# Routing between pages with Jinja

# In this video... (TL;DR)


List of all code changes made in this lecture: https://diff-store.com/diff/section09__10_jinja_routing (opens new window)

Note that the code diffs are split into two. One implements a plain menu bar into the app (inside /templates), without using url_for.

The other implements navigation using url_for, and that's in templates_urlfor.

Flask has a function that, given an endpoint's function name, will give us the URL. We can use that for routing in Jinja2 as well.

Let's say we've got these two endpoints in a Flask app:

from flask import redirect, url_for

app = Flask(__name__)

account = None

def home():
  return "Home"

def profile():
  if account:
    return "Profile"
    return redirect(url_for("home"))

Let's assume for a second that the account variable is what lets us check if the user has logged in or not.

In the second endpoint, if there is an account, then we return "Profile". But if there isn't, we'll redirect to the homepage.

Notice that we get the URL to redirect to with the url_for("home") function. This takes the function name for an endpoint--in this case, the function is called home and the endpoint is /homepage. It then returns the address to that function's endpoint, in this case, /homepage.

We could just type the string "/homepage" instead, but this has a few benefits:

  • It becomes more useful as our apps become more complex.
  • It works well with blueprints
  • It means we can change endpoints later on, and as long as we keep the function names the same, our code will still work
  • It's easy to pass arguments to the endpoint functions without having to think too much about query strings and things like that

So really in Flask, every time you have a link or a local address, you should be using url_for instead of hard-coding the URL.

# Code at the start of this lecture

The code is available in the start folder.

We've got a simple Flask app with a few sample pages:

  • Home
  • Login
  • Signup

In each page we have a string that tells us what page it is.

In the Login and Signup pages, we also have a link to the other page (to Signup from Login, and to Login from Signup).

The links are using the standard method:

<a href="/login">Log in instead?</a>

And there are no links on the homepage.

# Code written in this lecture

First, let's change the links in the Signup and Login pages to use url_for:

In the Signup page:

-<a href="/login">Log in instead?</a>
+<a href="{{ url_for('login') }}">Log in instead?</a>

And in the Login page:

-<a href="/signup">Sign up instead?</a>
+<a href="{{ url_for('signup') }}">Sign up instead?</a>

Then, let's also add a navbar to the base page. We could naturally do this using standard links, but we can also use url_for:

<ul class="navigation">
  <li><a href="{{ url_for('home') }}">Home</a></li>
  <li><a href="{{ url_for('login') }}">Log in</a></li>
  <li><a href="{{ url_for('signup') }}">Sign up</a></li>

Notice that we're using a CSS stylesheet, which is linked in the base page like so:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/static/css/styles.css">

We can also use url_for here, although the syntax is slightly different:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="{{ url_for('static', filename='css/style.css') }}">

Instead of passing just the endpoint name, we pass in static. This special name also accepts a filename argument which tells us which file to load from the /static URL. The final URL will be /static/css/style.css.

# Final code at the end of this lecture

This is available in the end folder.