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Django Messaging for AJAX Calls Using Jquery

The messaging contrib app for Django has always been been tied to a user, which has prevented me from using it in any of my apps. Now that the Django 1.2 Alpha has been released, I've been able to play with it, and feel good about using it. My sites usually have a mix of AJAX and traditional HTTP requests. So figuring out a good solution to handle messages for the AJAX requests, while maintaining consistency in interacting with the API was important to me. Here's my solution for handling messages in AJAX requests.

First we need a middleware that will detect if the request is an AJAX request. I always use JSON, but if you mix the data types, you might have to add some additional logic here. The middleware adds to the JSON any messages that we might have added in the view.

import simplejson as json

from django.contrib import messages

class AjaxMessaging(object):
    def process_response(self, request, response):
        if request.is_ajax():
            if response['Content-Type'] in ["application/javascript", "application/json"]:
                try:
                    content = json.loads(response.content)
                except ValueError:
                    return response

                django_messages = []

                for message in messages.get_messages(request):
                    django_messages.append({
                        "level": message.level,
                        "message": message.message,
                        "extra_tags": message.tags,
                    })

                content['django_messages'] = django_messages

                response.content = json.dumps(content)
        return response

Make sure to add the new middleware to settings.py.

'apps.main.middleware.AjaxMessaging'

So if we have a view that responds to an AJAX request, we can add a message the same way we would for a traditional HTTP response:

if success:
    messages.success(request, "The object has been modified.")
else:
    messages.error(request, "The object was not modified.")

We need a place to put the messages in our template:

<ul id="messages">
    {% for message in messages %}
    <li{% if message.tags %} class="{{ message.tags }}"{% endif %}>{{ message }}</li>
    {% endfor %}
</ul>

We'll be using a global ajaxComplete handler, so we'll have to use a JSON parser. Simply include it with the rest of our javascript. jquery.json.js

And finally the handler, which simply loops through all the Django messages, and fades them out after three seconds.

function addMessage(text, extra_tags) {
    var message = $('<li class="'+extra_tags+'">'+text+'</li>').hide();
    $("#messages").append(message);
    message.fadeIn(500);

    setTimeout(function() {
        message.fadeOut(500, function() {
            message.remove();
        });
    }, 3000);
}

$(document).ready(function() {
    $('#messages').ajaxComplete(function(e, xhr, settings) {
        var contentType = xhr.getResponseHeader("Content-Type");

        if (contentType == "application/javascript" || contentType == "application/json") {
            var json = $.evalJSON(xhr.responseText);

            $.each(json.django_messages, function (i, item) {
                addMessage(item.message, item.extra_tags);
            });
        }
    }).ajaxError(function(e, xhr, settings, exception) {
        addMessage("There was an error processing your request, please try again.", "error");
    });

How to Handle HTTP Redirects with Jquery and Django

Jquery has a funny way of handling 302 redirects during AJAX calls. These frequently come up when I need to redirect a user to a login page. Here's how I'm handling it with Django.

The underlying problem we experience with redirects in Jquery is that the redirects are followed. So instead of getting a status code of HTTP/1.1 302 Found, we get HTTP/1.1 200 OK. So one way to get around this is to return a made up status code. This is easily accomplished with a middleware in django.

from django.http import HttpResponseRedirect

class AjaxRedirect(object):
    def process_response(self, request, response):
        if request.is_ajax():
            if type(response) == HttpResponseRedirect:
                response.status_code = 278
        return response

Make sure to add the new middleware to settings.py.

'apps.main.middleware.AjaxRedirect'

And the final piece of the puzzle is to add a global AJAX complete handler, that checks for the new status code, redirects the page to the Location header in the HTTP response, and replace the next query variable. The last part is important because the login_required decorator automatically sets the next query variable to the HTTP Referrer, which in this case would be the URL of the AJAX call. So we want to replace it with the page we're currently on.

$(document).ready(function() {
    $('body').ajaxComplete(function(e, xhr, settings) {
        if (xhr.status == 278) {
            window.location.href = xhr.getResponseHeader("Location").replace(/\?.*$/, "?next="+window.location.pathname);
        }
    });
});