Freeform page content using StreamField

StreamField provides a content editing model suitable for pages that do not follow a fixed structure - such as blog posts or news stories, where the text may be interspersed with subheadings, images, pull quotes and video, and perhaps more specialised content types such as maps and charts (or, for a programming blog, code snippets). In this model, these different content types are represented as a sequence of ‘blocks’, which can be repeated and arranged in any order.

For further background on StreamField, and why you would use it instead of a rich text field for the article body, see the blog post Rich text fields and faster horses.

StreamField also offers a rich API to define your own block types, ranging from simple collections of sub-blocks (such as a ‘person’ block consisting of first name, surname and photograph) to completely custom components with their own editing interface. Within the database, the StreamField content is stored as JSON, ensuring that the full informational content of the field is preserved, rather than just an HTML representation of it.

Using StreamField

StreamField is a model field that can be defined within your page model like any other field:

from django.db import models

from wagtail.wagtailcore.models import Page
from wagtail.wagtailcore.fields import StreamField
from wagtail.wagtailcore import blocks
from wagtail.wagtailadmin.edit_handlers import FieldPanel, StreamFieldPanel
from wagtail.wagtailimages.blocks import ImageChooserBlock

class BlogPage(Page):
    author = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    date = models.DateField("Post date")
    body = StreamField([
        ('heading', blocks.CharBlock(classname="full title")),
        ('paragraph', blocks.RichTextBlock()),
        ('image', ImageChooserBlock()),
    ])

BlogPage.content_panels = [
    FieldPanel('author'),
    FieldPanel('date'),
    StreamFieldPanel('body'),
]

Note: StreamField is not backwards compatible with other field types such as RichTextField; if you migrate an existing field to StreamField, the existing data will be lost.

The parameter to StreamField is a list of (name, block_type) tuples; ‘name’ is used to identify the block type within templates and the internal JSON representation (and should follow standard Python conventions for variable names: lower-case and underscores, no spaces) and ‘block_type’ should be a block definition object as described below. (Alternatively, StreamField can be passed a single StreamBlock instance - see Structural block types.)

This defines the set of available block types that can be used within this field. The author of the page is free to use these blocks as many times as desired, in any order.

Basic block types

All block types accept the following optional keyword arguments:

default
The default value that a new ‘empty’ block should receive.
label
The label to display in the editor interface when referring to this block - defaults to a prettified version of the block name (or, in a context where no name is assigned - such as within a ListBlock - the empty string).
icon
The name of the icon to display for this block type in the menu of available block types. For a list of icon names, see the Wagtail style guide, which can be enabled by adding wagtail.contrib.wagtailstyleguide to your project’s INSTALLED_APPS.
template
The path to a Django template that will be used to render this block on the front end. See Template rendering.

The basic block types provided by Wagtail are as follows:

CharBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.CharBlock

A single-line text input. The following keyword arguments are accepted:

required (default: True)
If true, the field cannot be left blank.
max_length, min_length
Ensures that the string is at most or at least the given length.
help_text
Help text to display alongside the field.

TextBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.TextBlock

A multi-line text input. As with CharBlock, the keyword arguments required, max_length, min_length and help_text are accepted.

URLBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.URLBlock

A single-line text input that validates that the string is a valid URL. The keyword arguments required, max_length, min_length and help_text are accepted.

BooleanBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.BooleanBlock

A checkbox. The keyword arguments required and help_text are accepted. As with Django’s BooleanField, a value of required=True (the default) indicates that the checkbox must be ticked in order to proceed; for a checkbox that can be ticked or unticked, you must explicitly pass in required=False.

DateBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.DateBlock

A date picker. The keyword arguments required and help_text are accepted.

TimeBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.TimeBlock

A time picker. The keyword arguments required and help_text are accepted.

DateTimeBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.DateTimeBlock

A combined date / time picker. The keyword arguments required and help_text are accepted.

RichTextBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.RichTextBlock

A WYSIWYG editor for creating formatted text including links, bold / italics etc.

RawHTMLBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.RawHTMLBlock

A text area for entering raw HTML which will be rendered unescaped in the page output. The keyword arguments required, max_length, min_length and help_text are accepted.

Warning

When this block is in use, there is nothing to prevent editors from inserting malicious scripts into the page, including scripts that would allow the editor to acquire administrator privileges when another administrator views the page. Do not use this block unless your editors are fully trusted.

ChoiceBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.ChoiceBlock

A dropdown select box for choosing from a list of choices. The following keyword arguments are accepted:

choices
A list of choices, in any format accepted by Django’s choices parameter for model fields: https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/stable/ref/models/fields/#field-choices
required (default: True)
If true, the field cannot be left blank.
help_text
Help text to display alongside the field.

