Django Forms vs Plain HTML Forms


In this article, we discuss creating forms through the Django form class or just creating the forms directly in HTML.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

So, depending on the purpose of the form determines which would be more suitable for a given situation.

So, below we'll talk about the advantages and disadvantages and discuss which approach is better for given situations.

Advantages of Django Forms

So, building forms with Django's form class definitely has advantages.

One major advantage that Django's form class gives is validation. This is the biggest advantage of Django's form class. It was built with validation being the key.

Django's form class provides validation on many forms. For example, if you create a form and there are many blank fields (by default all fields are required meaning a user must enter in a value), the form will be submitted; the user will be told to fill in the blank fields before the form is submitted.

Django's form class also provides validation with many different types of data entry. For example, it has an EmailField that validates email address. So, if a user types in, 'Peter' as his email, Django's form states that this is not a valid email address.

In many ways, it gives validation on all forms and all fronts.

You can validate email address, integers, decimals, so on and so forth.

So validation is the corner of Django's form class. It is an excellent validating tool to make sure that all fields of the form are filled and appropriate for what is being asked.

Another advantage of Django forms is gives ease of use when putting the data taken from a form to a database table. You can use the same variable that makes the form fields and insert the values from them into a database table. It provides ease of use when taking data from a form and inserting the data into a database. If you are doing this, Django's form are very suitable and makes this process simpler.

Disadvantages of Django Forms

So, now for the disadvantages of Django forms.

Because you are using Django's form class, you are restricted to their rules and what tools they currently have available.

Because you create the form in a separate python (.py) file, the whole module must be imported at once. But you can only create a form in a certain way in the py file that wouldn't have as many restrictions as if you are coding it directly in HTML.

So, being restricted to Django's form class rules and having less ability to freely style and customize the form can be a deal breaker in many situations. Styling a form using the Django class, many times, requires much more effort than building the form in HTML.

Advantages of Plain HTML Forms

So, now we'll talk about the advantages of using plain HTML forms.

Using plain HTML forms, you are not restricted to Django's form class rules, so you have more flexibility to make the form however you want.

So HTML forms is all about the freedom to create and style the form the way you want.

Disadvantages of Plain HTML Forms

So the disadvantages of plain HTML forms is that you have to write all of the validation tools yourself.

While Django's forms automatically give you validation, with creating forms directly in HTML, you're on your own to do all validation that may be necessary. This includes email validation, integer validation (if working with numbers), etc.

When to Use Which Type of Form

So which type of form should you use for a given situation?

Of course it depends on what the form is for, how important validation is to this form, etc.

We'll go over specific examples now.

If you're creating a form such as a registration form and especially if you're redirecting the form to another page once the user clicks 'Submit', Django's form class makes it very much easier. It has built-in validation. You don't code the validation yourself. Django's form is much simpler.

If you're creating a form in which the data goes into a database table, Django's form is easier as well. The data is easily transferrable from form to database table with Django forms.

If you creating any type of complex form that creates complex styling, it's easier to go with plain HTML forms. You'll have more direct control.

And this is just a general guidelines on building forms in Django.

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