Date

I have a somewhat difficult relationship with Django's admin site. It's a very useful feature, but I haven't really done enough with it to know when I'm going to hit a wall, if that wall's in the code or in my understanding, and how hard it's going to be to climb over the wall.

This time I wanted to have inline admin forms, except that I didn't actually want to have the forms there, I just wanted to have links to the objects — and not their views on the actual site, but on the admin site. As far as I can tell, there's no built-in support for this.

According to the admin docs, there are two subclasses of InlineModelAdmin: TabularInline and StackedInline. Looking at django/contrib/admin/options.py confirms this. And as the docs say, the only difference is the template they use. The stacked version comes pretty close when we add all the fields to an InlineModelAdmin subclass's exclude array, but it doesn't have the link.

To solve this we first create a new subclass:

class LinkedInline(admin.options.InlineModelAdmin):
    template = "admin/edit_inline/linked.html"

When you want to create inline links to a model, you subclass this new LinkedInline class. So to use a slightly contrived example, if we have a Flight with Passengers:

class PassengerInline(LinkedInline):
    model = models.Passenger
    extra = 0
    exclude = [ "name", "sex" ] # etc

class FlightAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    inlines = [ PassengerInline ]

And yes, we have to exclude all the fields explicitly: an empty fields tuple or list is ignored.

The new template is easiest to create by cutting down aggressively the stacked template. Like this:

{% load i18n %}
<div class="inline-group">
  <h2>{{ inline_admin_formset.opts.verbose_name_plural|title}}</h2>
{{ inline_admin_formset.formset.management_form }}
{{ inline_admin_formset.formset.non_form_errors }}

{% for inline_admin_form in inline_admin_formset %}
<div class="inline-related {% if forloop.last %}last-related{% endif %}">
  <h3><b>{{ inline_admin_formset.opts.verbose_name|title }}:</b>&nbsp;{% if inline_admin_form.original %}{{ inline_admin_form.original }}{% else %} #{{ forloop.counter }}{% endif %}
    {% if inline_admin_formset.formset.can_delete and inline_admin_form.original %}<span class="delete">{{ inline_admin_form.deletion_field.field }} {{ inline_admin_form.deletion_field.label_tag }}</span>{% endif %}
  </h3>
  {{ inline_admin_form.pk_field.field }}
  {{ inline_admin_form.fk_field.field }}
</div>
{% endfor %}
</div>

The primary/foreign key fields are necessary to keep Django happy.

The result looks about right, it just lacks the links. It seems that Django doesn't give the template all the information we need to make them work: there's root_path that gives us /admin/, app_label contains the application's name and inline_admin_form.original.id contains the id of the inline object. What is lacking is the path component that names the model. I don't think it's available by default (is there a clean way to ask Django what's available in a template's context?), so we need to add it. Amend LinkedInline to look like this:

class LinkedInline(admin.options.InlineModelAdmin):
    template = "admin/edit_inline/linked.html"
    admin_model_path = None

    def __init__(self, *args):
        super(LinkedInline, self).__init__(*args)
        if self.admin_model_path is None:
            self.admin_model_path = self.model.__name__.lower()

Now inline_admin_formset.opts.admin_model_path will be bound to the lowercase name of the inline object's model, which is what the admin site uses in its paths.

With this, we can now replace the inline-related div in the template with this:

<div class="inline-related {% if forloop.last %}last-related{%  endif %}">
  <h3><b>{{ inline_admin_formset.opts.verbose_name|title  }}:</b>&nbsp;<a href="{{ root_path }}{{ app_label }}/{{ inline_admin_formset.opts.admin_model_path }}/{{ inline_admin_form.original.id }}/">{% if inline_admin_form.original %}{{ inline_admin_form.original }}{% else %} #{{ forloop.counter }}{% endif %}</a>
    {% if inline_admin_formset.formset.can_delete and inline_admin_form.original %}<span class="delete">{{ inline_admin_form.deletion_field.field }} {{ inline_admin_form.deletion_field.label_tag }}</span>{% endif %}
  </h3>
  {{ inline_admin_form.pk_field.field }}
  {{ inline_admin_form.fk_field.field }}
</div>

That's it. Now Flights get links to Passengers without big forms cluttering up the page.