This is a post about some of the magic that Django provides out of the box. What I wanted to accomplish is to filter the option of a forms.ModelChoiceField based on a ForeignKey of a ForeignKey.


My Project has two apps: Appointment and Accounts. Appointment provides views to book an appointment for certain Treatment. My clients (intended for small business owners/service providers) can create accounts on my platform, that are stored in the Django-provided django.contrib.auth.models User models. In addition to the basic account details I extend certain logics and User details in the Accounts app. Most importantly for this post, each user is assigned a ClientSettings entry, where the user can provide a name for their business, i.e. company_name. This value also provides unique url on my platform. It should be obvious that if you wanted to book an appointment at testcompany, you should only see those Treatment options that are affiliated with that company. So calling url, should only show those Treatments that where created by the user who has testcompany set in their ClientSettings entry.

To accomplish this it was clear to me that I had to create a queryset for my form. Initially I wanted to pass the filtering right in the forms.ModelChoiceField definition:

not working

 1from django import forms
 2from .models import Treatment
 3from phonenumber_field.formfields import PhoneNumberField
 6class ChooseTreatmentsForm(forms.Form):
 7    name = forms.ModelChoiceField(
 8        queryset=Treatment.objects.filter(active=True).filter(company_name=Treatment.user.clientsettings.company_name).all()
 9    )
10    client_name = forms.CharField(
11        max_length=150,
12    )
13    client_surname = forms.CharField(
14        max_length=150,
15    )
16    client_mail = forms.EmailField(
17        required=True,
18    )
19    client_phone = PhoneNumberField()

This did however not work. It didn’t matter if I imported the User nor the ClientSettings model. I was able to filter it with the same query in the Django Shell, but not in my actual Strange.

Then I found out various things:

  • I should put the queryset filtering into the form’s __init__ function: This makes sure that the options are not cached and generated at each call of the form.
  • I have to actually pass the value of company_name to the form: To be honest, this was obvious, but I worked on other ways to do so, like retrieving it from the session value, where I stored it in the view, which did not work.
  • Something was off with the dotted values. I was missing some magic, since it worked in the shell, but not in

My rewritten

 1class ChooseTreatmentsForm(forms.Form):
 2    name = forms.ModelChoiceField(queryset=Treatment.objects.none())
 3    client_name = forms.CharField(
 4        max_length=150,
 5    )
 6    client_surname = forms.CharField(
 7        max_length=150,
 8    )
 9    client_mail = forms.EmailField(
10        required=True,
11    )
12    client_phone = PhoneNumberField()
14    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
15        company_name = kwargs.pop("company_name")
16        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)
17        self.fields["name"].queryset = Treatment.objects.filter(
18            user__clientsettings__company_name=company_name, active=True
19        )

First off, I had to define the name field (i.e. the name of the Treatment) with an empty queryset. This makes sure that the field is generated correctly and showing no options, when there are no Treatments affiliated with the company_name.
To generate the choices for the field, it is necessary to plug into the forms __init__ function. The function receives the parameter of company_name from the instantiation in the view (see further down) and stores it in a variable with the same name, through the pop method (reminder: pop removes a key form a dict and returns it’s value). Next the function calls upon the regular form instantiation through super() and then sets the queryset for field name with my desired filter on line 18.
Django does not, in this case anyways, use dotted properties. It uses double underscores: magic. To better understand this, I should show you my models: appointment/

 1from django.db import models
 3from datetime import timedelta
 4from django.contrib.auth.models import User
 7class Treatment(models.Model):
 8    name = models.CharField(
 9        max_length=200, unique=True, blank=False, default="New Treatment"
10    )
11    price = models.IntegerField(default=0, blank=False)
12    duration = models.DurationField(default="00:15:00", blank=False)
13    description = models.CharField(
14        max_length=500, default="This is the description of the treatment."
15    )
16    client_count = models.IntegerField(default=1)
17    active = models.BooleanField(default=True)
18    user = models.ForeignKey(User, on_delete=models.CASCADE)
20    def __str__(self) -> str:
21        return f"{}, {self.duration} minutes, Price: {self.price} MXN"

links each Treatment to a User.


 1from django.db import models
 3from django.contrib.auth.models import User
 6class ClientSettings(models.Model):
 7    user = models.OneToOneField(User, on_delete=models.CASCADE)
 8    company_name = models.CharField(max_length=150)
 9    address = models.CharField(max_length=250)
10    servable_client = models.PositiveIntegerField()

links each User to a ClientSettings.

So to reach the ClientSettings for each User for each Treatment I have to filter user__clientsettings__company_name, using double underscores to successfully access the linked models.

Now to the last still open point: How to pass the parameter to the form upon instantiation? Here’s are the relevant parts of my

 2def choose_treatments(request, company_name):
 3    # get company name from url and save to session
 4    # e.g.
 5    company_name = request.build_absolute_uri().split("/")[-3]
 6    request.session["company_name"] = company_name
 8    if request.method == "POST":
 9        form = ChooseTreatmentsForm(request.POST, company_name=company_name)
10        if form.is_valid():
11            (...)
12            return redirect("calendarview", company_name=company_name)
13    else:
14        form = ChooseTreatmentsForm(company_name=company_name)
15    return render(request, "appointment/choose_treatments.html", {"form": form})

Since this is the first view a user will call on each company’s (my clients) page, the company_name is extracted1 from the url and stored in session on lines 5 and 6. Line 9 and 14 show how a form is instantiated with a parameter, which is then received in as shown above.

This is how I successfully passed a dynamic parameter to a form and filtered the form’s output based, namely the ModelChoiceField, on it.

  1. the relevant part of the projects

    2urlpatterns = [
    3    (...)
    4    path("<company_name>/", include("appointment.urls")),
    5    (...)