differentiate null=True, blank=True in django


When we add a database field in django we generally write models.CharField(max_length=100, null=True, blank=True). The same is done with ForeignKey, DecimalField etc. What is the basic difference in having

  1. null=True only
  2. blank=True only
  3. null=True, blank=True

in respect to different (CharField, ForeignKey, ManyToManyField, DateTimeField) fields. What are the advantages/disadvantages of using 1/2/3?

12/19/2015 7:36:10 AM

Accepted Answer

null=True sets NULL (versus NOT NULL) on the column in your DB. Blank values for Django field types such as DateTimeField or ForeignKey will be stored as NULL in the DB.

blank=True determines whether the field will be required in forms. This includes the admin and your own custom forms. If blank=True then the field will not be required, whereas if it's False the field cannot be blank.

The combo of the two is so frequent because typically if you're going to allow a field to be blank in your form, you're going to also need your database to allow NULL values for that field. The exception is CharFields and TextFields, which in Django are never saved as NULL. Blank values are stored in the DB as an empty string ('').

A few examples:

models.DateTimeField(blank=True) # raises IntegrityError if blank

models.DateTimeField(null=True) # NULL allowed, but must be filled out in a form

Obviously those two options don't make logical sense to use (though, there might be a use case for null=True, blank=False if you want a field to always be required in forms, but optional when dealing with an object through something like the shell.)

models.CharField(blank=True) # No problem, blank is stored as ''

models.CharField(null=True) # NULL allowed, but will never be set as NULL

CHAR and TEXT types are never saved as NULL by Django, so null=True is unnecessary. However, you can manually set one of these fields to None to force set it as NULL. If you have a scenario where that might be necessary, you should still include null=True.

5/12/2018 5:43:51 AM

This is how the ORM maps blank & null fields for Django 1.8

class Test(models.Model):
    charNull        = models.CharField(max_length=10, null=True)
    charBlank       = models.CharField(max_length=10, blank=True)
    charNullBlank   = models.CharField(max_length=10, null=True, blank=True)

    intNull         = models.IntegerField(null=True)
    intBlank        = models.IntegerField(blank=True)
    intNullBlank    = models.IntegerField(null=True, blank=True)

    dateNull        = models.DateTimeField(null=True)
    dateBlank       = models.DateTimeField(blank=True)
    dateNullBlank   = models.DateTimeField(null=True, blank=True)        

The database fields created for PostgreSQL 9.4 are :

  id              serial                    NOT NULL,

  "charNull"      character varying(10),
  "charBlank"     character varying(10)     NOT NULL,
  "charNullBlank" character varying(10),

  "intNull"       integer,
  "intBlank"      integer                   NOT NULL,
  "intNullBlank"  integer,

  "dateNull"      timestamp with time zone,
  "dateBlank"     timestamp with time zone  NOT NULL,
  "dateNullBlank" timestamp with time zone,

The database fields created for MySQL 5.6 are :

     `id`            INT(11)     NOT  NULL    AUTO_INCREMENT,

     `charNull`      VARCHAR(10) NULL DEFAULT NULL,
     `charBlank`     VARCHAR(10) NOT  NULL,
     `charNullBlank` VARCHAR(10) NULL DEFAULT NULL,

     `intNull`       INT(11)     NULL DEFAULT NULL,
     `intBlank`      INT(11)     NOT  NULL,
     `intNullBlank`  INT(11)     NULL DEFAULT NULL,

     `dateNull`      DATETIME    NULL DEFAULT NULL,
     `dateBlank`     DATETIME    NOT  NULL,
     `dateNullBlank` DATETIME    NULL DEFAULT NULL

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