Machine interacting web services tend to use more structured formats for sending data than form-encoded, since they're sending more complex data than simple forms

— Malcom Tredinnick, Django developers group

REST framework includes a number of built in Parser classes, that allow you to accept requests with various media types. There is also support for defining your own custom parsers, which gives you the flexibility to design the media types that your API accepts.

How the parser is determined

The set of valid parsers for a view is always defined as a list of classes. When either request.DATA or request.FILES is accessed, REST framework will examine the Content-Type header on the incoming request, and determine which parser to use to parse the request content.

Note: When developing client applications always remember to make sure you're setting the Content-Type header when sending data in an HTTP request.

If you don't set the content type, most clients will default to using 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded', which may not be what you wanted.

As an example, if you are sending json encoded data using jQuery with the .ajax() method, you should make sure to include the contentType: 'application/json' setting.

Setting the parsers

The default set of parsers may be set globally, using the DEFAULT_PARSER_CLASSES setting. For example, the following settings would allow requests with YAML content.


You can also set the parsers used for an individual view, or viewset, using the APIView class based views.

from rest_framework.parsers import YAMLParser
from rest_framework.response import Response
from rest_framework.views import APIView

class ExampleView(APIView):
    A view that can accept POST requests with YAML content.
    parser_classes = (YAMLParser,)

    def post(self, request, format=None):
        return Response({'received data': request.DATA})

Or, if you're using the @api_view decorator with function based views.

def example_view(request, format=None):
    A view that can accept POST requests with YAML content.
    return Response({'received data': request.DATA})

API Reference


Parses JSON request content.

.media_type: application/json


Parses YAML request content.

Requires the pyyaml package to be installed.

.media_type: application/yaml


Parses REST framework's default style of XML request content.

Note that the XML markup language is typically used as the base language for more strictly defined domain-specific languages, such as RSS, Atom, and XHTML.

If you are considering using XML for your API, you may want to consider implementing a custom renderer and parser for your specific requirements, and using an existing domain-specific media-type, or creating your own custom XML-based media-type.

Requires the defusedxml package to be installed.

.media_type: application/xml


Parses HTML form content. request.DATA will be populated with a QueryDict of data, request.FILES will be populated with an empty QueryDict of data.

You will typically want to use both FormParser and MultiPartParser together in order to fully support HTML form data.

.media_type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded


Parses multipart HTML form content, which supports file uploads. Both request.DATA and request.FILES will be populated with a QueryDict.

You will typically want to use both FormParser and MultiPartParser together in order to fully support HTML form data.

.media_type: multipart/form-data


Parses raw file upload content. The request.DATA property will be an empty QueryDict, and request.FILES will be a dictionary with a single key 'file' containing the uploaded file.

If the view used with FileUploadParser is called with a filename URL keyword argument, then that argument will be used as the filename. If it is called without a filename URL keyword argument, then the client must set the filename in the Content-Disposition HTTP header. For example Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=upload.jpg.

.media_type: */*

  • The FileUploadParser is for usage with native clients that can upload the file as a raw data request. For web-based uploads, or for native clients with multipart upload support, you should use the MultiPartParser parser instead.
  • Since this parser's media_type matches any content type, FileUploadParser should generally be the only parser set on an API view.
  • FileUploadParser respects Django's standard FILE_UPLOAD_HANDLERS setting, and the request.upload_handlers attribute. See the Django documentation for more details.
Basic usage example:
class FileUploadView(views.APIView):
    parser_classes = (FileUploadParser,)

    def put(self, request, filename, format=None):
        file_obj = request.FILES['file']
        # ...
        # do some staff with uploaded file
        # ...
        return Response(status=204)

Custom parsers

To implement a custom parser, you should override BaseParser, set the .media_type property, and implement the .parse(self, stream, media_type, parser_context) method.

The method should return the data that will be used to populate the request.DATA property.

The arguments passed to .parse() are:


A stream-like object representing the body of the request.


Optional. If provided, this is the media type of the incoming request content.

Depending on the request's Content-Type: header, this may be more specific than the renderer's media_type attribute, and may include media type parameters. For example "text/plain; charset=utf-8".


Optional. If supplied, this argument will be a dictionary containing any additional context that may be required to parse the request content.

By default this will include the following keys: view, request, args, kwargs.


The following is an example plaintext parser that will populate the request.DATA property with a string representing the body of the request.

class PlainTextParser(BaseParser):
Plain text parser.

media_type = 'text/plain'

def parse(self, stream, media_type=None, parser_context=None):
    Simply return a string representing the body of the request.

Third party packages

The following third party packages are also available.


MessagePack is a fast, efficient binary serialization format. Juan Riaza maintains the djangorestframework-msgpack package which provides MessagePack renderer and parser support for REST framework.

CamelCase JSON

djangorestframework-camel-case provides camel case JSON renderers and parsers for REST framework. This allows serializers to use Python-style underscored field names, but be exposed in the API as Javascript-style camel case field names. It is maintained by Vitaly Babiy.