Wagtail Tutorials #7: Add Search Function In Wagtail Blog

Last updated on by michaelyin

Update in 2018-03-26: The code in article is working in Wagtail 1.10-1.13, if you want to get the code working in Wagtail 2.0, just check master branch of wagtail-bootstrap-blog

In this Wagtail tutorial, I will talk about how to implement search function in Wagtail blog so the user can search the posts through keywords.

Search function in model

Wagtail search can work on many backend systems such as Database and ElasticSearch, considering what we build is a blog application, I will focus on using Database as backend here because Elasticsearch is too heavy for us. If you want to know more about using ElasticSearch as search backend, check the offical doc.

First, we continue to add a new route to our BlogPage, to make it can handle search path in URL.

class BlogPage(RoutablePageMixin, Page):
    def post_search(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        search_query = request.GET.get('q', None)
        self.posts = self.get_posts()
        if search_query:
            self.posts = self.posts.filter(body__contains=search_query)
            self.search_term = search_query
            self.search_type = 'search'
        return Page.serve(self, request, *args, **kwargs)

The method above is a view function handle the search request, we use filter method in Django ORM to filter the posts by search keywords. body__contains means to find posts, body of which contains the keywords, the query would be translated to SQL like this SELECT ... WHERE body LIKE '%search_query%';.

I find out there is no need to use the wagtail built-in search method here. If you read carefully, you will notice that there is search_term and search_type here, which I will talk about in a bit.

Add search form in template

Now we need to add search form in our sidebar.html so use can enter the keyword in this form.

<form role="search" method="get" class="form-search" action="{% routablepageurl blog_page "post_search" %}" method="get">
    <div class="input-group">
        <input type="text" class="form-control search-query" name="q" placeholder="Search&hellip;" title="Search for:" />
        <span class="input-group-btn">
          <button type="submit" class="btn btn-default" name="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search">
            <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-search"></span>

We use routablepageurl to resolve the search url for us, which has been explained in the previous tutorial, keyword will be sent through HTTP GET method, which can be found in http parameters with key q.

To make users can see what they are searching, we need to show the keywords in the template, that is why search_query and search_type has been used to tell us the search type (search, tag, category) and search keyword (keyword, category name, tag name).

We can add this to the top of the blog_page.html

{% if search_term %}
    <header class="page-header">
        <h1 class="page-title">Search Results for 
           <span>{{ search_type }}: {{ search_term }}</span>
{% endif %}
{% paginate 10 posts %}

Here is the screenshot of our Wagtail Blog.

Which search backend should I choose in my Wagtail project?

Some people have no idea what backend they should use in wagtail project to support search I must say that depends on the data you want to index, if the data is big and you want the results to be more accurate, you should use big and heavy framework such as ElasticSearch, but based on my experience, most users have no need to import this tool. Remember to check the hardware before choosing ElasticSearch.

Solr is another good options if you want full-text search function but have no powerful hardware.

If you have used Haystack in your project to support other custom search function, then I am sure you have met strange problem which told you All documents removed. Updating backend: default: Backend doesn't require rebuild. Skipping after importing Wagtail to your project.

The reason why this happens is the command name conflict, update_index exists in both frameworks, so Django can not determine which command should be called each time. So how to make both framework coexist in one project, you can find the solution and discussion here.


In this Wagtail tutorial, I showed you how to implement search function in wagtail blog so user can find the posts through the keywords, and give you some tips about search function in Wagtail.

The source code of this Wagtail tutorial is available on Github, you can get it here wagtail-bootstrap-blog, you can also directly check the live demo here Wagtail Blog Demo.

git clone https://github.com/michael-yin/wagtail-bootstrap-blog.git
cd wagtail-bootstrap-blog
git checkout search-function

# setup virtualenv
pip install -r requirements.txt

./manage.py runserver

Remember to use the username admin and the password admin to log into the Wagtail admin page.

Wagtail Ebook

For people who like to read ebook instead of blog posts, I have published a book on leanpub´╝îwhere you can get pdf, epub, mobi version of this Wagtail book Build Blog With Wagtail CMS.

Send Me Message

Tell me more about your project and see if I can help you.

Contact Me