Django – what is the difference between render(), render_to_response() and direct_to_template()?

Django – what is the difference between render(), render_to_response() and direct_to_template()?

Whats the difference (in language a python/django noob can understand) in a view between render(), render_to_response() and direct_to_template()?
e.g. from Nathan Borror's basic apps examples
def comment_edit(request, object_id, template_name='comments/edit.html'):
    comment = get_object_or_404(Comment, pk=object_id, user=request.user)
    # ...
    return render(request, template_name, {
        'form': form,
        'comment': comment,

But I've also seen
    return render_to_response(template_name, my_data_dictionary,

    return direct_to_template(request, template_name, my_data_dictionary)

Whats the difference, what to use in any particular situation?


Answer 1:

render(request, template[, dictionary][, context_instance][, content_type][, status][, current_app])

render() is a brand spanking new shortcut for render_to_response in 1.3 that will automatically use RequestContext that I will most definitely be using from now on.

render_to_response(template[, dictionary][, context_instance][, mimetype])¶

render_to_response is your standard render function used in the tutorials and such. To use RequestContext you’d have to specify context_instance=RequestContext(request)

direct_to_template is a generic view that I use in my views (as opposed to in my urls) because like the new render() function, it automatically uses RequestContext and all its context_processors.

But direct_to_template should be avoided as function based generic views are deprecated. Either use render or an actual class, see

I’m happy I haven’t typed RequestContext in a long, long time.

Answer 2:

Rephrasing Yuri, Fábio, and Frosts answers for the Django noob (i.e. me) – almost certainly a simplification, but a good starting point?

  • render_to_response() is the “original”, but requires you putting context_instance=RequestContext(request) in nearly all the time, a PITA.

  • direct_to_template() is designed to be used just in without a view defined in but it can be used in to avoid having to type RequestContext

  • render() is a shortcut for render_to_response() that automatically supplies context_instance=Request….
    Its available in the django development version (1.2.1) but many have created their own shortcuts such as this one, this one or the one that threw me initially, Nathans

Answer 3:

Render is

def render(request, *args, **kwargs):
    """ Simple wrapper for render_to_response. """
    kwargs['context_instance'] = RequestContext(request)
    return render_to_response(*args, **kwargs)

So there is really no difference between render_to_response except it wraps your context making the template pre-processors work.

Direct to template is a generic view.

There is really no sense in using it here because there is overhead over render_to_response in the form of view function.

Answer 4:

From django docs:

render() is the same as a call to
render_to_response() with a
context_instance argument that that
forces the use of a RequestContext.

direct_to_template is something different. It’s a generic view that uses a data dictionary to render the html without the need of the, you use it in Docs here

Answer 5:

Just one note I could not find in the answers above. In this code:

context_instance = RequestContext(request)
return render_to_response(template_name, user_context, context_instance)

What the third parameter context_instance actually does? Being RequestContext it sets up some basic context which is then added to user_context. So the template gets this extended context. What variables are added is given by TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS in For instance django.contrib.auth.context_processors.auth adds variable user and variable perm which are then accessible in the template.