Making a global navigation autocomplete

This guide demonstrates how to make a global navigation autocomplete like on Facebook.

Note that there are many ways to implement such a feature, we’re just describing a simple one.

A simple view

As we’re just going to use autocomplete.js for this, we only need a view to render the autocomplete. For example:

from django import shortcuts
from django.db.models import Q

from import Artist, Genre

def navigation_autocomplete(request,

    q = request.GET.get('q', '')

    queries = {}

    queries['artists'] = Artist.objects.filter(
        Q(name__icontains=q) |

    queries['genres'] = Genre.objects.filter(name__icontains=q)[:6]

    return shortcuts.render(request, template_name, queries)

Along with a trivial template for navigation_autocomplete/autocomplete.html would work:

<span class="separator">Artists</span>
{% for artist in artists %}
<a class="block choice" href="{{ artist.get_absolute_url }">{{ artist }}</a>
{% endfor %}

<span class="separator">Genres</span>
{% for genre in genre %}
<a class="block choice" href="{{ genre.get_absolute_url }}">{{ genre }}</a>
{% endfor %}

A basic autocomplete configuration

That’s a pretty basic usage of autocomplete.js, concepts are detailed in Using $.yourlabsAutocomplete to create a navigation autocomplete, this is what it looks like:

// Change #yourInput by a selector that matches the input you want to use
// for the navigation autocomplete.
    // Url of the view you just created
    url: '{% url "your_autocomplete_url" %}',

    // With keyboard, we should iterate around <a> tags in the autocomplete
    choiceSelector: 'a',
}).input.bind('selectChoice', function(e, choice, autocomplete) {
    // When a choice is selected, open it. Note: this is not needed for
    // mouse click on the links of course, but this is necessary for keyboard
    // selection.
    window.location.href = choice.attr('href');