Standalone Tutorial


The files created in this tutorial can be downloaded as a .zip file.

Installing ToscaWidgets2

Your operating system may provide another way of installing ToscaWidgets2 (yum, apt-get, etc…). Failing that, you can use pip:

$ pip install tw2.core tw2.forms tw2.dynforms tw2.devtools tw2.sqla tw2.jqplugins.jqgrid

TW2 supports many different templating engines. For this tutorial we’ll be writing genshi templates, so install support for that as well:

$ pip install genshi

In this tutorial, we’re also going to be showing off some of the database features of tw2.sqla. For our application we’re going to use elixir; install it too:

$ pip install elixir

Building a Page

To get started, we’ll build a simple “Hello World” application. First, create with the following:

import tw2.core
import tw2.devtools

class Index(tw2.core.Page):
    template = 'genshi:./index.html'


Here were are creating a Page widget, called Index, with a template specified. Index is a special name that matches the root URL. We need to create the template, so in the same directory, create index.html with the following content:

<html xmlns=""
        <title>My Application</title>
        <h1>My Application</h1>
        <p>Hello World!</p>

This is a Genshi template. This simple example just uses static HTML, but the template system has many other features to explore. Now, start the application:


And browse to http://localhost:8000/ to check that it’s working.

To go beyond simple static HTML, the first step is to have Python code executed when the page is generated. The fetch_data method is called at this time, and we can override this to hook the event. We will add simple code that reflects the received request. Add the following to Index in

def fetch_data(self, req):
    self.req = str(req)

The req variable supplied is a WebOb Request object. To access a URL parameter, use req.GET['myparam']. In this example, we simply use the string representation of the request.

And in index.html, change the <p>Hello World!</p> line to:


The $w variable refers to the Python widget object that called the template.

Restart the application and refresh your browser to see this.

Building a Form

We’ll now create a simple form. In this example we’re going to create a movie database. First, add to the top of

import tw2.forms

Now, add another class to this file, before tw2.devtools.dev_server():

class Movie(tw2.forms.FormPage):
    title = 'Movie'
    class child(tw2.forms.TableForm):
        title = tw2.forms.TextField(validator=tw2.core.Required)
        director = tw2.forms.TextField()
        genre = tw2.forms.CheckBoxList(
            options=['Action', 'Comedy', 'Romance', 'Sci-fi'])
        class cast(tw2.forms.GridLayout):
            extra_reps = 5
            character = tw2.forms.TextField()
            actor = tw2.forms.TextField()

Before we explain this code, restart the application and browse to http://localhost:8000/movie to see how the form looks. Have a go an entering values and submitting; notice the difference when you specify a title compared to not.

The FormPage widget adds functionality beyond Page in that it handles POST requests and redisplays the form on validation failures. The TableForm widget displays the form, including the submit button, and does the table layout. The form fields are specified in a fairly self-explanatory manner, noting that validation is specified for title. Here, GridLayout is used as a kind of sub-form, which allows multiple cast members to be specified.

The form does not look particularly appealing. To try to improve this, lets add some CSS. We’ll start with something simple; create myapp.css with the following:

th {
    vertical-align: top;
    text-align: left;
    font-weight: normal;

ul {
    list-style-type: none;

.required th {
    font-weight: bold;

Notice the use of the “required” class. TableForm applies this to rows that contain a field that is required.

Before TableForm will inject myapp.css into the page, we’ll have to add it to the list of resources. Add the following to the top of the Movie class definition just above the line title = 'Movie':

resources = [tw2.core.CSSLink(filename='myapp.css')]

Restart and browse to http://localhost:8000/movie to see the new css in action.

