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DRF – Browsable API

Part 7 of 8 in the series Django REST Framework

As per our last post, we can access our APIs in browser. Let’s explore some options to customize the browsable API for our Django REST Framework APIs.

There are two options we will check :

  1. Customize the output generated by DRF itself.
  2. Use YASG library (Yet Another Swagger Generator).

You can download the code for this example from here :

Option 1 : Customize DRF Browsable API

Step 1 : Create templates directory in your project

If templates directory does not exist, then create as shown below. and Inside templates create “rest_framework/api.html”.

(venv) $ pwd
(venv) $ ls 
db.sqlite3       quotes          restapi         templates
(venv) $ find templates/

Step 2 : Update

(venv) $ vi restapi/

Update ‘DIRS’ in Templates list to include newly created templates directory as shown below.

        'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
        'DIRS': [BASE_DIR, os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')],
        'APP_DIRS': True,
        'OPTIONS': {
            'context_processors': [

Lot of times, this settings variables do not work for one or other reason. In such cases, just remember that is another python code only, so you can just print any variable for debugging as show above. When you run server again, it will print the TEMPLATES variable.

Step 3 : Update api.html in templates

Add below code in newly created api.html in templates/rest_framework directory :

{% extends "rest_framework/base.html" %}

{% block bootstrap_theme %}
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css">
{% endblock %}

What above code does is, it’s extending rest_framework library’s base.html template file. Then it’s using free darkly theme available at (you can check here : You can use any bootstrap theme. This will override default bootstrap theme being used by browsable API. After these changes, run the server again and access the api page, it shall look like below.

Customized Browsable DRF API

So this is just theme customization, You can change many more blocks or even override complete output generation also. You can check more details here.

Option 2 : Using YASG Library

YASG, as the name says, is Yet Another Swagger Generator. We will follow this steps to install the library and create our online docs. Check here.

Step 1: Installation

(venv) $ pip install -U drf-yasg
(venv) $ pip install packaging
(venv) $ pip list
Package             Version   
------------------- ----------
asgiref             3.2.3     
certifi             2019.11.28
chardet             3.0.4     
coreapi             2.3.3     
coreschema          0.0.4     
Django              3.0.2     
django-filter       2.2.0     
djangorestframework 3.11.0    
drf-yasg            1.17.1    
idna                2.9       
inflection          0.3.1     
itypes              1.1.0     
Jinja2              2.11.1    
Markdown            3.1.1     
MarkupSafe          1.1.1     
packaging           20.1      
pip                 19.3.1    
Pygments            2.5.2     
pyparsing           2.4.6     
pytz                2019.3    
requests            2.23.0    
ruamel.yaml         0.16.10   
ruamel.yaml.clib    0.2.0     
setuptools          45.0.0    
six                 1.14.0    
sqlparse            0.3.0     
uritemplate         3.0.1     
urllib3             1.25.8    
wheel               0.33.6    
venv) $ 

Add drf_yasg in INSTALLED_APPS in for using it.


Step 2 : Update

Change as below, newly added code is shown below “#For yasg” comment in each section :

from django.contrib import admin
from django.urls import path,include

# For yasg 
from django.urls import re_path
from rest_framework import permissions
from drf_yasg.views import get_schema_view
from drf_yasg import openapi
from django.views.generic import TemplateView

# For yasg 
schema_view = get_schema_view(
      title="Quotes API",
      description="Tutorial : Quotes API",
      license=openapi.License(name="BSD License"),

urlpatterns = [
    # For yasg 
    re_path(r'^swagger(?P<format>\.json|\.yaml)$', schema_view.without_ui(cache_timeout=0), name='schema-json'),
    re_path(r'^swagger/$', schema_view.with_ui('swagger', cache_timeout=0), name='schema-swagger-ui'),
    path('openapi/', TemplateView.as_view(template_name="swagger-ui/dist/index.html")),

Now run the server again and you can check newly generated browsable swagger API in different formats as below :

  1. Yaml format :
    This will download swagger documentation in yaml format.
  2. Json format :
YASG Yet Another Swagger Generator output in json format

3. OpenAPI format :

YASG Yet Another Swagger Generator output in OpenAPI Format

4. Browsable API :

As you can see, all the APIs can be easily accessed. Click on first “GET” api and click on “execute” button, it will fetch the list of all quotes.

YASG – GET List API output.

Similarly, you can try all other APIs. In next post, we will customize further these API to get more control over the output.

Series Navigation<< Django REST Framework – Creating ViewsDRF – YASG Customization >>
Published inDjango

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