Adding CSS templates to Django – A Tutorial for Dummies

I have seen a lot of pages and stackoverflow questions that just want to know… how in hell do I get a CSS template to work with Django, even on a basic level? I found the official documentation for Django static files a bit confusing. So I’ve laid out the steps here, along with some basic tips. This will work for offline development scenarios – I haven’t deployed my project on a *real* server yet. ūüėČ

Without further ado, here we go:

  1. The default location for your static files (CSS style sheets, images) is per app: for each app, create a static subdirectory, and put all your static files there. These apps need to be listed in your INSTALLED APPS setting.
  2. Place your statics files in the appropriate directory. Here the *.css files for app books are located in the static subdirectory, and the images are located in a dedicated images subdirectory within .
  3. Directory Structure

  4. Add¬†django.contrib.staticfiles to your INSTALLED_APPS, in your settings.py file (if it isn’t there already).
  5. INSTALLED_APPS = (
        ...
        'django.contrib.staticfiles',
        'MyWebsite.books'
    )
    
  6. If necessary, add explicit local paths to STATICFILES_DIRS in settings.py
  7. # URL prefix for static files.
    # Example: "http://example.com/static/", "http://static.example.com/"
    STATIC_URL = '/static/'
    
    # Additional locations of static files
    STATICFILES_DIRS = (
        'C:/workspace/MyWebsite/src/MyWebsite/static',
        # Put strings here, like "/home/html/static" or "C:/www/django/static".
        # Always use forward slashes, even on Windows.
        # Don't forget to use absolute paths, not relative paths.
        )
    
  8. When you refer to the files in your templates, you will use the tag {{ STATIC_URL }}. Examples for a CSS stylesheet and an image:
  9. 
    Display Authors
        	<link href="{{ STATIC_URL }}style1.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
    <img alt="" src="{{ STATIC_URL }}images/photo.jpg" />
    
    
  10. As shown above, CSS tags are placed below the title tag.
  11. This should work now. Good luck!
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Django Book Tutorial doesn’t work – CSRF error

Hi,

If you’ve been working your way through the Django Book tutorial, you may have run into a spot of trouble with the form chapter. Even though I had basically cut and pasted in the chapter code, I kept getting a CSRF Verification Failed error, which was definitely not listed in the book.

We don't like this.

We don’t like this.

CSRF stands for Cross Site Request Forgery, which is a type of attack on your web page.¬†This occurs when a malicious Web site contains a link, a form button or some javascript that is intended to perform some action on your Web site, using the credentials of a logged-in user who visits the malicious site in their browser. CSRF protection in Django is meant to prevent just that, which is why we get an error if we haven’t properly secured our forms. It seems to have been enforced in newer versions of Django, but still not updated in the online book.

The problem can be solved as follows:

  1. Add the middleware 'django.middleware.csrf.CsrfViewMiddleware' to your list of middleware classes, MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES.
  2. In any template that uses a POST form, use the csrf_token tag inside the html.
    <form action="" method="post">
        	{% csrf_token %}
            <table>
                {{ form.as_table }}
            </table>
            <input type="submit" value="Submit">
        </form>
    
  3.  Instead of using a context in your forms, use a RequestContext in views.py. The code looks like this:
from django.template import RequestContext
...
def contact(request):
    ...
    initialData = {'form': form}
    return render_to_response('contact_form.html', initialData,
          context_instance=RequestContext(request))

The RequestContext contains a CSRF token which is necessary to prevent this error. Completing these steps should resolve the problem! ūüôā