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Google Groups/Mailing list:!forum/riakkit or

What is this?..

Riakkit is an object mapper and a RAD tool for Riak.

Riakkit underwent a quite significant change from 0.5 to 0.6 (notice we went back to Alpha). There's a lot of backend changes, although most front end methods are unchanged. Additional API is also introduced.

Just FYI: The project tries to follow the Google Python style guide.

Licensed under LGPLv3

Donate to me to keep this going!


Requires version 1.4.0 or above of riak-python-client. Probably best if you just grab the repository version.

Also, you need to change the setting of search to enable in your app.config

{riak_search, [
  {enabled, false}

This is if you want to use search.

Then, proceed to do pip install riakkit or easy_install riakkit.


There's 2 parts to Riakkit. riakkit.SimpleDocument and riakkit.Document. Document is a subclass of SimpleDocument and it provides the RAD capabilities. This means Document helps you track dependencies, make sure everything is and allow you to write a prototype in days without much effort, dealing with all the issues with tracking different models and how they relate to each other.

This, however, comes with a cost. Document has a lot of overhead. There's a lot of code present that slows the program down (I'm working on improving it, but it's not the topmost priority right now). This is why when you need to start scaling, it's recommended that you stop using Document for your models.

This is where SimpleDocument comes into play. SimpleDocument does not communicate with Riak. That means all the convinience methods such as save and delete is not available any more. However, many methods are still available, like addLinks, indexes and all that. Along with many methods you may not even know exists, such as toRiakObject. If you use this, it's your responsibility to track relationships (this may change, depending on if an efficient way to track relationships comes along or not) and save all the objects to database.

Since all it really does is validate and convert values if necessary, SimpleDocument is very very fast. If you ever run the unittest yourself, you will actually see a difference. This also comes at a cost. You will have to track the relationships.

You could also subclass SimpleDocument and make it like Document, but with less overhead. If you come up with something that's almost exactly like Document but faster, please make a pull request! (LGPL don't require you to do so, but hey, it's nice to do it)

"Fast Track"

Using riakkit with the higher level API should be simple. Here's how to get started:

>>> from riakkit import *
>>> import riak
>>> some_client = riak.RiakClient()
>>> class BlogPost(Document):
...     # bucket name is required for each subclass of Document, unless you
...     # are extending Document.
...     # Each class gets their unique bucket_name.
...     bucket_name = "test_blog"
...     # Client is required for each subclass of Document
...     client = some_client
...     title = StringProperty(required=True) # StringProperty auto converts all strings to unicode
...     content = StringProperty() # let's say content is not required.
...     some_cool_attribute = FloatProperty() # Just a random attribute for demo purpose
...     def __str__(self): # Totally optional..
...         return "%s:%s" % (self.title, self.content)

Make sense, right? We imported riakkit and riak, created a connection, and a Document subclass.

>>> post = BlogPost(title="hi")
>>> print post
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.BlogPost object at ...>

Saving is easy, but how do we modify?

>>> post.title = "Hello"
>>> post.content = "mrrow"
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.BlogPost object at ...>
>>> print post
>>> key = post.key # Stores a key...

Since the title is required.. we cannot save if it's not filled out.

>>> another_post = BlogPost(content="lolol")
Traceback (most recent call last):
ValidationError: None doesn't pass validation for property 'title'

What about getting it from the database?

>>> same_post = BlogPost.get(key, False) # False means that we don't want the cached copy, but reload the object from the database even if it''s available in cache
>>> print same_post

All object that's constructed using Document that's been get are the same instance. There's one object per key. Any changes to the object will be reflected in all the references to it. A WeakValueDictionary is used to cache all the objects.

>>> same_post is post

However, if your data got modified outside of riakkit, you could use the .reload() function for document objects.

>>> same_post.reload() # Obviously we haven't changed anything, but if we did, this would get those changes
>>> print same_post.title

You can also use dictionary notation. However, there's Document is not a superclass of dict!

>>> print same_post.title
>>> print same_post["title"]

Need another attribute not in your schema? No problem.

>>> same_post.random_attr = 42
>>> # doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.BlogPost object at ...>
>>> print same_post.random_attr

Again, you can see the changes are instantly reflected on the other reference to it:

>>> print post.random_attr

While setting an attribute in your schema is allowed, getting one while it's not in the scheme AND not already set will raise an AttributeError.

