Posted on May 02, 2014 By copyninja under development

url_for is normally used to avoid hard coding of URL in Flask based webapps. I've been using it in SILPA port written using Flask by. But this was written long back and written as POC to show for Santhosh author of SILPA app which even managed to go into production :-). Recently I started organizing the code and started using flask.Blueprint which was previously written using flask.views.MethodView class and here I started facing problem with old templates. I'm just gonna explain what is the difference when using url_for with MethodView and Blueprint.

Lets have some sample code for MethodView first, this code is from Flask documentation.

from flask.views import MethodView

class UserAPI(MethodView):

       def get(self):
           users = User.query.all()

       def post(self):
           user = User.from_form_data(request.form)

app.add_url_rule('/users/', view_func=UserAPI.as_view('users'))

Here we have a view which is derived from MethodView which has logic on how to handle the requests. We use add_url_rule to register rule to handle /users/ url end point and we pass the class as view function which is done by as_view class method and we can refer this method in our Jinja2 templates using name users. So a statement like


in our templates will be converted to /users/ URL when page is rendered to client by Flask.

Now when I replaced the MethodView in favor of Blueprint I started getting up werkzeug.routing.BuildError thrown on my face and I had no clue why!. Yeah I know I'm bad at reading documentation but even after reading documentation I was still thinking that


should return me a proper URL and I was wondering why its failing. Finally after re-reading documentation for url_for it was becoming clear to me, url_for definition looks like below

flask.url_for(endpoint, **values)

Here endpoint is actually a function which is supposed to be serving the URL and **values is the arguments for this function. The URL in question should be defined in python code using decorator. In my case following is the new function serving the web pages for SILPA.

bp = Blueprint('frontend', __name__)

@bp.route(_BASE_URL, defaults={'page': 'index.html'})
@bp.route(_BASE_URL + '<page>')
def serve_pages(page):
       if page == "index.html":
          return render_template('index.html', title='SILPA',
       elif page == "License":
          return render_template('license.html', title='SILPA License',
       elif page == "Credits":
           return render_template('credits.html', title='Credits',
       elif page == "Contact":
           return render_template('contact.html', title='Contact SILPA Team',
           # modules requested!.
           if page in _display_module_map:
               return render_template(_display_module_map[page] + '.html',
                                    title=page, main_page=_BASE_URL,
               # Did we encounter something which is not registered by us?
               return abort(404)

You can ignore function code but just note the decorators, here I'm registering the function serve_pages with page as argument for URL patterns / and /<page>, _BASE_URL here is mount point of application it can be just / or /mountpoint depending on that URL registered changes. Now I need to modify code for all url_for in my template to look like below

url_for('.serve_pages', page='/License') # for /License
url_for('.serve_pages') # which will turn in to /index.html

The . in front of function is for referring current Blueprint, in my case the Flask will consider it as frontend.serve_pages as function name and generates appropriate URL at run time.

So my fault was misunderstanding endpoint argument as URL endpoint but where as its actually function name supposed to serve the page. But when using MethodViews I can simply convert class to a function with my preferred name just like UserAPI.as_view('/') so url_for('/') just works.