1. Luke Plant
  2. django


django / docs / url_dispatch.txt

URL dispatcher

A clean, elegant URL scheme is an important detail in a high-quality Web
application. Django lets you design URLs however you want, with no framework

There's no ``.php`` or ``.cgi`` required, and certainly none of that
``0,2097,1-1-1928,00`` nonsense.

See `Cool URIs don't change`_, by World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, for
excellent arguments on why URLs should be clean and usable.

.. _Cool URIs don't change: http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI


To design URLs for an app, you create a Python module informally called a
**URLconf** (URL configuration). This module is pure Python code and
is a simple mapping between URL patterns (as simple regular expressions) to
Python callback functions (your views).

This mapping can be as short or as long as needed. It can reference other
mappings. And, because it's pure Python code, it can be constructed

How Django processes a request

When a user requests a page from your Django-powered site, this is the
algorithm the system follows to determine which Python code to execute:

    1. The system looks at the ``ROOT_URLCONF`` setting in your
       `settings file`_. This should be a string representing the full Python
       import path to your URLconf. For example: ``"mydjangoapps.urls"``.
    2. The system loads that Python module and looks for the variable
       ``urlpatterns``. This should be a Python list, in the format returned
       by the function ``django.conf.urls.defaults.patterns()``.
    3. The system runs through each URL pattern, in order, and stops at the
       first one that matches the requested URL.
    4. Once one of the regexes matches, Django imports and calls the given
       view, which is a simple Python function. The view gets passed a
       `request object`_ and any values captured in the regex as keyword

.. _settings file: http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/settings/
.. _request object: http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/request_response/#httprequest-objects


Here's a sample URLconf::

    from django.conf.urls.defaults import *

    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        (r'^/articles/2003/$', 'news.views.special_case_2003'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/$', 'news.views.year_archive'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/(?P<month>\d{2})/$', 'news.views.month_archive'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/(?P<month>\d{2})/(?P<day>\d+)/$', 'news.views.article_detail'),


    * ``from django.conf.urls.defaults import *`` makes the ``patterns``
      function available.

    * To capture a value from the URL, use the syntax ``(?P<name>pattern)``,
      where ``name`` is the name for that value and ``pattern`` is some pattern
      to match.

    * The ``"r"`` in front of each regular expression string is optional but
      recommended. It tells Python that a string is "raw" -- that nothing in
      the string should be escaped. See `Dive Into Python's explanation`_.


    * A request to ``/articles/2005/03/`` would match the third entry in the
      list. Django would call the function
      ``news.views.month_archive(request, year='2005', month='03')``.

    * ``/articles/2005/3/`` would not match any URL patterns, because the
      third entry in the list requires two digits for the month.

    * ``/articles/2003/`` would match the first pattern in the list, not the
      second one, because the patterns are tested in order, and the first one
      is the first test to pass. Feel free to exploit the ordering to insert
      special cases like this.

    * ``/articles/2003`` would not match any of these patterns, because each
      pattern requires that the URL end with a slash.

    * ``/articles/2003/03/3/`` would match the final pattern. Django would call
      the function
      ``news.views.article_detail(request, year='2003', month='03', day='3')``.

.. _Dive Into Python's explanation: http://diveintopython.org/regular_expressions/street_addresses.html#re.matching.2.3

What the URLconf searches against

The URLconf searches against the requested URL, as a normal Python string. This
does not include GET or POST parameters, or the domain name.

For example, in a request to ``http://www.example.com/myapp/``, the URLconf
will look for ``/myapp/``.

In a request to ``http://www.example.com/myapp/?page=3``, the URLconf will look
for ``/myapp/``.

Syntax of the urlpatterns variable

``urlpatterns`` should be a Python list, in the format returned by the function
``django.conf.urls.defaults.patterns()``. Always use ``patterns()`` to create
the ``urlpatterns`` variable.

Convention is to use ``from django.conf.urls.defaults import *`` at the top of
your URLconf. This gives your module access to these objects:


A function that takes a prefix an arbitrary number of URL patterns and returns
a list of URL patterns in the format Django needs.

The first argument to ``patterns()`` is a string ``prefix``. See
"The view prefix" below.

The remaining arguments should be tuples in this format::

    (regular expression, Python callback function [, optional dictionary])

...where ``dictionary_of_extra_arguments`` is optional. (See
"Passing extra options to view functions" below.)


A string representing the full Python import path to the view that should be
called if none of the URL patterns match.

