Custom BoxesΒΆ

We have defined our new publishable object, but something still remains a little unclear: how to embed the video in the HTML page. In this part of walkthrough, we will present you a way that is preferred when working with Ella. These are so-called boxes.

As described in Boxes, boxes are something you can call an include on steroids. Boxes behave very much like standard Django {% include %} templatetag, but are suited to be used with publishable objects. They do following things for you so you don’t need to care about them:

  • Template path resolution
  • Object-specific context within the included template
  • Ability to accept advanced parameters

Now back to the Video publishable subclass. What we want to achieve is that our Video is being rendered in the page. For this, we will create a custom Box subclass. Here is, how a desired result will look when embedding the video in the page:

<h1>Watch the video right here!</h1>

{% box video_player for video_object %}
    width: 400
    height: 200
{% endbox %}

The first thing you need to do is to define the box sublcass itself:

# in
from import Box

class VideoBox(Box):
    def get_context(self):
        context = super(VideoBox, self).get_context()
            'width': self.params.get('width', '400'),
            'height': self.params.get('height', '200')
        return context

Note the get_context method. Since width and height parameters are specific to our VideoBox and not recognized by other boxes, we need to handle them and pass them into the include context. self.params is a dictionary holding parameters used to call the box. We provide sane defaults when the parameters are not provided so that we can still call the box by using simple {% box video_player for video_object %}{% endbox %}.

Next step is to let Ella know, that we want a special type of box to be used with our Video. If we didn’t do that, Ella would use a basic Box class which is missing the width and height parameters. To tie our model with the VideoBox set the box_class class variable on the Video model:

class Video(Publishable):
    box_class = VideoBox

In order to actually render something we also need to create a HTML template. Box templates are placed in box directory within paths where Django template finders are able to reach them (if you are unsure what a template finder is, please refer to the Docs). The name of the box also serves as name of the template to use. In our case, the name of the box is video_player so the template name is going to be video_player.html. Boxes provide a template search fallback which we’re not gonna discuss here to keep the thing simple. For further information, see Templatetags.

Our box is fairly simple. We are gonna use the code provided by YouTube and it will look like this:

<!-- in templates/box/video_player.html -->
<iframe width="{{ width }}" height="{{ height }}" src="{{ object.code }}" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

See how nicely box integrates all things we have so far together. It uses object.code to build up the URL and width and height attributes to define the video player dimensions.