Django set default form values

Python Programming

Question or problem about Python programming:

I have a Model as follows:

class TankJournal(models.Model):
    user = models.ForeignKey(User)
    tank = models.ForeignKey(TankProfile)
    ts = models.IntegerField(max_length=15)
    title = models.CharField(max_length=50)
    body = models.TextField()

I also have a model form for the above model as follows:

class JournalForm(ModelForm):
    tank = forms.IntegerField(widget=forms.HiddenInput()) 

    class Meta:
        model = TankJournal
        exclude = ('user','ts')

I want to know how to set the default value for that tank hidden field. Here is my function to show/save the form so far:

def addJournal(request, id=0):
    if not request.user.is_authenticated():
        return HttpResponseRedirect('/')

    # checking if they own the tank
    from django.contrib.auth.models import User
    user = User.objects.get(pk=request.session['id'])

    if request.method == 'POST':
        form = JournalForm(request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
            obj =

            # setting the user and ts
            from time import time
            obj.ts = int(time())
            obj.user = user

            obj.tank = TankProfile.objects.get(pk=form.cleaned_data['tank_id'])

            # saving the test

        form = JournalForm()

        tank = TankProfile.objects.get(user=user, id=id)
    except TankProfile.DoesNotExist:
        return HttpResponseRedirect('/error/')

How to solve the problem:

Solution 1:

You can use initial which is explained here

You have two options either populate the value when calling form constructor:

form = JournalForm(initial={'tank': 123})

or set the value in the form definition:

tank = forms.IntegerField(widget=forms.HiddenInput(), initial=123) 

Solution 2:

Other solution: Set initial after creating the form:

form.fields['tank'].initial = 123

Solution 3:

If you are creating modelform from POST values initial can be assigned this way:

form = SomeModelForm(request.POST, initial={"option": "10"})

Solution 4:

I had this other solution (I’m posting it in case someone else as me is using the following method from the model):

class onlyUserIsActiveField(forms.ModelForm):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(onlyUserIsActiveField, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        self.fields['is_active'].initial = False

    class Meta:
        model = User
        fields = ['is_active']
        labels = {'is_active': 'Is Active'}
        widgets = {
            'is_active': forms.CheckboxInput( attrs={
                            'class':          'form-control bootstrap-switch',
                            'data-size':      'mini',
                            'data-on-color':  'success',
                            'data-on-text':   'Active',
                            'data-off-color': 'danger',
                            'data-off-text':  'Inactive',
                            'name':           'is_active',


The initial is definded on the __init__ function as self.fields['is_active'].initial = False

Solution 5:

As explained in Django docs, initial is not default.

  • The initial value of a field is intended to be displayed in an HTML . But if the user delete this value, and finally send back a blank value for this field, the initial value is lost. So you do not obtain what is expected by a default behaviour.

  • The default behaviour is : the value that validation process will take if data argument do not contain any value for the field.

To implement that, a straightforward way is to combine initial and clean_<field>():

class JournalForm(ModelForm):
    tank = forms.IntegerField(widget=forms.HiddenInput(), initial=123) 


    def clean_tank(self):
        if not self['tank'].html_name in
            return self.fields['tank'].initial
        return self.cleaned_data['tank']

Hope this helps!