>>> same_post.none_existent
Traceback (most recent call last):
AttributeError: Attribute none_existent not found with BlogPost.

Accessing an attribute that's IN your schema but NOT set will return None, or whatever default value you got. (Some properties already have a default value. Example: if you don't set a ListProperty, it will return [] if you get it)

>> print same_post.some_cool_attribute  # Remember? We never set this

Deleting objects is equally as easy.

>>> same_post.delete()
>>> BlogPost.get(key) #doctest: +IGNORE_EXCEPTION_DETAIL
Traceback (most recent call last):
NotFoundError: Key '<yourkey>' not found!

Referencing Documents

You can link to a "foreign" document very easily. Let me illustrate:

>>> class User(Document):
...     bucket_name = "doctest_users"
...     client = some_client
...     name = StringProperty(required=True)
...     post = ReferenceProperty(reference_class=BlogPost)
>>> user = User(name="mrrow")
>>> some_post = BlogPost(title="Hello", content="World")
>>> = some_post
>>> # doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.User object at ...>
>>> print
>>> same_user = User.load(user.key)
>>> print

You can also "back reference" these documents. The API is similar to Google App Engine's ReferenceProperty.

>>> class Comment(Document):
...     bucket_name = "doctest_comments"
...     client = some_client
...     title = StringProperty()
...     owner = ReferenceProperty(reference_class=User,
...                               collection_name="comments")

Note how we specified the reference_class. This will activate additional validation. Also, collection_name knows where to go.

>>> a_comment = Comment(title="Riakkit ftw!")
>>> a_comment.owner = user
>>> # doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.Comment object at ...>

This should save both the a_comment, and the user object. So no need to user.reload(). Since the same_user variable is just a reference to user, there is no need to reload that, either (Behaviour introduced after v0.3.2a).

>>> print user.comments[0].title
Riakkit ftw!
>>> print same_user.comments[0].title
Riakkit ftw!

Let's add another comment.

>>> another_comment = Comment(title="Moo")

Note that ReferenceProperty and MultiReferenceProperty requires a reference_class.

Let's look at MultiReferenceProperty, it's very simple as it's just a list of Documents

>>> class Cake(Document):
...     bucket_name = "test_cake"
...     client = some_client
...     type = EnumProperty(["chocolate", "icecream"])
...     owner = MultiReferenceProperty(reference_class=User, collection_name="cakes")
>>> person = User(name="John")
>>> cake = Cake(type="chocolate", owner=[])
>>> cake.owner.append(person)
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.Cake object at ...>
>>> print cake.owner[0].name
>>> print person.cakes[0].type
>>> cake.owner = [user]
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
<__main__.Cake object at ...>
>>> print person.cakes
>>> print cake.owner[0].name

Advanced Query


You've see getting with get_with_key, what about searching and map reduce?

Searching is done through This required enable_search to be on. Otherwise you're limited to map reduce.

Also, you're required to install the search onto buckets that you will use for searching. The following command will do:

search-cmd install BUCKETNAME

For this tutorial we will do

search-cmd install doctest_comments
search-cmd install doctest_users

See more at and (You don't need the bucket name because it is provided with each class)

>>> user_query ="name:'mrrow'") # Searches for the user we created.
>>> print user_query.length()
>>> for user in
...     print # user is am User object.

Solr Search

Solr search allows you to do limit and sorting.

>>> query = Comment.solrSearch("title:[A TO z]", sort="title")
>>> print query.length()
>>> print sorted([comment.title for comment in query.all()])
[u'Riakkit ftw!']

Riak 2i

After v0.3.2a, Riakkit gained support for easier Riak 2i. The interface stayed relatively the same, with the renaming of add_index to addIndex due to the Google Python styling guide.

To add an index, simply do

>>> cake.addIndex("field1_bin", "val1")#doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS

To get the indexes:

>>> print cake.indexes("field1_bin")
>>> print cake.indexes()
[('field1_bin', 'val1')]

To do an index based query:

>>> query = Cake.indexLookup("field1_bin", "val1")
>>> for cake in
...     print cake.type

For additional information, please checkout the API docs.

