A Query Langauge and System for Python Objects
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README.md

PyFlwor - The Python Object Query System

By Tim Henderson - tim.tadh@hackthology.com

Copyright 2010 Tim Henderson All Rights Reserved. PyFlwor is available under a BSD style license. See the LICENSE file.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and Installation
  2. Motivation
  3. Usage Example
  4. Writing PyFlwor
  5. Formal Language Specification

Introduction

PyFlwor is a query language for querying python object collections. While Python has many interesting ways of persisting objects, it does not have (to my knowledge) a query language. This language was inspired in part by OQL (Object Query Language), XPath2.0, and XQuery. It is still under rapid development so expect the language to change often. PyFlwor works on any type of Python object. The only requirement is that the objects returned have to be hashable, as they are currently returned as a set.

Installation

To install pyflwor using pip first install the dependencies:

pip install ply nose

nose is only required if you want to run the tests. You can also optionally install getline if you want to use the included repl library:

pip install -e git+https://github.com/timtadh/getline.git#egg=getline

finally you can directly install pyflwor using pip with:

pip install -e git+https://github.com/timtadh/pyflwor.git#egg=pyflwor

or via clonin the repository and using the setup file:

git clone https://github.com/timtadh/pyflwor.git
cd pyflwor
python setup.py install

to run the tests:

cd pyflwor
nosetests

Alternately, one may wish to automate the dependency install via the reqs.txt file. In this case you should install as follows:

git clone https://github.com/timtadh/pyflwor.git
cd pyflwor
IFS=$'\n' ; for req in `cat reqs.txt` ; do echo $req ; pip install $req ; done
python setup.py install

Motivation

The motivation for this work occured while working on a software system with a unified namespace to address heterogenous data models. Some of the models were relational, some were XML, and increasingly some were simply native python objects. To unify this namespace I am working on this language. However, I expect that since PyFlwor works on any Python object collection it may be generally useful to the Python community.

Usage Example

import pyflwor

class Obj(object):
    def __init__(self, attr, attr2):
        self.attr = attr
        self.attr2 = attr2

q = pyflwor.compile('''
    for obj in <objects>
    where obj.attr > 5
    return 'number':obj.attr, 'string':obj.attr2
''')

objects = [
    Obj(5, 'hello'),
    Obj(12, 'world!'),
    Obj(32, '2^5'),
    Obj(42, 'the answer')
]

print q(locals())

---------- results -----------

(
    {'number': 12, 'string': 'world!'},
    {'number': 32, 'string': '2^5'},
    {'number': 42, 'string': 'the answer'}
)

Writing PyFlwor

Like XPath and XQuery there are two ways to write queries in PyFlwor: "path" expressions and "flwr" expressions. Path expressions have a similar syntax to XPath. This short guide does not cover all the syntax available in PyFlwor but should give the reader a good place to start when writing PyFlwor.

Path Expressions

XML Example (for comparison):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<bookstore>
    <book>
        <title lang="eng">Harry Potter</title>
        <price>29.99</price>
    </book>
    <book>
        <title lang="eng">Learning XML</title>
        <price>39.95</price>
    </book>
</bookstore>

XPath Queries:

  1. all books

     /bookstore/book
    
  2. all books with price greater than $30.00

     /bookstore/book[price>30.00]
    

Python Example

class Book(object):
    def __init__(self, title, language, price):
        self.title = title
        self.language = language
        self.price = price

class Bookstore(object):
    def __init__(self, name):
        self.name = name
        self.books = list()
    def addbook(self, book):
        self.books.append(book)

bookstore = Bookstore('Tim\'s Books')
bookstore.addbook(Book("Harry Potter", "eng", 29.99))
bookstore.addbook(Book("Learning XML", "eng", 39.95))

PyFlwor Queries:

  1. all books

     bookstore/books
    
  2. all books with price greater than $30.00

     bookstore/books[self.price > 30.00]
    

The where condition in Path expression allows you access any object in the namespace you passed into the query. It also names the current object under consideration (in the working example the Book) 'self.' You can access any attribute of self, call functions, and access items in lists and dicts.

