polymorphic django models using automatic type-field downcasting
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README.rst

django-typed-models

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Intro

django-typed-models provides an extra type of model inheritance for Django. It is similar to single-table inheritance in Ruby on Rails.

The actual type of each object is stored in the database, and when the object is retrieved it is automatically cast to the correct model class.

Licensed under the New BSD License.

Features

  • Models in querysets have the right class automatically
  • All models subclassing a common base are stored in the same table
  • Object types are stored in a 'type' field in the database
  • No extra queries or joins to retrieve multiple types

Usage:

An example says a bunch of words:

# myapp/models.py

from django.db import models
from typedmodels.models import TypedModel

class Animal(TypedModel):
    """
    Abstract model
    """
    name = models.CharField(max_length=255)

    def say_something(self):
        raise NotImplemented

    def __repr__(self):
        return u'<%s: %s>' % (self.__class__.__name__, self.name)

class Canine(Animal):
    def say_something(self):
        return "woof"

class Feline(Animal):
    mice_eaten = models.IntegerField(
        default = 0
        )

    def say_something(self):
        return "meoww"
# later
 >>> from myapp.models import Animal, Canine, Feline
 >>> Feline.objects.create(name="kitteh")
 >>> Feline.objects.create(name="cheetah")
 >>> Canine.objects.create(name="fido")
 >>> print Animal.objects.all()
 [<Feline: kitteh>, <Feline: cheetah>, <Canine: fido>]

 >>> print Canine.objects.all()
 [<Canine: fido>]

 >>> print Feline.objects.all()
 [<Feline: kitteh>, <Feline: cheetah>]

You can actually change the types of objects. Simply run an update query:

Feline.objects.update(type='myapp.bigcat')

If you want to change the type of an object without refreshing it from the database, you can call recast:

kitty.recast(BigCat)
# or kitty.recast('myapp.bigcat')
kitty.save()

Listing subclasses

Occasionally you might need to list the various subclasses of your abstract type.

One current use for this is connecting signals, since currently they don't fire on the base class (see #1 )

for sender in Animal.get_type_classes():
    post_save.connect(on_animal_saved, sender=sender)

Limitations

  • Since all objects are stored in the same table, all fields defined in subclasses are nullable.
  • Fields defined on subclasses can only be defined on one subclass.

Requirements