How can I pass data from Flask to JavaScript in a template?

My app makes a call to an API that returns a dictionary. I want to pass information from this dict to JavaScript in the view. I am using the Google Maps API in the JS, specifically, so I'd like to pass it a list of tuples with the long/lat information. I know that render_template will pass these variables to the view so they can be used in HTML, but how could I pass them to JavaScript in the template?

from flask import Flask
from flask import render_template

app = Flask(__name__)

import foo_api

api = foo_api.API('API KEY')

@app.route('/')
def get_data():
    events = api.call(get_event, arg0, arg1)
    geocode = event['latitude'], event['longitude']
    return render_template('get_data.html', geocode=geocode)

Answers:

Answer

The ideal way to go about getting pretty much any Python object into a JavaScript object is to use JSON. JSON is great as a format for transfer between systems, but sometimes we forget that it stands for JavaScript Object Notation. This means that injecting JSON into the template is the same as injecting JavaScript code that describes the object.

Flask provides a Jinja filter for this: tojson dumps the structure to a JSON string and marks it safe so that Jinja does not autoescape it.

<html>
  <head>
    <script>
      var myGeocode = {{ geocode|tojson }};
    </script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <p>Hello World</p>
    <button onclick="alert('Geocode: ' + myGeocode[0] + ' ' + myGeocode[1])" />
  </body>
</html>

This works for any Python structure that is JSON serializable:

python_data = {
    'some_list': [4, 5, 6],
    'nested_dict': {'foo': 7, 'bar': 'a string'}
}
var data = {{ python_data|tojson }};
alert('Data: ' + data.some_list[1] + ' ' + data.nested_dict.foo + 
      ' ' + data.nested_dict.bar);
Answer

Using a data attribute on an HTML element avoids having to use inline scripting, which in turn means you can use stricter CSP rules for increased security.

Specify a data attribute like so:

<div id="mydiv" data-geocode='{{ geocode|tojson }}'>...</div>

Then access it in a static JavaScript file like so:

// Raw JavaScript
var geocode = JSON.parse(document.getElementById("mydiv").dataset.geocode);

// jQuery
var geocode = JSON.parse($("#mydiv").data("geocode"));
Answer

Just another alternative solution for those who want to pass variables to a script which is sourced using flask, I only managed to get this working by defining the variables outside and then calling the script as follows:

    <script>
    var myfileuri = "/static/my_csv.csv"
    var mytableid = 'mytable';
    </script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="/static/test123.js"></script>

If I input jinja variables in test123.js it doesn't work and you will get an error.

Answer

Working answers are already given but I want to add a check that acts as a fail-safe in case the flask variable is not available. When you use:

var myVariable = {{ flaskvar | tojson }};

if there is an error that causes the variable to be non existent, resulting errors may produce unexpected results. To avoid this:

{% if flaskvar is defined and flaskvar %}
var myVariable = {{ flaskvar | tojson }};
{% endif %}
Answer

Well, I have a tricky method for this job. The idea is as follow-

Make some invisible HTML tags like <label>, <p>, <input> etc. in HTML body and make a pattern in tag id, for example, use list index in tag id and list value at tag class name.

Here I have two lists maintenance_next[] and maintenance_block_time[] of the same length. I want to pass these two list's data to javascript using the flask. So I take some invisible label tag and set its tag name is a pattern of list index and set its class name as value at index.

{% for i in range(maintenance_next|length): %}
<label id="maintenance_next_{{i}}" name="{{maintenance_next[i]}}" style="display: none;"></label>
<label id="maintenance_block_time_{{i}}" name="{{maintenance_block_time[i]}}" style="display: none;"></label>
{% endfor%}

After this, I retrieve the data in javascript using some simple javascript operation.

<script>
var total_len = {{ total_len }};

for (var i = 0; i < total_len; i++) {
    var tm1 = document.getElementById("maintenance_next_" + i).getAttribute("name");
    var tm2 = document.getElementById("maintenance_block_time_" + i).getAttribute("name");
    
    //Do what you need to do with tm1 and tm2.
    
    console.log(tm1);
    console.log(tm2);
}
</script>

Answer

Some js files come from the web or library, they are not written by yourself. The code they get variable like this:

var queryString = document.location.search.substring(1);
var params = PDFViewerApplication.parseQueryString(queryString);
var file = 'file' in params ? params.file : DEFAULT_URL;

This method makes js files unchanged(keep independence), and pass variable correctly!

Answer

You can use {{ variable }} anywhere in your template, not just in the HTML part. So this should work:

<html>
<head>
  <script>
    var someJavaScriptVar = '{{ geocode[1] }}';
  </script>
</head>
<body>
  <p>Hello World</p>
  <button onclick="alert('Geocode: {{ geocode[0] }} ' + someJavaScriptVar)" />
</body>
</html>

Think of it as a two-stage process: First, Jinja (the template engine Flask uses) generates your text output. This gets sent to the user who executes the JavaScript he sees. If you want your Flask variable to be available in JavaScript as an array, you have to generate an array definition in your output:

<html>
  <head>
    <script>
      var myGeocode = ['{{ geocode[0] }}', '{{ geocode[1] }}'];
    </script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <p>Hello World</p>
    <button onclick="alert('Geocode: ' + myGeocode[0] + ' ' + myGeocode[1])" />
  </body>
</html>

Jinja also offers more advanced constructs from Python, so you can shorten it to:

<html>
<head>
  <script>
    var myGeocode = [{{ ', '.join(geocode) }}];
  </script>
</head>
<body>
  <p>Hello World</p>
  <button onclick="alert('Geocode: ' + myGeocode[0] + ' ' + myGeocode[1])" />
</body>
</html>

You can also use for loops, if statements and many more, see the Jinja2 documentation for more.

Also, have a look at Ford's answer who points out the tojson filter which is an addition to Jinja2's standard set of filters.

Edit Nov 2018: tojson is now included in Jinja2's standard set of filters.

Answer

Alternatively you could add an endpoint to return your variable:

@app.route("/api/geocode")
def geo_code():
    return jsonify(geocode)

Then do an XHR to retrieve it:

fetch('/api/geocode')
  .then((res)=>{ console.log(res) })
Answer
<script>
    const geocodeArr = JSON.parse('{{ geocode | tojson }}');
    console.log(geocodeArr);
</script>

This uses jinja2 to turn the geocode tuple into a json string, and then the javascript JSON.parse turns that into a javascript array.

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