Riak Links

To add a link:

>>> user = User(name="John")
>>> # cake is the previous chocolate cake we had.
>>> user.addLink(cake)#doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> doctest: +ELLIPSIS

Fetching them is also as easy:

>>> for cake, tag in user.links():
...     print cake.type

The API is identical to riak-python's API, only slightly altered to fit Google Python Style Guide (addLink also takes a tag) and it takes/returns Document instead of RiakObject. For additional information, please checkout the API docs.

removeLink is used to remove links, and it takes either a Document instance or a key string.

Like that, you could also add multiple links to an object with different Documents. This is more flexible than ReferenceProperty

Map Reduce

Map Reduce with Riakkit is the same to the python-riak's map reduce. In fact, Riakkit only provides a short hand using Document.mapreduce(), which is implemented as return cls.client.add(cls.bucket_name). This saves you the work of entering the bucket name, as you only need to call it with your class.

Please see their documentations for how to use it.

An alternate way should be done in the future to automatically create Document objects from a special map reduce. However, since map reduce could return all sorts of data, not just Documents.

If you need to construct a document from the map reduced data to take advantage of the ease of handling with riakkit, you can construct the object like this (replace Document with your class name, of course):

Document(your_key, True, **json_data)
  • your_key is the key of the data.
  • True signifies that this data has been saved.
  • json_data is the field values for this object.

Note: If json_data is actually different from the data in the database, you might want to call .save() again. This type of import assumes the data is saved, so a .saved() call will return True if you didn't modify anything, and a .reload() call will overwrite your data with the values in the db.

Other thingies

Other data types and validation

Some different data types can also be used:

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> class Demo(Document):
...     bucket_name = "demos"
...     client = some_client
...     # Let's throw in a validator. It makes sure all elements in the list
...     # is an integer.
...     test_list = ListProperty(validators=lambda x: len(x) == len([i for i in x if isinstance(i, int)]))
...     test_dict = DictProperty()
...     some_date = DateTimeProperty()
...     levels = EnumProperty(possible_values=["user", "admin"])
>>> demo_obj = Demo(test_list=[1, 2, "this causes failure"]) #doctest: +IGNORE_EXCEPTION_DETAIL
Traceback (most recent call last):
ValidationError: Validation did not pass for ...

Let's do it right this time.

>>> demo_obj = Demo()

Here is a list and a dictionary.

>>> demo_obj.test_list = [0, 1, 2]
>>> demo_obj.test_dict = {"hello" : "world", 42 : 3.14}

Note that list and dictionaries are potentially dangerous as there's no type checking in them. Refer to python's json to see objects are mapped.

DictProperty actually converts your dictionary to the class DictProperty.DotDict. This class is a child class of python's dict and all it does extra is allow you to access the attributes of the dictionary via the dot notation. For example the "world" can be accessed via both demo_obj.test_dict["hello"] and demo_obj.test_dict.hello. However, non-string property may pose an issue.

>>> print demo_obj.test_dict["hello"]
>>> print demo_obj.test_dict.hello

Here's the DateTimeProperty

>>> demo_obj.some_date = datetime(2011, 12, 16) # Just use a date time object

You can use the datetime object or an unix timestamp.

The EnumProperty basically is a list of possible values. If you feed it a not allowed value, it will fail validation. The implementation of the EnumProperty stores an integer corresponding to the location on the list you specified. In this example, internally, "user" will have a value of 0 and "admin" will have a value of 1. Note that these 2 strings will not be converted to unicode. EnumProperty accepts anything, but if it is passed something like an object, you'll get the identical object back.

>>> demo_obj.levels = "notpossible" #doctest: +IGNORE_EXCEPTION_DETAIL
Traceback (most recent call last):
ValidationError: Validation did not pass for ...
>>> demo_obj.levels = "user"

Now let's save the object.

>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS

We can now retrieve it again and see if this worked.

>>> same_demo = Demo.get(demo_obj.key, False) # This False means that we want to reload the object even if it is cached
>>> print same_demo.test_list
[0, 1, 2]
>>> print same_demo.test_dict.hello
>>> print sorted(same_demo.test_dict.items()) # this is done so that the doctest won't hate me.
[(u'42', 3.14), (u'hello', u'world')]
>>> print same_demo.some_date.year, same_demo.some_date.month,
2011 12 16
>>> print same_demo.levels

One more note on the DateTimeProperty: if you don't specify, it will use now as the default value:

>>> another_demo = Demo()
>>> print another_demo.some_date #doctest: +SKIP
<This will print the date time this is ran>

Notice how the key of 42 (integer) got converted to u'42' (unicode). This is due to JSON only allowing strings as keys.

