Django FileField with upload_to determined at runtime

Django FileField with upload_to determined at runtime

I'm trying to set up my uploads so that if user joe uploads a file it goes to MEDIA_ROOT/joe as opposed to having everyone's files go to MEDIA_ROOT. The problem is I don't know how to define this in the model. Here is how it currently looks:
class Content(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    user = models.ForeignKey(User)
    file = models.FileField(upload_to='.')

So what I want is instead of '.' as the upload_to, have it be the user's name.
I understand that as of Django 1.0 you can define your own function to handle the upload_to but that function has no idea of who the user will be either so I'm a bit lost.
Thanks for the help!


Answer 1:

You’ve probably read the documentation, so here’s an easy example to make it make sense:

def content_file_name(instance, filename):
    return '/'.join(['content', instance.user.username, filename])

class Content(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    user = models.ForeignKey(User)
    file = models.FileField(upload_to=content_file_name)

As you can see, you don’t even need to use the filename given – you could override that in your upload_to callable too if you liked.

Answer 2:

This really helped. For a bit more brevity’s sake, decided to use lambda in my case:

file = models.FileField(
    upload_to=lambda instance, filename: '/'.join(['mymodel', str(, filename]),

Answer 3:

A note on using the ‘instance’ object’s pk value. According to the documentation:

In most cases, this object will not have been saved to the database yet, so if it uses the default AutoField, it might not yet have a value for its primary key field.

Therefore the validity of using pk depends on how your particular model is defined.

Answer 4:

If you have problems with migrations you probably should be using @deconstructible decorator.

import datetime
import os
import unicodedata

from import default_storage
from django.utils.deconstruct import deconstructible
from django.utils.encoding import force_text, force_str

class UploadToPath(object):
    def __init__(self, upload_to):
        self.upload_to = upload_to

    def __call__(self, instance, filename):
        return self.generate_filename(filename)

    def get_directory_name(self):
        return os.path.normpath(force_text(

    def get_filename(self, filename):
        filename = default_storage.get_valid_name(os.path.basename(filename))
        filename = force_text(filename)
        filename = unicodedata.normalize('NFKD', filename).encode('ascii', 'ignore').decode('ascii')
        return os.path.normpath(filename)

    def generate_filename(self, filename):
        return os.path.join(self.get_directory_name(), self.get_filename(filename))


class MyModel(models.Model):
    file = models.FileField(upload_to=UploadToPath('files/%Y/%m/%d'), max_length=255)