ChoiceBlock can also be subclassed to produce a reusable block with the same list of choices everywhere it is used. For example, a block definition such as:

blocks.ChoiceBlock(choices=[
    ('tea', 'Tea'),
    ('coffee', 'Coffee'),
], icon='cup')

could be rewritten as a subclass of ChoiceBlock:

class DrinksChoiceBlock(blocks.ChoiceBlock):
    choices = [
        ('tea', 'Tea'),
        ('coffee', 'Coffee'),
    ]

    class Meta:
        icon = 'cup'

StreamField definitions can then refer to DrinksChoiceBlock() in place of the full ChoiceBlock definition.

PageChooserBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.PageChooserBlock

A control for selecting a page object, using Wagtail’s page browser. The keyword argument required is accepted.

DocumentChooserBlock

wagtail.wagtaildocs.blocks.DocumentChooserBlock

A control to allow the editor to select an existing document object, or upload a new one. The keyword argument required is accepted.

ImageChooserBlock

wagtail.wagtailimages.blocks.ImageChooserBlock

A control to allow the editor to select an existing image, or upload a new one. The keyword argument required is accepted.

SnippetChooserBlock

wagtail.wagtailsnippets.blocks.SnippetChooserBlock

A control to allow the editor to select a snippet object. Requires one positional argument: the snippet class to choose from. The keyword argument required is accepted.

EmbedBlock

wagtail.wagtailembeds.blocks.EmbedBlock

A field for the editor to enter a URL to a media item (such as a YouTube video) to appear as embedded media on the page. The keyword arguments required, max_length, min_length and help_text are accepted.

Structural block types

In addition to the basic block types above, it is possible to define new block types made up of sub-blocks: for example, a ‘person’ block consisting of sub-blocks for first name, surname and image, or a ‘carousel’ block consisting of an unlimited number of image blocks. These structures can be nested to any depth, making it possible to have a structure containing a list, or a list of structures.

StructBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.StructBlock

A block consisting of a fixed group of sub-blocks to be displayed together. Takes a list of (name, block_definition) tuples as its first argument:

('person', blocks.StructBlock([
    ('first_name', blocks.CharBlock(required=True)),
    ('surname', blocks.CharBlock(required=True)),
    ('photo', ImageChooserBlock()),
    ('biography', blocks.RichTextBlock()),
], icon='user'))

Alternatively, the list of sub-blocks can be provided in a subclass of StructBlock:

class PersonBlock(blocks.StructBlock):
    first_name = blocks.CharBlock(required=True)
    surname = blocks.CharBlock(required=True)
    photo = ImageChooserBlock()
    biography = blocks.RichTextBlock()

    class Meta:
        icon = 'user'

The Meta class supports the properties default, label, icon and template; these have the same meanings as when they are passed to the block’s constructor.

This defines PersonBlock() as a block type that can be re-used as many times as you like within your model definitions:

body = StreamField([
    ('heading', blocks.CharBlock(classname="full title")),
    ('paragraph', blocks.RichTextBlock()),
    ('image', ImageChooserBlock()),
    ('person', PersonBlock()),
])

ListBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.ListBlock

A block consisting of many sub-blocks, all of the same type. The editor can add an unlimited number of sub-blocks, and re-order and delete them. Takes the definition of the sub-block as its first argument:

('ingredients_list', blocks.ListBlock(blocks.CharBlock(label="Ingredient")))

Any block type is valid as the sub-block type, including structural types:

('ingredients_list', blocks.ListBlock(blocks.StructBlock(
    ('ingredient', blocks.CharBlock(required=True)),
    ('amount', blocks.CharBlock()),
)))

StreamBlock

wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.StreamBlock

A block consisting of a sequence of sub-blocks of different types, which can be mixed and reordered in any order. Used as the overall mechanism of the StreamField itself, but can also be nested or used within other structural block types. Takes a list of (name, block_definition) tuples as its first argument:

('carousel', blocks.StreamBlock(
    [
        ('image', ImageChooserBlock()),
        ('quotation', blocks.StructBlock([
            ('text', blocks.TextBlock()),
            ('author', blocks.CharBlock),
        ])),
        ('video', blocks.EmbedBlock()),
    ],
    icon='cogs'
))

As with StructBlock, the list of sub-blocks can also be provided as a subclass of StreamBlock:

class CarouselBlock(blocks.StreamBlock):
    image = ImageChooserBlock()
    quotation = blocks.StructBlock([
        ('text', blocks.TextBlock()),
        ('author', blocks.CharBlock),
    ])
    video = blocks.EmbedBlock

    class Meta:
        icon='cogs'