A Ridiculous Example

a = 'hello'
def f(x): return x**2
def g(f): return f
m = {"one":1, "two":2, "next":[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,g]}
true = True
false = False
d = locals()
d.update(__builtins__.__dict__)

query = 'a[m["next"][7](j)(m["next"][7])(m["next"])[7](f)(m["two"]) == 4]'
pyflwor.execute(query, locals())
--------- returns ---------
OrderedSet(['hello'])

You can use boolean operators as well:

a = 'hello'
true = True
false = False
pyflwor.execute('a[true and (false or not false)]', locals())
--------- returns ---------
OrderedSet(['hello'])

Other Where Expression Options

The syntax presented covers the simplest parts of path expressions. The syntax elements not covered are more complex operators for the where clause. These elements include:

  1. Quantified Expressions

     some x in <path_expr> satisfies (where_clause)
     every x in <path_expr> satisfies (where_clause)
    

    example:

     a = 'hello'
     l1 = [0,2,4,6,8,10]
     l2 = [1,2,3,4,5,6]
     def mod2(x):
         return x % 2
    
     pyflwor.execute('a[every x in <l1> satisfies (mod2(x) == 0)]', locals())
     --------- returns ---------
     OrderedSet(['hello'])
    
    
     pyflwor.execute('a[every x in <l2> satisfies (mod2(x) == 0)]', locals())
     --------- returns ---------
     OrderedSet()
    
     pyflwor.execute('a[some x in <l2> satisfies (mod2(x) == 0)]', locals())
     --------- returns ---------
     OrderedSet(['hello'])
    
  2. Set Expressions

     x in <path_expr>
     x not in <path_expr>
     <path_expr1> subset <path_expr2>
     <path_expr1> superset <path_expr2>
     <path_expr1> proper subset <path_expr2>
     <path_expr1> proper superset <path_expr2>
     <path_expr1> is <path_expr2>
     <path_expr1> is not <path_expr2>
    
  3. Passing Sub-Queries to Functions

    Sub-Queries (of either the path expression from or the flower form) can be passed to functions:

     def print_query(q):
         for x in q:
             print x
     a = 'hello'
     l1 = [0,2,4,6,8,10]
    
     pyflwor.execute('a[not print_query(<l1[self < 5]>)]', locals())
     --------- returns ---------
     0
     2
     4
     OrderedSet(['hello'])
    

Set Operations on Path Expressions

It is possible to construct higher order set based queries using path expressions. For instance it is possible to take the interesection, union, difference, or a combination there of between the results of two path expression.

l = [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]

pyflwor.execute('l - l[self < 5]', locals())
--------- returns ---------
OrderedSet([5, 6, 7, 8, 9])

FLWR Expressions

FLWR stands for: "For Let Where Return." These expression are similar to the XQuery Language.

FLWR Expresion Syntax:

for NAME in PATH [, NAME in PATH]*
[let NAME = (<path_expr>|{flwr_expr}) [, NAME = (<path_expr>|{flwr_expr})]*]*
[where WHERE_CLAUSE]*
return ((VALUE [, VALUE]*)|(STRING:VALUE, [, STRING:VALUE]*))

For Statement

The for statement takes a cartesian product of the results of the Path expressions.

Cartesian Product Example:

A = [1,2,3,4]
B = [5,6,7,8]

for a in <A>, b in <B>
return a, b
--------- returns ---------
(
    (1, 5),
    (1, 6),
    (1, 7),
    (1, 8),
    (2, 5),
    (2, 6),
    (2, 7),
    (2, 8),
    (3, 5),
    (3, 6),
    (3, 7),
    (3, 8),
    (4, 5),
    (4, 6),
    (4, 7),
    (4, 8)
)

Return Statement

The return statment can use either positional outputs or named values. In the previous example the return statement used positional. Here is the same example using named return values:

Named Return Values

A = [1,2,3,4]
B = [5,6,7,8]

for a in <A>, b in <B>
return 'a':a, "b":b
--------- returns ---------
(
    {'a': 1, 'b': 5},
    {'a': 1, 'b': 6},
    {'a': 1, 'b': 7},
    {'a': 1, 'b': 8},
    {'a': 2, 'b': 5},
    {'a': 2, 'b': 6},
    {'a': 2, 'b': 7},
    {'a': 2, 'b': 8},
    {'a': 3, 'b': 5},
    {'a': 3, 'b': 6},
    {'a': 3, 'b': 7},
    {'a': 3, 'b': 8},
    {'a': 4, 'b': 5},
    {'a': 4, 'b': 6},
    {'a': 4, 'b': 7},
    {'a': 4, 'b': 8}
)

The return statement is not limited to simple values. It can return anything which could be used as a value in a Where Clause as described above.

Complex Return Values (Simple Example)

class A(object):
    def __init__(self, a, b):
        self.a = a
        self.b = b
    def __repr__(self):
        return '<A %s, %s>' %(self.a, self.b)

objs = [A(1, A), A(2, A)]

for obj in <objs>
return 'current':obj.a, 'new':obj.b(obj.a, 'created')
--------- returns ---------
{'current': 1, 'new': <A 1, created>}
{'current': 2, 'new': <A 2, created>}

Aggregates Queries Using the Let Expression

The let statement enables the user to write aggregation queries. For instance if you have a database of books what is the average price of those books?

