Upload Files and images Images

Django-Angular emphasizes the use of Ajax request-response cycles while handling form data. One disadvantage of this approach is, that you can’t use it to upload files to the server, because browsers can not serialize file payload into JSON. Instead, in order to upload files one must POST a <form> using enctype="multipart/form-data".

This approach nowadays is outdated. Moreover, it requires the use of an <input type="file"> field, which doesn’t provide a good user experience either. A disfunctional example:

Instead, we nowadays are used to drag files directly into the browser window and drop them onto an input field, which immediately displays the uploaded image. By adding two third party packages, django-angular provides such a solution.

By replacing Django’s form fields FileField against djng.forms.fields.FileField and ImageField against djng.forms.fields.ImageField, the corresponding form field is rendered as a rectangular area, where one can drag a file or image onto, and drop it. It then is uploaded immediately to the server, which keeps it in a temporary folder and returns a thumbail of that file/image together with a reference onto a temporary representation.

In the next step, when the user submits the form, only the reference to that temporary file is added to the post data. Therefore the payload of such a form can be posted using JSON via Ajax. This gives a much smoother user experience, rather than uploading the form together with the image payload using a full request-response cycle.


pip install easy-thumbnails

and add it to the project’s settings.py:


Check that your MEDIA_ROOT points onto a writable directory. Use MEDIA_URL = '/media/' or whatever is appropriate for your project.

Install additional Node dependencies:

npm install ng-file-upload --save

Usage in Forms

First, we must add an endpoint to our application which receives the uploaded images. To the urls.py of the project add:

from djng.views.upload import FileUploadView

urlpatterns = [
    url(r'^upload/$', FileUploadView.as_view(), name='fileupload'),

By default files are uploaded into the directory <MEDIA_ROOT>/upload_temp. This location can be changed using the settings variable DJNG_UPLOAD_TEMP.

In our form declaration, we replace Django’s ImageField by an alternative implementation provided by django-angular. This class accepts two optional additional attributes:

  • fileupload_url: The URL pointing onto the view accepting the uploaded image. If omitted, it defaults to the URL named fileupload.
  • area_label: This is the text rendered inside the draggable area. Don’t confuse this with the label, which is rendered before that area.

An example:

from django.urls import reverse_lazy
from djng.forms import NgModelFormMixin
from djng.forms.fields import ImageField
from . import subscribe_form

class SubscribeForm(NgModelFormMixin, subscribe_form.SubscribeForm):
    scope_prefix = 'my_data'
    form_name = 'my_form'

    photo = ImageField(
        label='Photo of yourself',
        area_label='Drop image here or click to upload',

The Django View responsible for accepting submissions from that form, works just as if Django’s internal django.forms.fields.ImageField would have been used. The attribute cleaned_data['photo'] then contains an object of type FieldFile after a form submission.

Usage in Models

Often you might use a model and rely on Django’s automatic form generation. django-angular does this out-of-the-box, whenever the form implementing the model inherits form NgModelForm.

Usage in Templates

When using this file uploader, the Angular App requires an additional stylesheet and an external JavaScript module:

{% load static %}

    <link href="{% static 'djng/css/fileupload.css' %}" rel="stylesheet" />

    <script src="{% static 'node_modules/ng-file-upload/dist/ng-file-upload.js' %}" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="{% static 'djng/js/django-angular.min.js' %}" type="text/javascript"></script>

additionally, the Angular App must be initialized such as:

angular.module('myApp', [..., 'djng.fileupload', 'djng.forms', ...])
.config(['$httpProvider', function($httpProvider) {
    $httpProvider.defaults.headers.common['X-Requested-With'] = 'XMLHttpRequest';
    $httpProvider.defaults.headers.common['X-CSRFToken'] = '{{ csrf_token }}';


When users upload images, but never submit the corresponding form, the folder holding these temporary images gets filled up. Therefore you should add some kind of (cron)job which cleans up that folder from time to time.

Depending on your setup, also provide some security measure, so that for example, only logged in users have access onto the view for uploading images. Otherwise the temporary folder might get filled with crap.

Security Measures

Altought the relative location of the uploaded files is returned to the client and visible in its browser, it almost is impossible to access images which have not been uploaded by the provided class djng.views.FileUploadView, or rendered by the provided widget djng.forms.widgets.DropFileInput. This is because all file names are cryptographically signed, so to harden them against tampering. Otherwise someone else could pilfer or delete images uploaded to the temporary folder, provided that he’s able to guess the image name.