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Lightweight template tags for neater hierarchical navigation

Project description

Handling which navigation element is active in a particular template can become annoying. Template blocks can be defined and later overriden to “activate” a class on a particular navigational element, but thats gets ugly!

Lineage makes things neater by defining your conditions centrally, and it looks like this:

{% load lineage %}

    <li class="{% ancestor '/home/' %}"><a href="/home/">Home</a></li>
    <li class="{% ancestor '/blog/' %}"><a href="/blog/">Blog</a></li>
    <li class="{% ancestor '/about/' %}"><a href="/about/">About</a></li>

When an ancestor tag is evaludated, it compares it’s argument to the page URL. If the argument string matches the start of the current pages URL, it outputs “active”. It’s that simple!

Read on for accepted arguments:


Install using pip:

pip install django-lineage

Add 'lineage' to INSTALLED_APPS in



The ancestor tag needs to, of course, be loaded into your template:

{% load lineage %}

The simplest way to use Lineage is the aformentioned ancestor tag. Again if the argument matches the start of the page URL it outputs “active”, this should handle most use cases:

{% ancestor '/arbitrary/path/' %}

But wait… ancestor can also handle variables, filters and all that stuff:

{% ancestor some_variable|somefilter %}

Or even full blown url tag type reverse resolution (Behind the scenes the url tag derives our expected argument - a URL path string.)

{% ancestor ‘core:model_detail’ %}


By default ancestor outputs “active” if it’s argument matches the start of the page URL. You can globally set the output of the ancestor tag by adding LINEAGE_ANCESTOR_PHRASE = 'newphrase' to


If fine-grain control is what your after, you’ll be looking for the ifancestor/endifancestor combo:

{% ifancestor 'pattern_name' %}
    This text here is only renderd if the
    URL argument is an ancestor.
{% endifancestor %}

It accepts the same exact arguments as ancestor, but allows you to define, on a per definition basis, what the output will be.


Lineage depends on sensible URL hierarchies, because it compares paths using regex matching. The {% ifancestor '/base/' %} block will be true if the current URL begins with that URL. For example /base/ and /base/section/page/ return true, but /other/path/ and /base (missing trailing slash) will not.

request must be present in the request context, since it’s used to determine the current URL. Django has a context preprocessor that can insert it for you.

Project details

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