Data Model for a Chain of Bookstores

class Book(object):
    def __init__(self, title, language, price):
        self.title = title
        self.language = language
        self.price = price

class Bookstore(object):
    def __init__(self, name):
        self.name = name
        self.books = list()
    def addbook(self, book):
        self.books.append(book)

bookstore1 = Bookstore('Tim\'s Books')
bookstore1.addbook(Book("Harry Potter", "eng", 29.99))
bookstore1.addbook(Book("Learning XML", "eng", 39.95))
bookstore1.addbook(Book("Introduction to Algorithms", "eng", 78.99))
bookstore1.addbook(Book("Databases: The Complete Book", "eng", 64.99))

bookstore2 = Bookstore('Andy\'s Books')
bookstore2.addbook(Book("Twilight", "eng", 15.99))
bookstore2.addbook(Book("Learning Django", "eng", 39.95))
bookstore2.addbook(Book("Catcher in the Rye", "eng", 6.99))
bookstore2.addbook(Book("Halcyon Digest", "eng", 64.99))

stores = [bookstore1, bookstore2]

Select Titles of the Books For Each Bookstore

for bookstore in <stores>
let book_names = <bookstore/books/title>
return 'Bookstore':bookstore.name, 'Titles':book_names
--------- returns ---------
(
    {
        'Bookstore': "Tim's Books",
        'Titles':
            OrderedSet([
                'Harry Potter',
                'Learning XML',
                'Introduction to Algorithms',
                'Databases: The Complete Book'
            ])
    },
    {
        'Bookstore': "Andy's Books",
        'Titles':
            OrderedSet([
                'Twilight',
                'Learning Django',
                'Catcher in the Rye',
                'Halcyon Digest'
            ])
    }
)

Average Price of the Books in Each Bookstore

NB: You must pass an average function (avg) into the namespace for this query to function.

def avg(s): return sum(s)/len(s)

for bookstore in <stores>
let prices = <bookstore/books/price>
return 'Bookstore':bookstore.name, 'Avg Price':avg(prices)
--------- returns ---------

{'Bookstore': "Tim's Books", 'Avg Price': 53.480000000000004}
{'Bookstore': "Andy's Books", 'Avg Price': 31.98}

As a final note: you can have multiple let statements in a single flwr expression.

for bookstore in <stores>
let book_names = <bookstore/books/title>
let prices = <bookstore/books/price>
return 'Bookstore':bookstore.name, 'Titles':book_names,
    'Avg Price':avg(prices)
--------- returns ---------
(
    {
        'Bookstore': "Tim's Books",
        'Avg Price': 53.480000000000004,
        'Titles':
            OrderedSet([
                'Harry Potter',
                'Learning XML',
                'Introduction to Algorithms',
                'Databases: The Complete Book'
            ])
    },
    {
        'Bookstore': "Andy's Books",
        'Avg Price': 31.98,
        'Titles':
            OrderedSet([
                'Twilight',
                'Learning Django',
                'Catcher in the Rye',
                'Halcyon Digest'
            ])
    }
)

Where Statements

Where statement internally share the same syntax as where clauses share in path expressions.

Where Statement

for bookstore in <stores>
let book_names = <bookstore/books/title>
let prices = <bookstore/books/price>
where avg(prices) < 45
return 'Bookstore':bookstore.name, 'Titles':book_names,
    'Avg Price':avg(prices)
--------- returns ---------
(
    {
        'Bookstore': "Andy's Books",
        'Avg Price': 31.98,
        'Titles':
            OrderedSet([
                'Twilight',
                'Learning Django',
                'Catcher in the Rye',
                'Halcyon Digest'
            ])
    },
)

Formal Language Specification

For Reference Some Named Regular Expresssions:

D = r'[0-9]'
L = r'[a-zA-Z_]'
H = r'[a-fA-F0-9]'
E = r'[Ee][+-]?(' + D + ')+'

