Standardizing Error Messages in Django Rest Framework and JSON Renderer


Error messages play a critical role in enhancing user experience and troubleshooting in web applications. Django Rest Framework (DRF) and JSON Renderer provide powerful tools for building robust APIs in Django. However, the default error messages generated by DRF and JSON Renderer may not always align with the specific requirements of an application. In this blog, we will explore the process of standardizing error messages in Django Rest Framework and JSON Renderer to provide consistent and meaningful error reporting.

Understanding Default Error Messages:

By default, DRF and JSON Renderer generate error messages in a dictionary format, associating each error with its corresponding field. For example:

  "full_name": [
    "This field may not be blank."

The default messages are informative but may lack consistency and customization.

Modified Error Message Format:

To standardize the error message format, we can create a new structure that provides a clear and consistent representation of errors. An updated format could be:

  "status": "error",
  "errors": {
    "full_name": [
      "Full name may not be blank."

In the modified format, the error message includes the field name in a more human-readable format, improving clarity and understanding.

Modifying Error Messages:

To standardize and customize error messages in Django Rest Framework, we can create a new file called within the app directory (or create a new directory if desired). This file will contain a custom renderer class that extends the JSONRenderer class provided by DRF.

from rest_framework.renderers import JSONRenderer

class UserRenderer(JSONRenderer):
    charset = 'utf-8'

    def render(self, data, accepted_media_type=None, renderer_context=None):
        response = {
            'status': "success",


        if 'ErrorDetail' in str(data):
            response['status'] = "error"
            data = convert_error_messages(data)
            response['errors'] = data
            response['data'] = data

        return super().render(response, accepted_media_type, renderer_context)

The UserRenderer class overrides the render method of JSONRenderer to modify the response format. It checks if the response contains ErrorDetail and, if so, updates the status to "error" and converts the error messages using the convert_error_messages function.

def convert_error_messages(error_dict):
    updated_error_dict = {}

    # Iterate over the error_dict and update the error messages
    for field, error_list in error_dict.items():
        if error_list:
            error_message = error_list[0].replace('This field', field.replace('_', ' ').capitalize())
            updated_error_dict[field] = [error_message]

    return updated_error_dict

The convert_error_messages function iterates over the error dictionary, updates the error messages, and replaces generic phrases like "This field" with the corresponding field name. It also improves the readability of field names by replacing underscores with spaces and capitalizing them.

Utilizing the Custom Renderer:

To use the custom renderer in your views, simply add it to the renderer_classes attribute of the desired view class. For example:

class Register(generics.GenericAPIView):
    renderer_classes = [UserRenderer]

By specifying the UserRenderer in the renderer_classes, the modified error messages will be used when rendering the API responses.


Standardizing error messages is an important aspect of developing web applications using Django Rest Framework and JSON Renderer. By customizing the error messages and adopting a consistent format, we can provide clear and meaningful feedback to users, improving their understanding and troubleshooting experience. The approach described in this blog, involving a custom renderer and error message conversion function, allows for seamless integration and customization of error messages in Django Rest Framework APIs.