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Simple Pagination

Posted by Armin Ronacher on 2011-02-17 @ 20:26 and filed in Application Structure

Unless you are using JavaScript to dynamically load more contents pagination is a neat concept to structure many items of information into multiple pages. The idea is that if you have 100 items you show 20 per page and have 5 pages in total then.

Simple Pagination Class

If you are using Flask-SQLAlchemy you can use the integrated pagination class it provides. Here is a simple pagination class that does roughly the same without the support for slicing SQLAlchemy query objects:

from math import ceil

class Pagination(object):

    def __init__(self, page, per_page, total_count):
        self.page = page
        self.per_page = per_page
        self.total_count = total_count

    def pages(self):
        return int(ceil(self.total_count / float(self.per_page)))

    def has_prev(self):
        return self.page > 1

    def has_next(self):
        return self.page < self.pages

    def iter_pages(self, left_edge=2, left_current=2,
                   right_current=5, right_edge=2):
        last = 0
        for num in xrange(1, self.pages + 1):
            if num <= left_edge or \
               (num > self.page - left_current - 1 and \
                num < self.page + right_current) or \
               num > self.pages - right_edge:
                if last + 1 != num:
                    yield None
                yield num
                last = num

URLs and Views

So how do you declare URLs and views when using Pagination? The Werkzeug routing system which Flask use supports this nicely with route level defaults. You specify a “default” for page 1 for the bare URL and provide an integer wildcard for other pages:

from flask import redirect


@app.route('/users/', defaults={'page': 1})
def show_users(page):
    count = count_all_users()
    users = get_users_for_page(page, PER_PAGE, count)
    if not users and page != 1:
    pagination = Pagination(page, PER_PAGE, count)
    return render_template('users.html',

Note how this code is returning an 404 error for all pages besides the first page if no items were there to display. This is generally a good idea.

When a user heads to /users/page/1 Flask will redirect him automatically to /users/ to keep the URL unique.

URL Generation Helper

Now how can a template generate a URL to a different page without much hassle? Because the only difference from one URL to the other is the page part in it we can provide a little helper function that wraps url_for to generate a new URL to the same endpoint with a different page:

def url_for_other_page(page):
    args = request.view_args.copy()
    args['page'] = page
    return url_for(request.endpoint, **args)
app.jinja_env.globals['url_for_other_page'] = url_for_other_page

Rendering The Pagination

So how do you render such a pagination? Here is a simple macro that uses the iter_pages method of the pagination class to show a simple pagination:

{% macro render_pagination(pagination) %}
  <div class=pagination>
  {%- for page in pagination.iter_pages() %}
    {% if page %}
      {% if page != pagination.page %}
        <a href="{{ url_for_other_page(page) }}">{{ page }}</a>
      {% else %}
        <strong>{{ page }}</strong>
      {% endif %}
    {% else %}
      <span class=ellipsis></span>
    {% endif %}
  {%- endfor %}
  {% if pagination.has_next %}
    <a href="{{ url_for_other_page(pagination.page + 1)
      }}">Next &raquo;</a>
  {% endif %}
{% endmacro %}

This snippet by Armin Ronacher can be used freely for anything you like. Consider it public domain.