Tokens

'NAME' -> (L)((L)|(D))*
'NUMBER' -> -?(D)+
          | -?0[xX](H)+
          | -?(D)+(E)
          | -?(D)*\.(D)+(E)?
'STRING' -> "[^"]*"
          | '[^']*'
'SLASH' -> /
'EQEQ' -> ==
'EQ' -> =
'NQ' -> !=
'LE' -> <=
'GE' -> >=
'COMMA' -> ,
'DOT' -> .
'COLON' -> :
'LPAREN' -> (
'RPAREN' -> )
'LSQUARE' -> [
'RSQUARE' -> ]
'LANGLE' -> <
'RANGLE' -> >
'LCURLY' -> {
'RCURLY' -> }
'UNION' -> |
'INTERSECTION' -> &
'DIFFERENCE' -> -

Reserved Words

some, every, in, not satisfies, and, or is, subset, superset, proper,
for, let, return, where

Full Grammar

Start : Set
Start : FLWRexpr

AndExpr : AndExpr AND NotExpr
AndExpr : NotExpr
Attr : NAME
Attr : NAME Call
AttributeValue : AttributeValue DOT Attr
AttributeValue : Attr
BooleanExpr : CmpExpr
BooleanExpr : QuantifiedExpr
BooleanExpr : SetExpr
BooleanExpr : Value
BooleanExpr : LPAREN Where RPAREN
Call : Call Call_
Call : Call_
Call_ : Fcall
Call_ : Dcall
CmpExpr : Value CmpOp Value
CmpOp : EQEQ
      | NQ
      | LANGLE
      | LE
      | RANGLE
      | GE
Collection : Query
Collection : LPAREN Set RPAREN
Dcall : LSQUARE Value RSQUARE
Entity : NAME
Entity : NAME LSQUARE Where RSQUARE
FLWRexpr : ForExpr ReturnExpr
FLWRexpr : ForExpr LetExpr ReturnExpr
FLWRexpr : ForExpr WhereExpr ReturnExpr
FLWRexpr : ForExpr LetExpr WhereExpr ReturnExpr
Fcall : LPAREN RPAREN
Fcall : LPAREN ParameterList RPAREN
ForDefinition : NAME IN LANGLE Set RANGLE
ForDefinition : NAME IN LCURLY FLWRexpr RCURLY
ForExpr : FOR ForList
ForList : ForList COMMA ForDefinition
ForList : ForDefinition
IntersectionExpr : IntersectionExpr INTERSECTION Collection
IntersectionExpr : Collection
LetDefinition : NAME EQ LANGLE Set RANGLE
LetDefinition : NAME EQ LCURLY FLWRexpr RCURLY
LetExpr : LetExpr LET LetList
LetExpr : LET LetList
LetList : LetList COMMA LetDefinition
LetList : LetDefinition
NotExpr : NOT BooleanExpr
NotExpr : BooleanExpr
OrExpr : OrExpr OR AndExpr
OrExpr : AndExpr
OutputDict : OutputDict COMMA STRING COLON OutputValue
OutputDict : STRING COLON OutputValue
OutputTuple : OutputTuple COMMA OutputValue
OutputTuple : OutputValue
OutputValue : Value
OutputValue : LANGLE Set RANGLE
OutputValue : LCURLY FLWRexpr RCURLY
Parameter : Value
Parameter : LANGLE Set RANGLE
Parameter : LCURLY FLWRexpr RCURLY
ParameterList : ParameterList COMMA Parameter
ParameterList : Parameter
QuantifiedExpr : Quantifier NAME IN LANGLE Set RANGLE SATISFIES LPAREN Where RPAREN
QuantifiedExpr : Quantifier NAME IN LCURLY FLWRexpr RCURLY SATISFIES LPAREN Where RPAREN
Quantifier : EVERY
Quantifier : SOME
Query_ : Query_ SLASH Entity
Query_ : Entity
Query : Query_
ReturnExpr : RETURN OutputTuple
ReturnExpr : RETURN OutputDict
Set : Set DIFFERENCE UnionExpr
Set : UnionExpr
SetExpr : Value IN LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : Value NOT IN LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : LANGLE Set RANGLE SUBSET LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : LANGLE Set RANGLE SUPERSET LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : LANGLE Set RANGLE PROPER SUBSET LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : LANGLE Set RANGLE PROPER SUPERSET LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : LANGLE Set RANGLE IS LANGLE Set RANGLE
SetExpr : LANGLE Set RANGLE IS NOT LANGLE Set RANGLE
UnionExpr : UnionExpr UNION IntersectionExpr
UnionExpr : IntersectionExpr
Value : NUMBER
Value : STRING
Value : AttributeValue
Where : OrExpr
WhereExpr : WHERE Where

Changelog

Path Expressions

v1.2

* added a new query syntax to query in and not in static list

  hello['foo' in ['foo','bar']] 
  hello['foo' not in ['foo','bar']]

v1.1

* python3 compatibility