For all the types, see the (API docs)[].


Uniqueness in Riakkit is enforced by creating an object in another bucket. The bucket's name is generated as _ul.

Let's construct a class:

>>> class CoolUser(Document):
...     bucket_name = "coolusers"
...     client = some_client
...     username = StringProperty(unique=True)

This unique will create another bucket named "_coolusers_ul_username". Inside this bucket, each object's key will be the values of the username. The value for the object is {key : }. Let's see how that works.

>>> cooluser = CoolUser(username="cool")
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> notsocooluser = CoolUser(username="cool")
Traceback (most recent call last):
IntegrityError: 'cool' already exists for 'username'!
>>> anothercooluser = CoolUser(username="anotheruser")
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> anothercooluser.username = "cool"
Traceback (most recent call last):
IntegrityError: 'cool' already exists for 'username'!

Embedded Document

Since we're working with NoSQL.. we can store complex data types, such as a dictionary (or an array of dictionaries, to be implemented).

This is where EmDocument comes in handy. EmDocument acts like a Document, but it is stored as just a plain old dictionary embedded inside a Document.

We fist need to extend EmDocument similar to extending Document, though we don't need to specify client and bucket_name class variables.

>>> from riakkit import EmDocument
>>> class Admin(EmDocument):
...     email = StringProperty(required=True) # Required works, see demo later
...     level = EnumProperty(["regular", "super"], default="regular") # Default works as well.
>>> class Page(EmDocument):
...     name = StringProperty()
...     content = StringProperty()

Then we need to use EmDocumentProperty and specify the emdocument_class.

>>> class Website(Document):
...     client = some_client
...     bucket_name = "test_website"
...     name = StringProperty()
...     admin = EmDocumentProperty(emdocument_class=Admin)
...     pages = EmDocumentsListProperty(emdocument_class=Page) # demo'ed later

We can then use this, let's demo the required first:

>>> the_admin = Admin()
>>> the_website = Website(name="The Website", admin=the_admin)
Traceback (most recent call last):
ValidationError: None doesn't pass validation for property 'email'

Alright, let's do this the right way this time:

>>> = ""
>>> print
>>> # Save again as required. This save also kicks in the default values.
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> print the_website.admin.level
>>> print the_admin.level
>>> same_website = Website.get(the_website.key, False) # This False signifies that we don't want the cached copy and wants to reload it
>>> print
>>> print isinstance(same_website.admin, Admin)
>>> print same_website.admin.level

We could also just set a dictionary.

>>> same_website.admin = {"email" : ""}
>>> print isinstance(same_website.admin, Admin)
>>> print

Essentially everything works with EmDocument works for Document. However, no methods (class or variable) is available other than setting variables via attributes or keys.

Also, uniques are not allowed, reference properties cannot have collection_name Required, however, works, as you have seen.

We could also use a list of EmDocuments as you probably have figured out by now:

>>> same_website.pages = []
>>> home = Page(name="Home", content="Hello World!")
>>> same_website.pages.append(home)

You can also just append a dictionary. Via some magic it auto turns into a Page instance.

>>> same_website.pages.append({"name" : "About", "content" : "Riakkit!"})
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> print the_website.pages[0].name, the_website.pages[0].content
Home Hello World!
>>> print the_website.pages[1].name, the_website.pages[1].content
About Riakkit!

You can add extra attributes to EmDocument just like you would with regular Document.

>>> same_website.pages.append({"name" : "Contact", "content" : "Contact us here!", "random_attr" : 1})
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> print the_website.pages[2].random_attr

You can also use methods such as extend, insert, and just [index] like append.

>>> same_website.pages[2] = {"name" : "Products", "content" : "All our products."}
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> print isinstance(same_website.pages[2], Page)
>>> print the_website.pages[2].name

Advanced stuff

Extending Document

If you got tired of writing client = <yourclient> everywhere. You can extend the Document class. In order to do so, omit the bucket_name property. You can also add other methods and variables, like any type of subclassing.


