Views

Views contain a class that inherits from UnicornView for the component’s Python code.

To follow typical naming conventions, the view will convert the component’s name to be more Pythonic. For example, if the component name is hello-world, the template file name will also be hello-world.html. However, the view file name will be hello_world.py and it will contain one class named HelloWorldView.

This allows Unicorn to connect the template and view using convention instead of configuration. Using the startunicorn management command is the easiest way to make sure that components are created correctly.

Example view

# hello_world.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloWorldView(UnicornView):
    pass

Class variables

Unicorn will serialize/deserialize view class variables to JSON as needed for interactive parts of the component.

Automatically handled field types:

A word of caution about mutable class variables

Be careful when using a default mutable class variables, namely list, dictionary, and objects. As mentioned in A Word About Names and Objects defining a mutable default for a class variable can have subtle and unexpected consequences – it will cause component instances to share state which is usually not the intention.

# sentence.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

# This will cause unexpected consequences
class SentenceView(UnicornView):
    words: list[str] = []  # all SentenceView instances will share a reference to one list in memory
    word_counts: dict[str, int] = {}  # all SentenceView instances will share a reference to one dictionary in memory

    def add_word(self, word: str):
        ...

The correct way to initialize a mutable object.

# sentence.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class SentenceView(UnicornView):
    words: list[str]  # not setting a default value is valid
    word_counts: dict[str, int] = None  # using None for the default is valid

    def mount(self):
        self.words = []  # initialize a new list every time a SentenceView is initialized and mounted
        self.word_counts = {}  # initialize a new dictionary every time a SentenceView is initialized and mounted

    def add_word(self, word: str):
        ...

list, dictionaries, and objects all run into this problem, so be sure to initialize mutable objects in the component’s mount function.

Class variable type hints

Type hints on fields help Unicorn ensure that the field will always have the appropriate type.

# rating.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class RatingView(UnicornView):
    rating: float = 0

    def calculate_percentage(self):
        assert isinstance(rating, float)
        print(self.rating / 100.0)

Without the float type hint on rating, Python will complain that rating is a str.

Custom class

Custom classes need to define how they are serialized. If you have access to the object to serialize, you can define a to_json method on the object to return a dictionary that can be used to serialize. Inheriting from unicorn.components.UnicornField is a quick way to serialize a custom class, but it uses self.__dict__ under the hood, so it is not doing anything particularly smart.

Another option is to set the form_class on the component and utilize Django’s built-in forms and widgets to handle how the class should be deserialized.

# hello_world.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView, UnicornField

class Author(UnicornField):
    def mount(self):
        self.name = 'Neil Gaiman'

    # Not needed because inherited from `UnicornField`
    # def to_json(self):
    #    return {'name': self.name}

    class HelloWorldView(UnicornView):
        author = Author()
<!-- hello-world.html -->
<div>
  <input unicorn:model="author.name" type="text" id="author_name" />
</div>

Danger

Never put sensitive data into a public property because that information will publicly available in the HTML source code, unless explicitly prevented with javascript_exclude.

Class properties

template_name

By default, the component name is used to determine what template should be used. For example, hello_world.HelloWorldView would by default use unicorn/hello-world.html. However, you can specify a particular template by setting template_name in the component.

# hello_world.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloWorldView(UnicornView):
    template_name = "unicorn/hello-world.html"

Instance properties

component_args

The arguments passed into the component.

<!-- index.html -->
{% unicorn 'hello-arg' 'World' %}
# hello_arg.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloArgView(UnicornView):
    def mount(self):
      assert self.component_args[0] == "World"

component_kwargs

The keyword arguments passed into the component.

<!-- index.html -->
{% unicorn 'hello-kwarg' hello='World' %}
# hello_kwarg.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloKwargView(UnicornView):
    def mount(self):
      assert self.component_kwargs["hello"] == "World"

request

The current request.

# hello_world.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloWorldView(UnicornView):
    def mount(self):
        print("Initial request that rendered the component", self.request)

    def test(self):
        print("AJAX request that re-renders the component", self.request)

Custom methods

Defined component instance methods with no arguments (other than self) are available in the Django template context and can be called like a property.

# states.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class StateView(UnicornView):
    def all_states(self):
        return ["Alabama", "Alaska", "Arizona", ...]
<!-- states.html -->
<div>
  <ul>
    {% for state in all_states %}
    <li>{{ state }}</li>
    {% endfor %}
  </ul>
</div>
{% endverbatim %}

Tip

If the method is intensive and will be called multiple times, it can be cached with Django’s cached_property to prevent duplicate API requests or database queries. The method will only be executed once per component rendering.

# states.py
from django.utils.functional import cached_property
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class StateView(UnicornView):
    @cached_property
    def all_states(self):
        return ["Alabama", "Alaska", "Arizona", ...]

Instance methods

mount()

Gets called when the component gets initialized or reset.

# hello_world.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloWorldView(UnicornView):
    name = "original"

    def mount(self):
        self.name = "mounted"

hydrate()

Gets called when the component data gets set.

# hello_world.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloWorldView(UnicornView):
    name = "original"

    def hydrate(self):
        self.name = "hydrated"

updating(name, value)

Gets called before each property that will get set.

updated(name, value)

Gets called after each property gets set.

updating_{property_name}(value)

Gets called before the specified property gets set.

updated_{property_name}(value)

Gets called after the specified property gets set.

calling(name, args)

Gets called before each method that gets called.

called(name, args)

Gets called after each method gets called.

complete()

Gets called after all methods have been called.

rendered(html)

Gets called after the component has been rendered.

parent_rendered(html)

Gets called after the component’s parent has been rendered (if applicable).

Meta

Classes that derive from UnicornView can include a Meta class that provides some advanced options for the component.

exclude

By default, all public attributes of the component are included in the context of the Django template and available to JavaScript. One way to protect internal-only data is to prefix the atteibute name with _ to indicate it should stay private.

# hello_state.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloStateView(UnicornView):
    _all_states = (
        "Alabama",
        "Alaska",
        ...
        "Wisconsin",
        "Wyoming",
    )

Another way to prevent that data from being available to the component template is to add it to the Meta class’s exclude tuple.

# hello_state.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloStateView(UnicornView):
    all_states = (
        "Alabama",
        "Alaska",
        ...
        "Wisconsin",
        "Wyoming",
    )

    class Meta:
        exclude = ("all_states", )

javascript_exclude

To allow an attribute to be included in the the context to be used by a Django template, but not exposed to JavaScript, add it to the Meta class’s javascript_exclude tuple.

<!-- hello-state.html -->
<div>
  {% for state in all_states %}
  <div>{{ state }}</div>
  {% endfor %}
</div>
# hello_state.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class HelloStateView(UnicornView):
    all_states = (
        "Alabama",
        "Alaska",
        ...
        "Wisconsin",
        "Wyoming",
    )

    class Meta:
        javascript_exclude = ("all_states", )

safe

By default, unicorn HTML encodes updated field values to prevent XSS attacks. You need to explicitly opt-in to allow a field to be returned without being encoded by adding it to the Meta class’s safe tuple.

<!-- safe-example.html -->
<div>
  <input unicorn:model="something_safe" />
  {{ something_safe }}
</div>
# safe_example.py
from django_unicorn.components import UnicornView

class SafeExampleView(UnicornView):
    something_safe = ""

    class Meta:
        safe = ("something_safe", )

Note

A context variable can also be marked as safe in the template with the normal Django template filter.

<!-- safe-example.html -->
<div>
  <input unicorn:model="something_safe" />
  {{ something_safe|safe }}
</div>