Customizing the admin interface

The admin rendering of a plugin is - by design - mostly controlled outside the plugin class. However, the ContentPlugin class does provide a controlled set of options to configure the admin interface. For example, the fieldsets attribute was already mentioned in the previous example code page:

class AnnouncementBlockPlugin(ContentPlugin):
   model = AnnouncementBlockItem
   render_template = "plugins/announcementblock.html"
   category = _("Simple blocks")

   fieldsets = (
       (None, {
           'fields': ('title', 'body',)
       (_("Button"), {
           'fields': ('button_text', 'url',)

The other options are documented here.

Internally, the plugin is rendered in the admin as an inline model, but this is out of scope for the plugin code. In a different context (e.g. frontend editing) this could easily by replaced by another container format.

General metadata

The following attributes control the appearance in the plugin <select> box:

  • verbose_name - The title of the plugin, which reads the verbose_name of the model by default.
  • category - The title of the category.

Changing the admin form

The following attributes control the overall appearance of the plugin in the admin interface:

  • admin_form_template - The template to render the admin interface with.
  • admin_init_template - This optional template is inserted once at the top of the admin interface.
  • form - The form class to use in the admin form. It should inherit from the ContentItemForm class.
  • fieldsets - A tuple of fieldsets, similar to the ModelAdmin class.

The admin_form_template is used for example by the code plugin. It displays the “language” and “line number” fields at a single line. Other plugins, like the rawhtml and text plugins use this setting to hide the form labels. The available templates are:

  • admin/fluent_contents/contentitem/admin_form.html (the default template)
  • admin/fluent_contents/contentitem/admin_form_without_labels.html aka ContentPlugin.ADMIN_TEMPLATE_WITHOUT_LABELS.

The admin_init_template can be used by plugins that need to add some template-based initialization. The text plugin uses this for example to initialize the WYSIWYG editor.

Changing the admin fields

The following attributes control the overall appearance of form fields in the admin interface:

  • raw_id_fields - A tuple of field names, which should not be displayed as a selectbox, but as ID field.

  • filter_vertical - A tuple of field names to display in a vertical filter.

  • filter_horizontal - A tuple of field names to display in a horizontal filter.

  • radio_fields - A dictionary listing all fields to display as radio choice. The key is the field name, the value can be admin.HORIZONTAL / admin.VERTICAL.

  • prepopulated_fields - A dictionary listing all fields to auto-complete. This can be used for slug fields, and works identically to the prepopulated_fields attribute of the ModelAdmin class.

  • formfield_overrides - A dictionary to override form field attributes. Unlike the regular ModelAdmin class, both classes and field names can be used as dictionary key. For example, to specify the max_value of an IntegerField use:

    formfield_overrides = {
        'fieldname': {
            'max_value': 900
  • readonly_fields - A list of fields to display as readonly.

Custom model fields

New in version 0.9.0.

To maintain consistency between plugins, this package provides a few additional model fields which plugins can use. By default, these fields use the standard Django model fields. When one of the optional packages is installed, the fields will use those additional features:

  • fluent_contents.extensions.PluginFileField - The file field uses FileField by default. It displays a file browser when django-any-imagefield is installed.
  • fluent_contents.extensions.PluginHtmlField - The HTML field displays the WYSIWYG editor, which is also used by the text plugin.
  • fluent_contents.extensions.PluginImageField - The file field uses ImageField by default. It displays a file browser when django-any-imagefield is installed.
  • fluent_contents.extensions.PluginUrlField - The URL field uses URLField by default. It displays a URL selector for internal models when django-any-urlfield is installed.

Whenever your plugin uses an image field, file field, WISYWIG editor, or URL field that may refer to internal URL’s, consider using these classes instead of the regular Django fields.

Adding CSS to the admin interface

The plugin allows to define a class Media with the CSS files to include in the admin interface. For example:

class Media:
    css = {
        'screen': ('plugins/myplugin/plugin_admin.css',)

By default, all paths are relative to the STATIC_URL of the Django project.

Each content item has a .inline-ModelName class in the admin interface. This can be used to apply CSS rules to the specific plugin only.

For example, the <textarea> of a RawHtmlItem model form can be styled using:

.inline-RawHtmlItem textarea.vLargeTextField {
  /* allow the OS to come up with something better then Courier New */
  font-family: "Consolas", "Menlo", "Monaco", "Lucida Console", "Liberation Mono", "DejaVu Sans Mono", "Bitstream Vera Sans Mono", "Courier New", monospace;
  padding: 5px; /* 3px is standard */
  width: 606px;

Adding JavaScript behavior

In a similar way, JavaScript can be added to the admin interface:

class Media:
    js = (

Note however, that content items can be dynamically added or removed in the admin interface. Hence the JavaScript file should register itself as “view handler”. A view handler is called whenever the user adds or removes a content item in the admin interface.

In case of the Announcement Block plugin, the general layout of the file would look like:


  var AnnouncementBlockHandler = {

      enable: function($contentitem) {
          var inputs = $contentitem.find("input");
          // ... update the items

      disable: function($contentitem) {
          // deinitialize, if needed

  // Register the view handler for the 'AnnouncementBlockItem' model.
  fluent_contents.plugins.registerViewHandler('AnnouncementBlockItem', AnnouncementBlockHandler);

})(window.jQuery || django.jQuery);

This mechanism can be used to initialize a WYSIWYG editor, or bind custom events to the DOM elements for example. While it’s not demonstrated by the current bundled plugins, you can implement an inline preview/edit switch this way!

The view handler is a JavaScript object, which should have the following methods:


The enable() function is called whenever the user adds the content item. It receives a jQuery object that points to the root of the content item object in the DOM.


The disable() function is called just before the user removes the content item. It receives a jQuery object that points to the root of the content item object in the DOM.


The initialize() function is not required. In case it exists, it will be called once at the start of the page. It’s called right after all plugins are initialized, but just before they are moved to the proper location in the DOM.

Note that the enable() and disable() functions can be called multiple times, because it may also be called when a content item is moved to another placeholder.

In the initialize() function, the following jQuery selectors can be used:

  • .inline-contentitem-group selects all formsets which contain content item forms.
  • .inline-ModelName-group selects the formset which contain the content items of a plugin.
  • .inline-ModelName selects each individual formset item in which a form is displayed, including the empty form placeholder.
  • .inline-ModelName:not(.empty-form) selects all active formset items.
  • .inline-ModelName.empty-form selects the placeholder formset which is used to create new items.

After the initialize() function has run, the items are moved to the apropriate placeholders, so the group selectors can only select all items reliably in the initialize() function. The other selectors remain valid, as they operate on individual elements.