By default, this is ``'django.views.defaults.page_not_found'``. That default
value should suffice.


A string representing the full Python import path to the view that should be
called in case of server errors. Server errors happen when you have runtime
errors in view code.

By default, this is ``'django.views.defaults.server_error'``. That default
value should suffice.


A function that takes a full Python import path to another URLconf that should
be "included" in this place. See "Including other URLconfs" below.

Notes on capturing text in URLs

Each captured argument is sent to the view as a plain Python string, regardless
of what sort of match the regular expression makes. For example, in this

    (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/$', 'news.views.year_archive'),

...the ``year`` argument to ``news.views.year_archive()`` will be a string, not
an integer, even though the ``\d{4}`` will only match integer strings.

A convenient trick is to specify default parameters for your views' arguments.
Here's an example URLconf and view::

    # URLconf
    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        (r'^/blog/$', 'blog.views.page'),
        (r'^/blog/page(?P<num>\d+)/$', 'blog.views.page'),

    # View (in blog/views.py)
    def page(request, num="1"):
        # Output the appropriate page of blog entries, according to num.

In the above example, both URL patterns point to the same view --
``blog.views.page`` -- but the first pattern doesn't capture anything from the
URL. If the first pattern matches, the ``page()`` function will use its
default argument for ``num``, ``"1"``. If the second pattern matches,
``page()`` will use whatever ``num`` value was captured by the regex.


Each regular expression in a ``urlpatterns`` is compiled the first time it's
accessed. This makes the system blazingly fast.

The view prefix

You can specify a common prefix in your ``patterns()`` call, to cut down on
code duplication.

Here's the example URLconf from the `Django overview`_::

    from django.conf.urls.defaults import *

    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/$', 'myproject.news.views.year_archive'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/(?P<month>\d{2})/$', 'myproject.news.views.month_archive'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/(?P<month>\d{2})/(?P<day>\d+)/$', 'myproject.news.views.article_detail'),

In this example, each view has a common prefix -- ``"myproject.news.views"``.
Instead of typing that out for each entry in ``urlpatterns``, you can use the
first argument to the ``patterns()`` function to specify a prefix to apply to
each view function.

With this in mind, the above example can be written more concisely as::

    from django.conf.urls.defaults import *

    urlpatterns = patterns('myproject.news.views',
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/$', 'year_archive'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/(?P<month>\d{2})/$', 'month_archive'),
        (r'^/articles/(?P<year>\d{4})/(?P<month>\d{2})/(?P<day>\d+)/$', 'article_detail'),

Note that you don't put a trailing dot (``"."``) in the prefix. Django puts
that in automatically.

.. _Django overview: http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/overview/

Including other URLconfs

At any point, your ``urlpatterns`` can "include" other URLconf modules. This
essentially "roots" a set of URLs below other ones.

For example, here's the URLconf for the `Django website`_ itself. It includes a
number of other URLconfs::

    from django.conf.urls.defaults import *

    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        (r'^weblog/',        include('django_website.apps.blog.urls.blog')),
        (r'^documentation/', include('django_website.apps.docs.urls.docs')),
        (r'^comments/',      include('django.contrib.comments.urls.comments')),
        (r'^rss/',           include('django.conf.urls.rss')),

Note that an included URLconf receives any captured parameters from parent
URLconfs, so the following example is valid::

    # In settings/urls/main.py
    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        (r'^(?P<username>\w+)/blog/', include('foo.urls.blog')),

    # In foo/urls/blog.py
    urlpatterns = patterns('foo.views'
        (r'^$', 'blog.index'),
        (r'^archive/$', 'blog.archive'),

In the above example, the captured ``"username"`` variable is passed to the
included URLconf, as expected.

.. _`Django website`: http://www.djangoproject.com/

Passing extra options to view functions

URLconfs have a hook that lets you pass extra arguments to your view functions,
as a Python dictionary.

Any URLconf tuple can have an optional third element, which should be a
dictionary of extra keyword arguments to pass to the view function.

For example::

    urlpatterns = patterns('blog.views',
        (r'^/blog/(?P<year>\d{4})/$', 'year_archive', {'foo': 'bar'}),

In this example, for a request to ``/blog/2005/``, Django will call the
``blog.views.year_archive()`` view, passing it these keyword arguments::

    year='2005', foo='bar'

This technique is used in `generic views`_ and in the `syndication framework`_
to pass metadata and options to views.

.. _generic views: http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/generic_views/
.. _syndication framework: http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/syndication/