September 27, 2018

Flask pagination macro

In this post you’ll find out how to create a pagination with Jinja macro feature.

pagination demo


  • show preconfigured limited number of pages at once
  • collapse invisible pages under ...
  • provide previous/next navigation buttons

Jinja templates for Bootstrap4

I’ve created 3 tier structure of Jinja templates to use Bootstrap4.

First - bootstrap4_base.html - loads css and js files from CDN and defines major blocks:

  • head - holds content of the <head> tag and defines title, metas, styles
  • body - holds content of the <body> tag and defines navbar, content, scripts
  • navbar - for navigation bar
  • content - for boostrap container (tag with class="container")
  • scripts - goes in the end of the body, here is why

Blocks may be extended or/and overwritten in the later templatesThis template follows Bootstrap4 intro guide

Second - page_base.html - creates navbar and extends content block.It shows all the flash messages (the ones invoked with flask flash function) and adds page_content.That one will be extended in the last template and holds actual content.

Third - index.html - will overwrite title block and extend page_content

Hierarchy of templates is achieved with using of {% extends "<parent_template.html" %} block to refer to parent template.

To extend a block - scripts for example - inside child template:

{% block scripts %}
    {{ super() }}
(% endblock %)

Drop super to just overwrite it.

Jinja pagination macro

Macros are comparable with functions in regular programming languages. They are useful for putting often used idioms into reusable functions to not repeat yourself (“DRY”). Macro is a bare block that starts with {% macro function_name(formal_params) %}. It holds the HTML, or rather templated Jinja code that will be reused. I’m putting it’s code into separate file - _macros.html.


  1. import it with {% import "_macros.html" as macros %}
  2. call it with {{ macros.function_name(actual_params) }}

Bootstrap pagination follows that doc

I’ve tried to put as little logic in the macro itself and do all the calculations in the flask view. My version needs 2 params:

  1. endpoint - the name of flask endpoint provided to url_for which builds the actual link to select page
  2. pages list if dictionaries, each one has
  • class key to define if link is active, normal or disabled
  • page_label show the page number or navigation icons
  • href - additional param for url_for which will hold page

Macro code:

{% macro pagination_widget(pages, endpoint) %}
<nav aria-label="Page navigation example">
    <ul class="pagination">
        {% for p in pages %}
        <li class="page-item {{p['class']}}">
            <a href="{{ url_for(endpoint, page = p['href'], **kwargs) }}"
                <span aria-hidden="true">{{p['page_label'] | safe}}</span>
                <span class="sr-only">{{p['page_label'] | safe}}</span>

        {% endfor %}
{% endmacro %}

Flask endpoint

Endpoint code relies on a Pager class to prepare pages. It first needs to get the page number from URL parameters. The actual data I’m using is just a list of numbers up to a count. In real world it’s going to be a query to the database like SELECT column from table LIMIT Y OFFSET X. Where X - is a page size * current page (zero based), Y - is a page_size.

OFFSET may be slow with big numbers - it’s better to use Sleek mode

Flask endpoint:

def index():
    page = int(request.args.get('page', 1))

    count = 300
    data = range(count)

    pager = Pager(page, count)
    pages = pager.get_pages()

    offset = (page - 1) * current_app.config['PAGE_SIZE']
    limit = current_app.config['PAGE_SIZE']
    data_to_show = data[offset: offset + limit]

    return render_template('index.html', pages=pages, data_to_show=data_to_show)

Pager class

This class prepares a pages list for macro. To do the calculations it needs the number of all items and the current page. Page size and a number of visible pages are read from app config.

Difficult part was to show exactly predefined number of links to another pages. Invisible pages are collapsed under ....

App configuration

App config contains two parameters:

  1. PAGE_SIZE - how many elements show in a page
  2. VISIBLE_PAGE_COUNT - how may links to pages how in pages including ...s

    app = Flask(__name__)
    app.secret_key = os.urandom(42)
    app.config['PAGE_SIZE'] = 20
    app.config['VISIBLE_PAGE_COUNT'] = 10

The whole code is available at GitHub

Do you have another useful macro? Drop me a message on LinkedIn

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© Alexey Smirnov 2021