[Fixed]-Django rest framework api_view vs normal view


REST Framework aside, it’s the same question of when to use class based views versus function based views in general. CBVs in Django are awesome, flexible and save loads of boilerplate code, but sometimes it’s just faster, easier and clearer to use a function based view. Think about it with the same approach you’d take to writing a normal view in Django. REST Framework simply supports both methods of writing view code as it introduces in the tutorial.

Generally go with a CBV unless it’s getting in your way, then keep it simple with a function based view and the decorator. In both Django and the REST Framework, the logic for typical things like lists, pagination and CRUD operations is already written and easily extendable in the form of classes and mixins. If your view logic is doing something notably different, a function based view might be appropriate. And of course you can use both approaches in your app.


Personally, I use the APIView Base Class or @api_view decorator only when I need to do something very specific/custom. For example, to show a list of URLS of the endpoint, aggregate data from different models in a particular manner and so on.

Whenever I deal with usual list, create, update and delete operations I use the other classes (Retrieve, Create, Update and Destroy Views or Mixins).

Example of use of @api_view decorator to make a list of all the endpoints of my app:

from django.core.urlresolvers import NoReverseMatch

from rest_framework.decorators import api_view
from rest_framework.response import Response
from rest_framework.reverse import reverse

from .urls import urlpatterns

def root_endpoint(request, format=None):
    List of all the available resources of this RESTful API.
    endpoints = []

    # loop over url modules
    for urlmodule in urlpatterns:

        # is it a urlconf module?
            is_urlconf_module = True
        except AttributeError:
            is_urlconf_module = False

        # if url is really a urlmodule
        if is_urlconf_module:

            # loop over urls of that module
            for url in urlmodule.urlconf_module.urlpatterns:

                # TODO: configurable skip url in settings
                # skip api-docs url
                if url.name in ['django.swagger.resources.view']:

                # try adding url to list of urls to show
                        'name': url.name.replace('api_', ''),
                        'url': reverse(url.name, request=request, format=format)
                # urls of object details will fail silently (eg: /nodes/<slug>/)
                except NoReverseMatch:

    return Response(endpoints)

This code is on github.

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