Connecting to a Database

The next step is to save movies to a database. To do this, we’ll use SQLAlchemy and Elixir to define a database model. Create with the following:

import elixir, tw2.sqla
elixir.session = tw2.sqla.transactional_session()
elixir.metadata = elixir.sqlalchemy.MetaData('sqlite:///myapp.db')

This is code is required to set up the database connection. It will use an SQLite database, myapp.db in the current directory. Now, add the code to define our tables (still to

class Movie(elixir.Entity):
    title = elixir.Field(elixir.String)
    director = elixir.Field(elixir.String)
    genre = elixir.ManyToMany('Genre')
    cast = elixir.OneToMany('Cast')

class Genre(elixir.Entity):
    name = elixir.Field(elixir.String)
    def __unicode__(self):

class Cast(elixir.Entity):
    movie = elixir.ManyToOne(Movie)
    character = elixir.Field(elixir.String)
    actor = elixir.Field(elixir.String)

Finally, a small piece of boilerplate code is required at the bottom:


This defines three tables - Movie, Genre and Cast, with relations between them. To learn more about the Elixir syntax, read the Elixir tutorial. The next step is to create our database. In the python interpreter, issue:

import model

We’ll now add the genres to the database:


Now, exit the Python interpreter, and update to connect the Movie form to the database. At the top of the file add:

import tw2.sqla
import model

Replace class Movie(tw2.forms.FormPage): with:

class Movie(tw2.sqla.DbFormPage):
    entity = model.Movie

Add a line just below the class child(tw2.forms.TableForm): line that reads:

id = tw2.forms.HiddenField

And replace genre = tw2.forms.CheckBoxList(...) with:

genre = tw2.sqla.DbCheckBoxList(entity=model.Genre)

Finally, we need to enable the wrapper that automatically commits transactions after each request. Replace tw2.devtools.dev_server() with:


With this done, restart the application and try submitting a movie.

Front Page

We want a front page that provides a list of our movies, and the ability to click on a movie to edit it. We can use a GridLayout for this; replace the Index class in with:

class Index(tw2.sqla.DbListPage):
    entity = model.Movie
    title = 'Movies'
    newlink = tw2.forms.LinkField(link='movie', text='New', value=1)
    class child(tw2.forms.GridLayout):
        title = tw2.forms.LabelField()
        id = tw2.forms.LinkField(link='movie?id=$', text='Edit', label=None)

When you browse to /, you will see a list of movies that have been submitted, and be able to edit each one. When you’re done editing, we want to redirect back to this front page, so add the following to the Movie class:

redirect = '/'

This gives our application just enough functionality to be a basic movie tracking system.


The list of cast is somewhat limited; there’s no easy way to delete a row, any you can’t add more than five people at once. We can use a widget from tw2.dynforms to improve this. GrowingGridLayout is a dynamic grid that can grow client-side. Be aware that tw2.dynforms requires your site’s visitors to have JavaScript enabled.

To use this, update; at the top of the file add:

import tw2.dynforms

Replace this:

class cast(tw2.forms.GridLayout):
    extra_reps = 5


class cast(tw2.dynforms.GrowingGridLayout):

Finally, change this:

class child(tw2.forms.TableForm):

To this:

class child(tw2.dynforms.CustomisedTableForm):

jQuery’s jqGrid

There are a lot of non-core TW2 widget libraries out there, and just to give you a taste, we’ll use one to add one more view to our Movie app.

In your handy-dandy terminal, run:

$ pip install tw2.jqplugins.jqgrid

Go back to editing and add to the top:

import tw2.jqplugins.jqgrid

And add another two whole classes near the bottom of the file but above tw2.devtools.dev_server(repoze_tm=True):

class GridWidget(tw2.jqplugins.jqgrid.SQLAjqGridWidget):
    entity = model.Movie
    excluded_columns = ['id']
    prmFilter = {'stringResult': True, 'searchOnEnter': False}
    pager_options = { "search" : True, "refresh" : True, "add" : False, }
    options = {
        'url': '/db_jqgrid/',
        'imgpath': 'scripts/jqGrid/themes/green/images',
        'width': 900,
        'height': 'auto',

tw2.core.register_controller(GridWidget, 'db_jqgrid')

class Grid(tw2.core.Page):
    title = 'jQuery jqGrid'
    child = GridWidget