Fix Python – Django Model Field Default Based Off Another Field in Same Model


Asked By – dr jimbob

I have a model that I would like to contain a subjects name and their initials (he data is somewhat anonymized and tracked by initials).

Right now, I wrote

class Subject(models.Model):

    name = models.CharField("Name", max_length=30)
    def subject_initials(self):
        return ''.join(map(lambda x: '' if len(x)==0 else x[0],
                 ' ')))
    # Next line is what I want to do (or something equivalent), but doesn't work with
    # NameError: name 'self' is not defined
    subject_init = models.CharField("Subject Initials", max_length=5, default=self.subject_initials)

As indicated by the last line, I would prefer to be able to have the initials actually get stored in the database as a field (independent of name), but that is initialized with a default value based on the name field. However, I am having issues as django models don’t seem to have a ‘self’.

If I change the line to subject_init = models.CharField("Subject initials", max_length=2, default=subject_initials), I can do the syncdb, but can’t create new subjects.

Is this possible in Django, having a callable function give a default to some field based on the value of another field?

(For the curious, the reason I want to separate my store initials separately is in rare cases where weird last names may have different than the ones I am tracking. E.g., someone else decided that Subject 1 Named “John O’Mallory” initials are “JM” rather than “JO” and wants to fix edit it as an administrator.)

Now we will see solution for issue: Django Model Field Default Based Off Another Field in Same Model


Models certainly do have a “self”! It’s just that you’re trying to define an attribute of a model class as being dependent upon a model instance; that’s not possible, as the instance does not (and cannot) exist before your define the class and its attributes.

To get the effect you want, override the save() method of the model class. Make any changes you want to the instance necessary, then call the superclass’s method to do the actual saving. Here’s a quick example.

def save(self, *args, **kwargs):
    if not self.subject_init:
        self.subject_init = self.subject_initials()
    super(Subject, self).save(*args, **kwargs)

This is covered in Overriding Model Methods in the documentation.

This question is answered By – Elf Sternberg

This answer is collected from stackoverflow and reviewed by FixPython community admins, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0