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Displaying stars (with rounding) as a Django templatetag

Since my last post was quite popular (by my simple blogging standards), I’ve decided to post another Django snippet that I’ve used while coding WeGoEat. (I know, I know… one of these days I’ll finish. I’ve just been really, really lazy busy.)

After reading Leah’s blog (of Pownce fame) about “rounding to the nearest half”, I was immediately struck by two sobering realities:

  1. I would need that exact same algorithm for my current site.
  2. A few years out of grad school, and I couldn’t even begin to fathom a solution. Thank you, Internet.

In any case, I figured I’d wrap my solution into a template tag that people could use/steal/copy. Here’s a generated test page that illustrates what my template tag would display.


You can even customize the display a bit:

25 Stars!

I know, I know… I can do a lot better. πŸ˜‰ In any case, here’s the code snippet that I placed in a file called show_stars.py:

import math
from django.template import Library, Node, TemplateSyntaxError, VariableDoesNotExist, resolve_variable
from django.conf import settings
register = Library()
IMG_TEMPLATE = '<img src="%s" alt="%s"/>'
PATH_TO_WHOLE_STAR = IMG_TEMPLATE % (settings.MEDIA_URL + 'img/stars/star.png', "Whole Star")
PATH_TO_THREE_QUARTER_STAR = IMG_TEMPLATE % (settings.MEDIA_URL + 'img/stars/three-quarter.png', "3/4 Star")
PATH_TO_HALF_STAR = IMG_TEMPLATE % (settings.MEDIA_URL + 'img/stars/half.png', "1/2 Star")
PATH_TO_QUARTER_STAR = IMG_TEMPLATE % (settings.MEDIA_URL + 'img/stars/quarter.png', "1/4 Star")
PATH_TO_BLANK_STAR = IMG_TEMPLATE % (settings.MEDIA_URL + 'img/stars/blank.png', "Empty Star")
class ShowStarsNode(Node):
    """ Default rounding is to the whole unit """
    def __init__(self, context_var, total_stars, round_to):
        self.context_var = context_var
        self.total_stars = int(total_stars)
        self.round_to = round_to.lower()
    def render(self, context):
            stars = resolve_variable(self.context_var, context)
        except VariableDoesNotExist:
            return ''
        if self.round_to == "half":
            stars = round(stars*2)/2
        elif self.round_to == "quarter":
            stars = round(stars*4)/4
            stars = round(stars)
        fraction, integer = math.modf(stars)
        integer = int(integer)
        output = []
        for whole_star in range(integer):
        if self.round_to == 'half' and fraction == .5:
        elif self.round_to == 'quarter':
            if fraction == .25:
            elif fraction == .5:
            elif fraction == .75:
        if fraction:
            integer += 1
        blanks = int(self.total_stars - integer)
        for blank_star in range(blanks):
        return "".join(output)
""" show_stars context_var of 5 round to half """
def do_show_stars(parser, token):
    args = token.contents.split()
    if len(args) != 7:
        raise TemplateSyntaxError('%s tag requires exactly six arguments' % args[0])
    if args[2] != 'of':
        raise TemplateSyntaxError("second argument to '%s' tag must be 'of'" % args[0])
    if args[4] != 'round':
        raise TemplateSyntaxError("fourth argument to '%s' tag must be 'round'" % args[0])
    if args[5] != 'to':
        raise TemplateSyntaxError("fourth argument to '%s' tag must be 'to'" % args[0])
    return ShowStarsNode(args[1], args[3], args[6])   
register.tag('show_stars', do_show_stars)

I’ve also wrapped up the star graphics I used. A big ups to the Silk Icons creator. πŸ˜‰ For those of you that don’t care for .zip files, here’s all the star images I used:

Blankquarterhalfthree quarterfull

To use the tag, itÒ€ℒll look something like this in your templates:

{% load show_stars %}
     {% show_stars context_var of 5 round to half %}
{% endif %}

Note: You can change the following:

  1. context_var is whatever var contains the value you want rounded (it was ‘value’ in the screenshots)
  2. 5 can be any integer; this is the maximum number of stars to display. I should probably check to make sure you don’t put a number smaller than context_var, but I’ll leave that up to you. πŸ˜‰
  3. half can be any of the following values: whole, half, or quarter
  4. Make sure to edit the paths to the star files in the templatetag file

And since this is on my blog, feel totally free to take/use/steal/distribute/copy/modify any code you see fit. All I ask is if you find any bugs, have any comments, or can think of ways to make my ugly code cleaner – I’d love to hear from you. :)


  1. Nice. I was looking for something similar to this.

  2. […] Everything you’ve ever thought, but never had the balls to say. « Displaying stars (with rounding) as a Django templatetag […]

  3. *thumbsup*

  4. […] how I used my show_stars template tag that I blogged about a few weeks ago to display the average restaurant rating. (Cheap shameless […]

  5. Sorry for the very late response, I hope you have email alerts for comments…

    In case anyone else stumbles upon this, I would like to suggest a better implementation for your HTML/CSS side of things. A complementary Django bit wouldn’t be too difficult to write.


    Doing it this way would mean:
    * information is completely separated from the style.
    * there is no need to maintain a set of complicated, half filled star images
    * the result is accessible (people with screen readers, text browsers, google)
    * results can still be rounded, just like before, but also has to be done in Django filter.

  6. Here is an implementation for Django that does ajax updating of rating and DHTML mouseover goodness.

    Kinda like netflix does…


  7. […] some time last night playing with star ratings in Django, thanks to Ryan Kanno and Leah Culver’s hard work, because it made my job incredibly easy. […]

  8. Hi,
    The code is Awesome but am struggling to save the Ratings in the oracle Database, I anybody has any idea please share to my mail id.


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