The Zombies" in the multiple select box, here's what
Django's request object would have::

    >>> request.GET
    >>> request.POST
    {'your_name': ['John Smith'], 'bands': ['beatles', 'zombies']}
    >>> request.POST['your_name']
    'John Smith'
    >>> request.POST['bands']
    >>> request.POST.getlist('bands')
    ['beatles', 'zombies']
    >>> request.POST.get('your_name', 'Adrian')
    'John Smith'
    >>> request.POST.get('nonexistent_field', 'Nowhere Man')
    'Nowhere Man'

Implementation notes

The ``GET``, ``POST``, ``COOKIES``, ``FILES``, ``META``, ``REQUEST``,
``raw_post_data`` and ``user`` attributes are all lazily loaded. That means
Django doesn't spend resources calculating the values of those attributes until
your code requests them.

HttpResponse objects

In contrast to ``HttpRequest`` objects, which are created automatically by
Django, ``HttpResponse`` objects are your responsibility. Each view you write
is responsible for instantiating, populating and returning an ``HttpResponse``.

The ``HttpResponse`` class lives at ``django.utils.httpwrappers.HttpResponse``.


Typical usage is to pass the contents of the page, as a string, to the
``HttpResponse`` constructor::

    >>> response = HttpResponse("Here's the text of the Web page.")
    >>> response = HttpResponse("Text only, please.", mimetype="text/plain")

But if you want to add content incrementally, you can use ``response`` as a
file-like object::

    >>> response = HttpResponse()
    >>> response.write("<p>Here's the text of the Web page.</p>")
    >>> response.write("<p>Here's another paragraph.</p>")

You can add and delete headers using dictionary syntax::

    >>> response = HttpResponse()
    >>> response['X-DJANGO'] = "It's the best."
    >>> del response['X-PHP']
    >>> response['X-DJANGO']
    "It's the best."

Note that ``del`` doesn't raise ``KeyError`` if the header doesn't exist.


``__init__(content='', mimetype=DEFAULT_MIME_TYPE)``
    Instantiates an ``HttpResponse`` object with the given page content (a
    string) and MIME type. The ``DEFAULT_MIME_TYPE`` is ``"text/html"``.

``__setitem__(header, value)``
    Sets the given header name to the given value. Both ``header`` and
    ``value`` should be strings.

    Deletes the header with the given name. Fails silently if the header
    doesn't exist. Case-sensitive.

    Returns the value for the given header name. Case-sensitive.

    Returns ``True`` or ``False`` based on a case-insensitive check for a
    header with the given name.

``set_cookie(key, value='', max_age=None, expires=None, path='/', domain=None, secure=None)``
    Sets a cookie. The parameters are the same as in the `cookie Morsel`_
    object in the Python standard library.

        * ``max_age`` should be a number of seconds, or ``None`` (default) if
          the cookie should last only as long as the client's browser session.
        * ``expires`` should be a string in the format
          ``"Wdy, DD-Mon-YY HH:MM:SS GMT"``.
        * Use ``domain`` if you want to set a cross-domain cookie. For example,
          ``domain=".lawrence.com"`` will set a cookie that is readable by
          the domains www.lawrence.com, blogs.lawrence.com and
          calendars.lawrence.com. Otherwise, a cookie will only be readable by
          the domain that set it.

    .. _`cookie Morsel`: http://www.python.org/doc/current/lib/morsel-objects.html

    Deletes the cookie with the given key. Fails silently if the key doesn't

    Returns the content as a Python string, encoding it from a Unicode object
    if necessary.

``write(content)``, ``flush()`` and ``tell()``
    These methods make an ``HttpResponse`` instance a file-like object.

HttpResponse subclasses

Django includes a number of ``HttpResponse`` subclasses that handle different
types of HTTP responses. Like ``HttpResponse``, these subclasses live in

    The constructor takes a single argument -- the path to redirect to. This
    can be a fully qualified URL (e.g. ``"http://www.yahoo.com/search/"``) or an
    absolute URL with no domain (e.g. ``"/search/"``).

    The constructor doesn't take any arguments. Use this to designate that a
    page hasn't been modified since the user's last request.

    Acts just like ``HttpResponse`` but uses a 404 status code.

    Acts just like ``HttpResponse`` but uses a 403 status code.

    Acts just like ``HttpResponse`` but uses a 410 status code.

    Acts just like ``HttpResponse`` but uses a 500 status code.