Creating / Generating a URL Friendly Snippet in Django

When generating URLs that say something about the content it contains, you usually have the need to create url-friendly strings (such as “creating-generating-a-url-friendly-snippet-in-django” for this post). Earlier today I had the need build something like that in Django, but came up empty handed for a while – simply because I didn’t realize that they’re called slugs in the Django documentation (which in turn inherited it from the print paper world). That helped quite a bit, and here’s the things you need to know:

If you want your model to perform validation and automagically add a database index for the slug, put in a SlugField in your model. You could use a regular CharField, but this will not provide any validation of the field in the admin interface (and you’d have to add db_index yourself). This will however not populate the field with a value, but this stack overflow question has a few pointers on how you could implement that. I’ll cite the interesting parts here:

from django.template.defaultfilters import slugify

class test(models.Model):
    q = models.CharField(max_length=30)
    s = models.SlugField()

    def save(self, *args, **kwargs):
        if not
            self.s = slugify(self.q)

        super(test, self).save(*args, **kwargs)

This will populate the slug field the first time the entry is saved, and will not update the slug value if the object itself is updated.

You can however also handle this yourself in the get_absolute_url of your object, if you don’t need to perform any lookups on the value (although you could still save it to avoid regenerating it later). This will also give you the current slug for the entry (again, if you only use it as a part of the URL and do not validate it in any way):

from django.template.defaultfilters import slugify

def test(models.Model):
    q = models.CharField(max_length=30)

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        return ('reviewerer.views.sites_detail', [str(, slugify(self.q)])

Hopefully that will help you solve your issue .. or at least search for the correct term next time :-)

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