>>> class CustomDocument(Document):
...     client = some_client
...     another_property = True
>>> class SomeOtherDocument(CustomDocument):
...     bucket_name = "some_bucket"
...     test_property = StringProperty()

>>> print SomeOtherDocument.client == some_client
>>> print SomeOtherDocument.another_property

You can also extend documents with bucket_name defined.

>>> class ExtendedDocument(SomeOtherDocument):
...     bucket_name = "some_extended_bucket"
...     extended_property = IntegerProperty()
>>> ed = ExtendedDocument()
>>> print ed.test_property
>>> ed.test_property = "mrrow"
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> ed1 = ExtendedDocument.load(ed.key) # load is the same as get(key, False)
>>> print ed1.test_property

If we print ed.test_property and it's not registered and not in our data set, it will raise an error instead of

Validators and processors

You can use certain built-in validators, such as the email validators (or we could write our own). This validates the data.

We could also use processors, this transforms the data. There are 2 types of processors. The forwardprocessors, which are processors that transforms the data before saving into the database, and before the convert() call. The backwardprocessors, which are processors that transforms the data directly fed from the database.

There are a certain number of built-in processors, such as automatically hashing passwords. However, this still require you to write an inline function as processor functions only take in 1 argument (a value) and returns the transformed value. The hashing password function takes in a salt along with a password, so a lambda function would help you. For more info, go see the documentations.

In the mean while, demo time:

>>> from riakkit.helpers import emailValidator
>>> class TestDocument(Document):
...     client = some_client
...     bucket_name = "testdoc"
...     email = StringProperty(validators=emailValidator)
...     some_property = IntegerProperty(standardprocessors=lambda x: x if x is None else x + 1)
>>> test = TestDocument()
>>> = "notvalid" #doctest: +IGNORE_EXCEPTION_DETAIL
Traceback (most recent call last):
ValidationError: Validation did not pass for ...
>>> = "" # This works
>>> test.some_property = 1
>>> #doctest: +ELLIPSIS
>>> print
>>> print test.some_property

Use this feature responsibly. For example, having multiple base classes could pose a problem. The order of inheritance is via a BFS down the parents chain and reversing it to update the properties.

Here's the work flow:

  1. standardprocessors are processors that takes values that's set by the users (They are fired by the __setattr__). These generally will not be fired when the objects are loaded/reloaded from the database.
  2. forwardprocessors are processors that takes the value that's already "standardized" and converts it into database friendly format. (or friendly to backwardprocessors)
  3. backwardprocessors are processors that takes the value that's obtained from the database and converts it back to a format from the database back to an usuable format. The value it returns should be friendly to standardprocessors.

It's very important that any processor and validators that you write can deal with the None type and shouldn't process the None type, which is what we did. The None type should also be able to pass any validation.

So given this our example would be bad practise. We should also implement a backwardprocessors of lambda x: x if x is None else x - 1 so that the x value don't keep incrementing. Unless that's what you want to do. Make sure you're responsible when doing this as it could cause some weird bugs like the following:

>>> test.reload()
>>> print test.some_property

Warning: This is an experimental feature. This may change in the future as there are concerns that this is too complicated.

Changing the schema

If you at one point saved a document, and then changed the schema in your code, the next time the documents are retrieved from the database, riakkit will automatically attach the default values of those types into the Document objects. It won't automatically save the default values (which most are None, some are [] and {}) into the database. That's up to you with a .save() call. However, those properties won't always come up as None if you have default specified.

This is to make it easier for development.

Accessing Underlying Riak API

The relationship between Riakkit and Python-riak is an interesting one. On the one hand, it's recommended that you do not create objects manually using riak if you want to use riakkit. That might cause some strangeness. However, getting data is easily doable. Here are some entry ways (again, it's your class name):

  • Document.client is the client. You specified this so you should know.
  • Document.bucket is the RiakBucket for this client with the bucket name of Document.bucket_name.
  • Document.mapreduce() is simply Document.client.add(Document.bucket_name)

You can find more information on python-riak's page.

More Info on Riakkit

API Docs

cd into this directory and cd into the docs directory should do! Or visit

That may be outta date though.. so I think you should build your own docs.

cd into this directory and do ./makedocs

Until someone makes a prettier doc, that is (You should be glad I wrote docs, 'cause I usually don't do it).


Run python


DO NOT USE. Riakkit. An ORM for Python Riak for RAD. Similar to mongokit and couchdbkit. This is about to be deprecated by kvkit




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