Since StreamField accepts an instance of StreamBlock as a parameter, in place of a list of block types, this makes it possible to re-use a common set block types without repeating definitions:

class HomePage(Page):
    carousel = StreamField(CarouselBlock())

Template rendering

The simplest way to render the contents of a StreamField into your template is to output it as a variable, like any other field:

{{ self.body }}

This will render each block of the stream in turn, wrapped in a <div class="block-my_block_name"> element (where my_block_name is the block name given in the StreamField definition). If you wish to provide your own HTML markup, you can instead iterate over the field’s value to access each block in turn:

<article>
    {% for block in self.body %}
        <section>{{ block }}</section>
    {% endfor %}
</article>

For more control over the rendering of specific block types, each block object provides block_type and value properties:

<article>
    {% for block in self.body %}
        {% if block.block_type == 'heading' %}
            <h1>{{ block.value }}</h1>
        {% else %}
            <section class="block-{{ block.block_type }}">
                {{ block }}
            </section>
        {% endif %}
    {% endfor %}
</article>

Each block type provides its own front-end HTML rendering mechanism, and this is used for the output of {{ block }}. For most simple block types, such as CharBlock, this will simply output the field’s value, but others will provide their own HTML markup; for example, a ListBlock will output the list of child blocks as a <ul> element (with each child wrapped in an <li> element and rendered using the child block’s own HTML rendering).

To override this with your own custom HTML rendering, you can pass a template argument to the block, giving the filename of a template file to be rendered. This is particularly useful for custom block types derived from StructBlock, as the default StructBlock rendering is simple and somewhat generic:

('person', blocks.StructBlock(
    [
        ('first_name', blocks.CharBlock(required=True)),
        ('surname', blocks.CharBlock(required=True)),
        ('photo', ImageChooserBlock()),
        ('biography', blocks.RichTextBlock()),
    ],
    template='myapp/blocks/person.html',
    icon='user'
))

Or, when defined as a subclass of StructBlock:

class PersonBlock(blocks.StructBlock):
    first_name = blocks.CharBlock(required=True)
    surname = blocks.CharBlock(required=True)
    photo = ImageChooserBlock()
    biography = blocks.RichTextBlock()

    class Meta:
        template = 'myapp/blocks/person.html'
        icon = 'user'

Within the template, the block value is accessible as the variable self:

{% load wagtailimages_tags %}

<div class="person">
    {% image self.photo width-400 %}
    <h2>{{ self.first_name }} {{ self.surname }}</h2>
    {{ self.bound_blocks.biography.render }}
</div>

The line self.bound_blocks.biography.render warrants further explanation. While blocks such as RichTextBlock are aware of their own rendering, the actual block values (as returned when accessing properties of a StructBlock, such as self.biography), are just plain Python values such as strings. To access the block’s proper HTML rendering, you must retrieve the ‘bound block’ - an object which has access to both the rendering method and the value - via the bound_blocks property.

Custom block types

If you need to implement a custom UI, or handle a datatype that is not provided by Wagtail’s built-in block types (and cannot built up as a structure of existing fields), it is possible to define your own custom block types. For further guidance, refer to the source code of Wagtail’s built-in block classes.

For block types that simply wrap an existing Django form field, Wagtail provides an abstract class wagtail.wagtailcore.blocks.FieldBlock as a helper. Subclasses just need to set a field property that returns the form field object:

class IPAddressBlock(FieldBlock):
    def __init__(self, required=True, help_text=None, **kwargs):
        self.field = forms.GenericIPAddressField(required=required, help_text=help_text)
        super(IPAddressBlock, self).__init__(**kwargs)

Migrations

As with any model field in Django, any changes to a model definition that affect a StreamField will result in a migration file that contains a ‘frozen’ copy of that field definition. Since a StreamField definition is more complex than a typical model field, there is an increased likelihood of definitions from your project being imported into the migration - which would cause problems later on if those definitions are moved or deleted.

To mitigate this, StructBlock, StreamBlock and ChoiceBlock implement additional logic to ensure that any subclasses of these blocks are deconstructed to plain instances of StructBlock, StreamBlock and ChoiceBlock - in this way, the migrations avoid having any references to your custom class definitions. This is possible because these block types provide a standard pattern for inheritance, and know how to reconstruct the block definition for any subclass that follows that pattern.

If you subclass any other block class, such as FieldBlock, you will need to either keep that class definition in place for the lifetime of your project, or implement a custom deconstruct method that expresses your block entirely in terms of classes that are guaranteed to remain in place. Similarly, if you customise a StructBlock, StreamBlock or ChoiceBlock subclass to the point where it can no longer be expressed as an instance of the basic block type - for example, if you add extra arguments to the constructor - you will need to provide your own deconstruct method.