Concatenating Strings in Django Templates

Django templates provide powerful features for displaying dynamic data from your Python code. One common task is concatenating multiple string values together to output a single string. Fortunately, Django offers simple template tags to join strings smoothly. In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of concatenating strings in Django templates.

Why Concatenate Strings?

First, let’s discuss why you might need to concatenate strings in the first place. Often, you’ll want to combine text from different sources in your templates. For example, you may have a first name and last name stored as separate variables, but want to output the full name together on a webpage.

Additionally, you might need to combine hard-coded text with dynamic values fetched from a database. By concatenating strings directly in your templates, you can avoid creating long, complex string variables in your Python code. Overall, concatenation keeps your templates and code modular and readable.

Basic String Concatenation

The easiest way to concatenate two strings is by using the add template filter. For example:

{{ first_name|add:" "|add:last_name }}

This would output something like “John Doe”. The add filter also works with variables:

{{ title|add:company }}

Where title and company are variables passed into the template context.

One limitation is that the add filter does not add any spaces between values. For readable concatenation, you need to explicitly add spaces yourself with a string like " ".

Joining Multiple Strings

To join several string values, you can daisy chain multiple add filters:

{{ value1|add:" "|add:value2|add:" "|add:value3 }}

However, chaining many add filters quickly becomes tedious and difficult to read. Instead, you can use the join filter to cleanly join a list of strings:

{{ values|join:" // " }}

This would output something like “Value 1 // Value 2 // Value 3”. The join filter also works on querysets, joining model instances based on a given string attribute:

{{ users|join:", "|attr:"username" }}

Which would output “john, jane, mary” etc. Overall, join is ideal for concatenating larger lists of values.

Combining Strings and Variables

For maximum flexibility, you can also combine hardcoded strings, variables, and filters into a single expression using Django’s template language syntax:

{% with full_name=first_name|add:" "|add:last_name %}
  {{ "Hello "|add:full_name|upper }} 
{% endwith %}

The with tag assigns the full name concatenation to a new variable that can be reused. Then, we compose a complex greeting by adding more text before and after the variable.

Django evaluates the template expressions from left to right. So you can easily build up long strings from multiple sources.

Best Practices for Readability

When concatenating many strings, keep these readability tips in mind:

  • Add spaces, commas, and punctuation between values for sentence flow.
  • Use the join filter instead of chaining many add filters.
  • Assign concatenated strings to descriptively named variables before reuse.
  • Break complex expressions into multiple lines and template tags for easy scanning.

Well-formatted concatenations make your templates maintainable and clear for the next developer.

In Summary

Concatenating strings is a common task in Django templates to combine text and variables effectively. The builtin add and join filters provide simple but powerful options for string concatenation. By following best practices, you can build readable templates that cleanly integrate dynamic data. Mastering string concatenation unlocks creative possibilities for building robust web applications with Django.